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Name: Kimberly R. Ross (Director) and Liaa Walter (Visiting Artist)
Discipline: Language Arts and Social Studies (Ross), Arts Education (Walter)
School: Henson Valley Montessori School, Prince George’s County, MD (Ross), Capitol Hill Day School, Washington, D.C. (Walter)
Grade Level/Content Focus: Grades 7-8 / Literature, Social Studies
Time Required for Lesson: 3 class periods
The Silk Roads: an educational resource by Morris Rossabi
The Silk Roads, an incurably romantic subject which offers a splendid source for secondary school teachers and students alike, linked the civilizations of Eurasia for much of premodern history, starting as early as the second century B.C.E., if not earlier. China, Central Asia, West Asia, and, to a lesser extent, Europe, were placed in touch with each other via the Silk Roads. The economic significance of their contacts in pre-1500 history may have been exaggerated, but their cultural impact can hardly be overstated, and the political influences, particularly during the era of the Mongol empire, have only, of late, received much attention.
Journey Along the Silk Road: Writing Your Own Rihla, or Travel Journal
Author: Karima Diane Alavi, New Mexico
Source: The Islam Project
Level: Middle and high school
This lesson plan ties together the subjects of history, geography, religion, art and economics while taking into account the fact there are many ways in which children learn.
All students make up a 13th ? 15th century character and write a Rihla, or Travel Journal describing their journey from their home to one of the great Islamic cities known for its grand markets and universities. Since people traveled primarily along the great trade routes, students will learn about the Silk Road as well as the Islamic world as they work on this project. The students can write their travel journal as if they?re traveling for the sake of trade, education, or religious pilgrimage, or even a combination within those options, since people often combined things like trade and intellectual pursuits on one trip. The focus of this lesson will be on the city of Cairo, with its Khan al Khalili Market which was built in 1382, and can still be visited today. The city also boasts Al Azhar University that was established in 972 and is the oldest continuously functioning university in the world. Students still travel to Al Azhar today to study Islamic science, law and theology.