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Lesson Four

Lesson Title: Great Thinkers and Accomplishments of Islam Fact Cubes
Grade Level: 6-12
Subjects: World History, Language Arts, and Visual Arts
Estimated Time of Completion: 3-4 class periods

I. Objectives
II. Standards
III. Materials Needed
IV. Procedure
V. Assessment Suggestions
VI. Extensions/Adaptations

  1. Instructional Objectives:
    • Students will have the opportunity to view parts two and three of the PBS video series Islam: Empire of Faith.
    • Students will have the opportunity to research specific topics associated with Islamic culture using the World Wide Web, library books, and various research tools.
    • Students will have the opportunity to create a Great Thinkers and Accomplishments of Islam Fact Cube that represents their research and incorporates visuals.
    • Students will have the opportunity to share their findings with their classmates.

  2. Standards
    • This lesson correlates to the following national standards for social studies, language arts, and visual arts, established by the Mid-continent research Regional Education Lab:
    World History:
    • Understands the influence of Islamic ideas and practices on other cultures and social behavior
    • Understands the effect of geography on different groups and their trade practices
    • Understands the significance of Baghdad
    • Understands how the Muslims spread Islamic beliefs and established their empire
    • Understands significant aspects of Islamic civilization
    • Understands challenges to Muslim civilization
    Language Arts:
    • Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process
    • Gathers and uses information for research purposes
    • Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes
    • Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media
    Visual Arts:
    • Knows how to use structures and functions of art
    • Understands the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
    • Understands the characteristics and merits of one's own artwork and the artwork of others
    • Knows how history, culture, and the visual arts can influence each other
    • Knows that the visual arts have both a history and a specific relationship to various cultures

  3. Materials Needed:
  4. Procedures:
    This lesson is based on the PBS video series Islam: Empire of Faith. (See adaptation section at the end of the lesson for suggestions if the video is not available.) Students will have the opportunity to learn about the diverse accomplishments of great Islamic scholars. They will research several aspects of Islam including scientific, artistic and architectural accomplishments, philosophers, poets, writers, astronomers, and mathematicians. Using these facts they will create a Great Thinkers and Accomplishments of Islam Fact Cube.

    Teachers should view videos prior to the lesson to get exact time cues, and familiarize themselves to content.

    1. Prior to students coming into class, write the following words on the board or overhead:
      Philosopher, Scientist, Historian, Astronomer, Great Thinker, Mathematician, Poet, Architect, Contributors in Medicine
    2. Ask students to respond to these words by giving names they associate with these words.
    3. Write students' responses next to categories. (For instance if they say Socrates, place that next to Philosopher.)
    4. Pull down a wall map and ask students to identify where most of the people they mentioned are from. (They may need some guidance.) Chances are most of the person's mentioned are from Europe, or the Americas.
    5. Write the following on the board, or have names on an overhead transparency:
      Suleiman, Ibn Khaldun, Al-Farabi, Al-Biruni Ibn Sina, Omar Khayyam, Al-Ghazali, Ibn Rushd, AbuYusuf Yaqub al-Kindi, Abu Nasr Muhammad al-Farabi
    6. Ask students if they have heard of any of the above-mentioned names before, and why or why not. (You may guide the discussion by discussing that European Scholars and Western thinkers are discussed more frequently.)
    7. Explain that it is more rare to hear about the accomplishments of great thinkers in eastern civilization then western civilization, and all of the above mentioned people are considered some of the greatest thinkers of all times, and are from the eastern world.
    8. Describe to students that they will have the opportunity to view parts two and three of the PBS video series Islam: Empire of Faith, which will introduce them to some of the great thinkers of Islam and Islamic accomplishments.
    9. As students view the videos, they will complete a video guide that will be used as a guide to jot down names and accomplishments of the great thinkers of Islam.
    10. Hand out the video viewing guide and begin videos (skip to step 12 if no video)
    11. After watching the video discuss some of the ideas that were introduced in Islam and some of the great thinkers.
    12. Hand out and discuss the requirement sheet and cube directions. (You may want to create a cube of your own so you can show students a sample.)
    13. Allow students time to work on research using notes and additional research materials. Students may wish to refer to the Culture, Innovation, and Profiles sections within this site.
    14. Have a grade sheet posted in room, for guidance as students complete their cubes.
    15. Once cubes are completed students will present projects with classmates.
    16. You may want to put cubes on strings and hang them from the ceiling to display.

    17. Assessment Recommendations:
      • Use the Great Thinkers and Accomplishments of Islam Grade Sheet.
      • You may want to grade students on video notes.
      • Conduct informal assessment of students' knowledge while they are giving presentations.

    18. Extensions/Adaptations:
      • Upper level students could write a short biography on an individual highlighted on their cubes.
      • For lower level or special needs students, you may want to pair students together, or have optional subjects to research for each cube panel such as general facts relating to Islam.
      • For those that do not have access to the video, use the PBS Islam: Empire of Faith Web site, other Web sites, and research materials available through the school and public library.