Materials for Educators and the Community

Lesson Plans

Center for Middle Eastern Studies at University of Arizona

Creative lesson plans on various Middle Eastern and North African topics from University of Arizona. This resources offers over a 100 lesson plans ranging from Teenage Assassins and the Out break of World War 1 to Lessons on Berber history and culture.

Institute for Middle East Studies from George Washington University

Lesson plans on various Middle Eastern topics from George Washington University. Elementary lesson plans of the Geography of Iraq (grades 3-8) and secondary lessons on topics including theSeven Wonders of the Ancient World (6-8), Demographics of Islam, Perceptions and Statistics (7-8), Desalination of Water (8-9), Music and the Middle East (9-12) Gulf War Oral Histories (10-12),  The Arab Spring: Comparing Revolutions in Egypt & Tunisia (10-12) and much more!

Middle East Teaching Tools from Portland State University 

Lesson plans on various Middle Eastern topics from Portland State University such as Geography of the Modern Middle East and North Africa and Arabs in Hollywood.

Teaching the Middle East from the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago 

University of Chicago created a structure for the content of nine topics divided into eighteen learning modules. The four topic areas that make up the “Foundations” section of the resource lay the groundwork for understanding the region. Additionally, they offer five topic areas housed in the “Historical Perspectives” section of the Web, where fourteen different modules are available that outline Middle Eastern history from ancient to modern times.

Oil and Water in the Middle East Region from National Geographic

Lesson plan by National Geographic-Archived Xpeditions. In this lesson, students will explore the roles of oil and water in the Middle East, especially in Iraq . Students will use maps to look at the distribution of oil in the Middle East and discuss what it means for the different countries in the region. They will also examine how water has influenced the region historically and politically

Curriculum published by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies University of Texas at Austin

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin has published several curriculums on the Middle East for K-12 instructors. Topics include: Cairo: Living Past, Living FutureEgypt: A Land of Firsts and A History of the Jews of Turkey.

Middle East Interactive Activities by TeachersFirst

TeachersFirst offers these interactive activities to help students grasp the basic political geography and religious make-up of the region. The activities include some basic facts to acquaint students with historical events, resentments, and alliances in the region.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art 

The MET offers several teacher manuals on the following subjects: Art of the Ancient Near East: A Resource for EducatorsIslamic Art and Geometric Design: Activities for LearningThe Art of Ancient Egypt: A Resource for Educators and Art of the Islamic World: A Resource for Educators

The Philadelphia Museum of Art 

Along with customized tours on cultural and political understanding via Islamic art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art offers a lesson plan on Common Core Math and Islamic Art

What We Value: The Assyrian Bird-Headed Deity 

The Denver Art Museum created this lesson plan for secondary education. In this lesson plan students will use the Assyrian Bird-Headed Deity limestone relief to talk about what ancient Assyrians valued and understood as cultural capital.

Assyrian Siege of Jerusalem 

The Stanford History Education Group created this lesson plan for secondary educators to instruct students on the Assyrian Empire.

Assyrian Art and Architecture

This lesson by explores the unique characteristics of a fierce and violent culture of the Assyrians by studying ancient artifacts.

A Day in the Life of a Kurdish Kid 

The Smithsonian Folkways created a lesson plan that will introduce children and their teachers to the Kurdish people and their history and culture by leading them on a Kurdish experience full of singing and dancing.

Teaching modules and educational resources available for use

The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting lesson plans and education programming connected to The New York Times Magazine issue, "Fractured Lands: How the Arab world came apart"

The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting is excited to share two new lesson plans and education programming connected to The New York Times Magazine “Fractured Lands,” the groundbreaking August 14, 2016, edition of the magazine that is devoted entirely to the work of Pulitzer Center grantees Scott Anderson, Paolo Pellegrin, and Ben C. Solomon. In a gripping story that follows six individuals—of different ages, nationalities, socio-economic backgrounds and ethnicities—Anderson examines the unraveling of the modern Middle East from the invasion of Iraq in 2003 to the rise of ISIS and the global refugee crisis.

