Open Source Lesson Plan Collection

These lesson plans have been gathered from various outreach and learning centers dedicated to increasing understanding of the Middle East. The plans offer a great launching point for your lessons and help you to shape your own ideas. The lesson plans may not be fully aligned with the Common Core Learning Standards, unless specifically noted.

The Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies offers a multitude of online resources to educators such as lesson plans and short educational videos. In addition, there are regular and campus-based events open to the public in the Research Triangle area (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill) of North Carolina.

Online Resources by Theme including:
· General Middle East Resources
· History and the Middle East
· Maps and the Middle East
· Cultures of the Middle East
· Islam
· Israel and Palestine
· The Arab Spring
· Muslim Americans & Post 9/11 Life in the US
· Connecting the Middle East to NC
· Teaching about the Arab Refugee Crisis
· Current Events

Oral History Lesson Plans

Arab Refugee Lives: Sanaa Domat’s Story
Through this lesson, students will gain a greater understanding of the various challenges that Syrian refugees face. Students will read excerpts from interviews with Sanaa Domat, a Syrian woman originally from Homs. Students will learn about her experience in both her native country and in her new host country.

Arab Refugee Lives: Sufyan’s Story
Through this lesson, students will gain a greater understanding of the various challenges that Iraqi refugees face. Students will read excerpts from an interview with Sufyan A., an Iraqi man originally from Baghdad.

By using oral histories in the classroom, distant events will become more real and relevant to students. Oral histories were collected by students in a Refugee Lives interactive learning course at Duke University, and are part of the Refugee Lives Oral History Project,

The Middle East Explained

The Middle East Explained is a video series aimed to launch students on to new Middle East-related topics, inspire creative thinking, and encourage discussion.

  • Videos are just 5-10 minutes long and are accompanied by a discussion framework for use in middle and high school classrooms.
  • Video content is consistent with the North Carolina Standard Course of Study and/or current news items.
  • Videos feature Duke and UNC academics.

The CMES at the University of Arizona has compiled an extensive collection of lesson plans from contests, study visit programming, and community engagement.

The material is organized by content area (geography, history, literature, research/writing, current events/politics, science & math; culture and gender, art/music, foreign language, economics), subject/country (Religions, Holocaust, General Middle East, Comparative or Connective (Middle East to Other Regions), Israel/Palestine, Ottoman Empire/Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Balkans, Cyprus, Morocco, Tunisia/Libya/Algeria, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan), or grade level (elementary, middle school, high school, college/adult).

Some examples include:

  • 100 Years in Mesopotamia: A Century of Conflict in Iraq, 1914-2014
  • Afghanistan through Youth Literature
  • Contributions of Islamic Civilization
  • Day in the Life of an Iranian Child
  • The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Rescued Jews during the Holocaust
    Islam Fact and Fiction: Overcoming Stereotypes
  • Measuring the Travels of Two Adventurers: Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta
  • Nasreddin Hodja: Turkish and Middle Eastern Folklore Philosopher
  • Teaching Unit on the Trans-Saharan Trade, 700-1450 C.E
  • World War I in the Middle East – Diaries, Documents, and Diatribes

The CMES also has a fantastic variety of Background and Information Sheets suited for teachers and students. Some of the highlights include:

The Institute for Middle East Studies’ Title VI National Resource Center offers lesson plans free of charge to educators across the country. These lessons were written and developed by Heather Wade and Kelsey Dalrymple of GW’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development and Clayton Thomas of GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs. This curricular design project is funded by the Department of Education’s Title VI National Resource Grant for the Middle East.

Highlights include:

  • Curriculum based on a 2106 National Museum of Women in the Arts exhibit, “She Who Tells a Story”. This landmark exhibition of more than 80 photographs challenges stereotypes surrounding the people, landscapes, and cultures of Iran and the Arab world. “She Who Tells a Story” refutes the conventional idea that Arab and Iranian women are oppressed or powerless, illuminating the fact that women are creating some of the most significant photographic work in the region today.
  • resource guide for teaching the book I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, put together by faculty at The George Washington University. The guide is designed to help educators teach the difficult and often controversial subjects that surround Malala’s story: cultural politics, gender, religion, extremism, violence, feminism, and the value of education.

The Middle East Studies Center at Portland State University has an efficiently-designed country profile tool that includes maps, background information, media and news, and teaching materials for 20 different Middle Eastern countries. Click on the country name for individual profiles with easy-to-navigate drop-down menus.

Teaching about Turkey in the classroom can be an enriching experience for teachers and students alike. However, Turkey related lesson plans are not numerous and even more difficult to locate. Therefore, the Turkish Cultural Foundation compiles and make accessible lesson plans on Turkey with a view to assist teachers who wish to teach about Turkey, or use Turkey as an example to talk about a variety of issues of global importance, such as women’s rights, religion or cultural preservation.

In this section, the Turkish Cultural Foundation offers teachers a compilation of lesson plans developed by American educators. You will find here lesson plans developed by TCF’s Teacher Study Tour participants on a number of subjects for middle and high school students. Lesson plans can be searched according to keywords, grade levels and authors.

Some lesson plan titles include:

  • Compare and Contrast the Empires: Rome, China, and the Ottoman Empire
    Constantinople – Marketplace of the World
  • The Syrian Refugee Crisis and Turkey’s Response
  • Discovering Turkey: Learning Through Maps
  • AP World History Lesson Plan for Turkey: The Ottoman Empire, 1300-1800
  • World Civilizations Lesson Plan for Turkey: Exploring Turkish Architecture

The UT Austin Middle Eastern Studies center has developed curriculum independently and in conjunction with other institutional partners, including:

Curriculum co-published by CMES and the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

Africa Enslaved: Comparative Slave Systems Outside the United States 

Curriculum co-published through Hemispheres

Visit the CMES Other Online Resources section for an excellent compendium of digital delights featuring the Middle East, including photo essays and links to museum resources.

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