Tapestry of Travel: Contributions of Arab/Muslim Civilization to Geography and World Exploration  Karima Alavi, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University, Washington D.C.This informative teaching module gives a fact-filled exploration of the contributions of Arabs/Muslims from the 7th to 15th centuries in the fields of geography and world exploration. Interesting mini-biographies and inserts bring alive the facts surrounding the explorations and writings of the greatest luminaries of this exciting period in Islamic history. This monograph also includes an extensive suggested resource list and educational activities for teachers. Available as a hard copy or a PDF available from Georgetown CCAS.

The Contributions of Arab Civilization to Mathematics and Science

Julie Peteet, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University, Washington D.C. This informative teaching module gives a concise summary of the major contributions of Arab civilization to the sciences from the 8th to 11th century. Divided into sections on medicine, physics, chemistry, mathematics, and astronomy, this resource gives valuable information for teachers and the beginner student of Arab civilization. It also includes a suggested resource list and classroom activities. Available as a hard copy or a PDF available from Georgetown CCAS.

ArabiaFelix: Window Into Yemen          

An online interactactive teaching resource that acts as a window to the country Yemen. This online resource has detailed lesson plans on the history, culture, religion and politics of Yemen.  Only available online.

 Who are the Arabs? 
Steve Tamari, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University, Washington D.C.
This concise teaching module details the history of the Arab peoples from ancient times until today. It includes topics such as origins, Islam, encounters with the West, Arab nationalism, the Arab world today, and Arabs in America. Included in it are stories and poems by Arab writers as well as profiles and sketches from a variety of Arab countries. A resource list and valuable classroom discussion questions and activities are included. 
Only available online.

Muslim Holidays: Teacher Guide and Student Resources
2nd Edition, Council on Islamic Education, 2004
This accessible volume provides handouts and lesson plans, along with a teacher guide, on Muslim holidays for all grade levels. This new edition also includes very helpful information on Muslim holidays and religious accommodations for Muslim students for teachers of all grades facing increasingly diverse classrooms. Lesson plans correlate with National and some State Social Studies History Standards.

Teaching About Islam and Muslims in the Public Classroom: A Handbook for Educators 
3rd Edition, Council on Islamic Education, 2002
The clear, concise chapters in this handbook can be adapted for all grade levels by teachers interested in supplementing the classroom materials they use to introduce Islam to their students. An excellent resource on the essential beliefs and practices of Muslims for teachers and students.

The Cave of Reconciliation
Pecki Sherman Witonsky, The Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 2006 Beautiful biblical book filled with pictures and short descriptions.

Toward an Understanding of Media Policy and Media Systems in Iraq: A Forward and Two Reports
Monroe Price, Center of Global Communications Studies: Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, 2007
This issue contains two reports: one focusing on policy recommendations for broadcasting in Iraq and the other focusing on the dynamic of Iraq’s media.

The Magician's Visit: A Passover Tale
Barbara Diamond Goldin, illistrations by Robert Andrew Parker, Puffin Books, New York 1993.
Short story discussing traditions of Passover including preparation for the arrival of the prophet, Elijah. Story described the importance of giving to the poor.

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Young Voices from Arab World (DVD) and Companion teacher's guide
AMIDEAST, Leslie Nucho, 2000
Learn what it's like to be a teenager in the Arab World through five young people from Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Kuwait, and Morocco.

Who Are The Turks? A Manual for Teachers
Justin McCarthy and Carolyn McCarthy The American Forum for Global Education, 2003
An excellent, beautifully produced resource for educators on Turkey, including lesson plans on Turkish government, society, art, and literature. Includes notes to instructors, key concepts, and strategies for teaching and projects. Also includes homework readings and worksheets, maps, and full-page color graphics that can be photocopied for students. Appendices include food, recipes, the Turkish language and alphabet, and useful websites.

Islam: An Introduction  
A Special pullout sections from Saudi Aramco World, January/February 2002
This full-color pamphlet provides basic information about Muslims, the Prophet Muhammad, practices and beliefs in Islam, Classical Islamic Art, American Muslims, and contributions of the Islamic World to Society. It also includes a timeline of major events in the Islamic World, a list of notable Muslims in history, and an annotated list of suggestions for further reading. Distributed by Saudi Aramco.

Arab Civilization 
Arab Information Center 
A folder that contains information about Islam, the Arabic language, education, science, and art. Each of the 12 categories contains a 4-page pamphlet.

Empire, Republic, Democracy: A History of Turkey
The Choices Program 2014: The Watson Institute for International Studies- Brown University
Traces the final years of the Ottoman Empire and the history of the Turkish Republic. Looks at Ataturk's sweeping reforms. 

Iran Through the Looking Glass: History, Reform, and Revolution
The Choices Program 2014: The Watson Institute for International Studies- Brown University
Teachers resources book with lesson plans on the political history of Iran. Broken down into small sections containing documents study guides, key terms, passages, and activities.

The Middle East in Transition: Question for U.S. Policy
The Choices Program 2014: The Watson Institute for International Studies- Brown University
The Middle East in Transition: Question for U.S. Policy
 draws students into the policy debate on this important region. Students analyze the mix of U.S. interests and values at play and explore the significance of oil, the Arab uprising, the rise of ISIS, and other issues that shape U.S. ties to the Middle East. 

Responding to Terrorism: Challenges for Democracy
The Choices Program 2014: The Watson Institute for International Studies- Brown University
Responding to Terrorism: Challenges for Democracy
 addresses the issues arising from the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Students are drawn into consideration of the changing nature of terrorism, motivations of terrorists, and the implications for U.S. domestic and international policy. 

The U.S. Role in a Changing World
The Choices Program 2014: The Watson Institute for International Studies- Brown University
The U.S. Role in a Changing World helps students reflect on global changes, assess national priorities, and decide for themselves the future directions of U.S. foreign policy. The reading offers insight into the forces that are shaping international relations in the twenty-first century.

The United States in Afghanistan
The Choices Program 2014: The Watson Institute for International Studies- Brown University
The United States in Afghanistan brings students into the policy debate about the U.S. presence in Afghanistan. Students begin by exploring Afghanistan's culture and history, and then examine the events that led to the Soviet invasion, the arrival of Osama bin Laden, and the situation today.

Empire, Republic, Democracy: A History of Turkey
The Choices Program 2014: The Watson Institute for International Studies- Brown University
Empire, Republic, Democracy: A History of Turkey
 traces the final years of the Ottoman Empire and the history of the Turkish Republic. Students explore the legacies of Anaturk's sweeping reforms and then grapple with the same questions and challenges facing people in Turkey today.

A Global Controversy: The U.S. Invasion of Iraq
The Choices Program 2011: The Watson Institute for International Studies- Brown University
A Global Controversary: The U.S. Invasion of Iraq 
draws students into the public debate on the U.S. decision to invade Iraq in 2003. Readings and activities provide students with an overview of the history of Iraq, help students understand events surrounding the U.S.-led invasion, and explore the effects of the war on Iraqi society, the United States, and the international community.
Anyos Munchos i Buenos: “Good Years and Many More”:Turkey’s Sephardim: 1492-1992
Ayse Gursan-Salzmann and Laurence Salzmann, Han Books, 1991 
A photo book published in 1984 containing a photo project by Laurence Salzmann and Ayse Gursan-Salzmann showing their journey to discover Turkish Jews.

Travels in Search of Turkey’s Jews
Ayse Gursan-Salzmann and Laurence Salzmann 
A photo book published in 1984 containing a photo project by Laurence Salzmann and Ayse Gursan-Salzmann showing their journey to discover Turkish Jews.

Shaherazade’s Daughters
Sameena K. Mughal, Laredo Publishing Co., 2013
This book, which is adapted from 1001 Nights, contains a collection of short stories that pay homage to the classic tales, but add a modern, feminist twist.

Thrive: 5 Ways to (Re)invigorate your teaching
Meenoo Rami, Heinemann, 2014
This book provides advice on how to reinvigorate your teaching style. It includes profiles from local teachers explaining their methods of successful teaching.

International Journal of Middle East Studies
Cambridge University Press, Vol. 39 No. 1, 2007
This journal contains five articles and four-book review.

Diplomatic History
The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, Vol. 18 No.1, Winter 1994
This journal contains articles, commentaries, review essays, and feature reviews.

The Economic Dimension: Past, Present, and Future
Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics, and Culture, Vol. 14 No. 3, 2007
This is a joint Israeli-Palestinian quarterly journal that provides a deeper insight into the issues dividing the two people. This copy contains articles and book reviews.

The Journal of North African Studies
Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group, Vol 12 No. 4, Dec. 2007 
This journal publishes article regarding North Africa from ancient to modern times; all areas of history, social science and humanities are covered. This issue contains 10 articles and 4 book reviews.

Santa Claus in Baghdad and Other Stories About Teens in the Arab World
Elsa Marston, Indiana University Press, 2004
This book contains 8 short stories about teenagers living in Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt, the West Bank, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestinian refugee camps. It depicts teens' experiences growing up in the Middle East.

Strengthening America: the Civic and Political Integration of Muslim Americans
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, 2007
Report of the task force on Muslim American civic and political engagement; contains 6 recommendations.

Arabic in 10 Minutes a Day
Kristine K. Kershu, Bilingual Books Inc., 2004 
This pamphlet contains basic Arabic words with pictures.

Teaching Resources About Islam and Muslims 
Susan Douglass Council for Islamic Education and Curriculum Specialist
This CD-ROM compendium includes teaching modules geared toward the high school and middle school classroom. Modules include the Arts of Islam, Classical Islam & the Renaissance, Islam & Science, and Islam in general. Each module contains lesson plan materials, articles, and a bevy of Internet links for further consideration.  This valuable resource also includes teacher guides and other helpful tools for educators.

Dreams of Peace: A Dual Language Primer for Learning Hebrew & Arabic
Barry D. Mann, Outskirts Press, 2015
Dreams of Peace is a language program designed for English speakers. Students learn Hebrew and Arabic simultaneously, using a simple yet ingenious method - introducing one leter at a time to learn cognate words that sound alike in both languages. While students already familiar with Hebrew or Arabic will easily grasp the fundamentals of the other language, this method makes both languages accessible even for the beginner with no knowledge in either.

Philadelphia World Heritage Toolkit
World Heritage City Project
This document was created by teachers who desire to educate youth on Philadelphia's heritage, as well as underrepresented world regions. It is designed to help youth to envision Philadelphia as a city in an interconnected world at the same time as they learn about its individual hisstory. It is an exciting journey through the history, culture, and people that continually create and reinvent the city of Philadelphia. Content includes a wide variety of lesson plans covering topics like "Learning about Culture Through the Study of Artifacts", "Stereotypes of Africa", and "Philadelphia: Journey to Freedom", appropriate for all classroom levels.

Children's Stories

The MEC has a selection of stories from the PJ Library which teach children about Jewish holidays and traditions. We currently have one copy of each of the stories listed below:

Jewish Holidays All Year Round

Author: Ilene Cooper, illustrations by Elivia Savadier

Jewish Holidays All Year Round provides a short description of each holiday with games and activities for children to complete. The perfect book for teachers looking to provide young students with information on Jewish holidays.

Purim Play

 Author: Roni Schotter

Purim Play is a short illustrated children's book about the Jewish holiday of Purim. 

When Jessie Came Across the Sea

Author: Amy Hest

When Jessie Came Across the Sea is a short illustrated children's book about a young Jewish girl who comes to American from Eastern Europe in search for a better life during the early 18th century.

Potatoes at Turtle Rock

Authors: Susan Schnur & Anna Schnur-Fishman

Potatoes at Turtle Rock is a short illustrated story about the different ways in which families celebrate Hanukkah. 

Kopecks for Blintzes

Author: Judy Goldman

Kopecks for Blintzes is a short illustrated story about the spring holiday of Shavuot. 

Chicken Soup, Chicken Soup

Author: Pamela Mayer

Chicken Soup, Chicken Soup is a short illustrated children's book about a young girl who comes from a family that is both Jewish and Chinese. She learns to appreciate her dual heritage.

The Art Lesson: A Shavuot Story

Author: Allison & Wayne Marks, illustrations by Annie Wilkinson

The Art Lesson is a short illustrated story about a young girl and her grandmother's tradition durin Shavuot.

The Language of Angels: A Story About the Reinvention of Hebrew

Author: Richard Michelson, Illustrations by Karla Gudeon

A short illustrated story about Eliezar Ben-Yehuda and his son, who was raised as a native speaker of Hebrew at a time when it was only used as a language of prayer, in his quest to establish it as the language of all the Jewish people. 

The Passover Cowboy

Author: Barbara Diamond Goldin, Illustrations by Gina Capaldi

This illustrated short story tells the real life tale of a Russian Jewish family that moved to Argentina in the late 1880s to escape anti-semitism and harsh conditions in their native land. Children will also learn about the story of Passover and its significance to Jewish culture.

Online Resources on the Middle East

1001 Inventions

Provides an introduction to historic Muslim inventions used in the modern world.

Access Islam

WNET, PBS's NYC affiliate, has launched a very good website for educators, featuring lesson plans and video clips from the PBS program "Religion and Ethics Newsweekly" for grades 4-8.

Afropop: Hip Deep 

A site for research tools and in-depth analysis about the music of Africa and the African diaspora. Check out the extensive multimedia features designed to engage: interviews, clips, articles, and more!

Brigham Young University Student Handbooks

Helpful guides for learning Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish

The Choices Program - Various Topics

Various lesson plans relating to Arab-Israeli conflict, the role of oil in geopolitics, the politicization of Islam, the significance of the Iranian Revolution, and other historical issues that have shaped U.S. ties to the Middle East.

Council on Islamic Education

Concise information on Islam, glossaries, teacher guides, suggestions for classroom activities, and important dates on the Islamic lunar calendar. Offers on-line lesson plans and an on-line Teacher's Forum.

Al Hakawati

Website designed in both English and Arabic that introduces the rich heritage of Arab lands and culture.

Islam Project

Lesson plans on Muslim immigration to America, religious and ethnic diversity, and stereotypes. The accompanying video, "American Muslim Teens Talk," can be borrowed from the Middle East Center. 

Media Construction of the Middle East

Project Look Sharp, a media literacy project based at Ithaca College, has released an interactive digital media literacy curriculum on controversial issues in the Middle East. A CD/DVD version can also be requested at no charge. In addition to learning core content, students learn to analyze and decode media messages in a variety of forms including web pages, film clips, TV news, magazines, newspapers, and school textbooks. 

Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet

You can borrow from the Middle East Center the DVD, "Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet," to accompany the extensive lesson plans and resources on this link on the life and legacy of the Prophet Muhammad.

Oxfam's Cool Planet for Teachers

Good resources, links, and curriculum on Sudan and the ongoing humanitarian crisis there. 

PBS- Various links on the Middle East

Lesson plans and teaching tools include: PBS Frontline: MuslimsPBS Global ConnectionsPBS Islam: Empire of FaithPBS News hour Extra and PBS Wide Angle. - Middle East Map Game

Simple mapping game on the Middle East.

Turkish Cultural Foundation

Excellent website for all things Turkish - from virtual tours of museums to recipes to lifestyles. Includes a great music portal where you can download clips. 

Veiled Voices

A documentary that explores the efforts of three religious leaders in Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria to have their voices heard as equals in the religious community. This websites includes a lesson plan for using the documentary as a teaching tool. The film is available at the Middle East Center Media Library. 

Useful Arabic Words and Phrases

A special thanks to Amelia and her mother, as well as the Salt Lake City Children's Network

Disclaimer: These websites were chosen because of the information, interactive lesson plans, audiovisual educational resources, and other useful links they provide on the peoples, cultures, politics, economies, and general history of the Middle East. Some contain political opinions and analyses and represent diverse viewpoints. We do not endorse any one perspective, but aim to provide educators with some constructive tools to enhance their teaching of the Middle East, as well as increase interest, awareness, and knowledge of the region in the wider community.