Grades 6-8 Social Studies

Jump to: Lesson Plans & Other Resources | Books | Multimedia

Lesson Plans & Other Resources:

Click here for:

Arabs in America Unit
This Lesson plan is from “The Arab World” series. Slides, information, and suggestion for projects to help students learn more about the Arab-American community in the United States.

Archaeology: Digging Deeper to Learn About the Past
By Judith Cochran
A (published) middle school unit of study.

Country Themed Culture Kits
Each kit comes with artifacts and activities for teaching about a specific country.

Cyprus and Turkey: Conflict Resolution Curriculum
A lesson – on CD – developed by a middle school teacher on a CMES-sponsored Teach Cyprus program. Includes a simulation for students, who work to resolve some of the issues surrounding the Greek-Turkish conflict over Cyprus.

Introduction (to the Arab World)
This Lesson plan is from “The Arab World” series. Slides, lessons, artifacts
(including headgear) to teach about the Arabs and their culture.

The Islamic Year
By Noorah Al-Gailani and Chris Smith
A book of activities, crafts, and recipes that a teacher can do with children to help them understand the meaning behind Muslim holidays and traditions.

Music and Dance Unit
This Lesson plan is from “The Arab World” series. Slides, pictures, cassette, and explanations of Arab music and instruments. The unit itself is designed for a higher level (maybe high school), but it can be easily adapted for a Middle School classroom.

North Africa: Morocco
Stencil set of Moroccan designs with a map and explanations of Moroccan culture.

Persepolis Recreated
An amazing photo/picture book and DVD set that recreates the ancient Persian city of Persepolis, one of the greatest cities of the ancient world until it was burned by Alexander the Great. It would give students a feel for the glories of an ancient civilization while countering some of the negative (and totally false) images in the movie “The 300” of the Persians as barbaric and subhuman.

Fun with Hieroglyphs
By Catharine Roehrig
Art kit put out by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is a set of alphabet stamps for the Egyptian hieroglyphic alphabet with a book of explanations.

Silk Road Encounters
Teachers’ guide, sourcebook, CD of lesson plans and other materials to help your students explore the Silk Road.

Storytelling and Games Unit
This Lesson plan is from “The Arab World” series. Slides and game cards teach about and give the rules for Arab games.


Non-Fiction Books for Students

**Click here for a list of literature, historical fiction, or personal accounts

Festivals of Egypt
By Jailan Abbas
 This book describes the different holidays celebrated in Egypt.

Al-Kindi: The Father of Arab Philosophy
By Tony Abboud
This book is part of a 6-volume series "Great Muslim Philosophers and Scientists of the Middle Ages."

Suleyman and the Ottoman Empire
By John Addison
This is brief overview of the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent along with a series of short, primary source documents.

Afghanistan: The Land
By Erinn Banting
This book contains photos and descriptions of Afghanistan.

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Arabia
By Mary Beardwood
This detailed encyclopedia entry focuses on the geography, cultures, and, especially, the flora and fauna of the Arabian Peninsula.  With many photographs, charts, maps, figures, asides, this exhaustive and beautifully illustrated text will answer every question you never knew that you had about Arabia on subjects from pearling to fossils, migratory birds to the many uses of the date palm. The sheer breadth of information will eliminate the narrow geographic and social stereotypes so many students have about the Middle East.

Al-Khwarizmi: The Inventor of Algebra
By Corona Brezina
This book is part of a 6-volume series "Great Muslim Philosophers and Scientists of the Middle Ages."

By DK Eyewitness Books
Discover the history, faith, and culture that have shaped the modern Jewish world. With over 50 million copies sold in 88 countries and in 36 languages, Eyewitness Books are truly the ultimate visual information encyclopedias for the 21st Century. Carrying on the tradition of integrating words and pictures, these three new titles in the Eyewitness series are timely editions to any library.

Egypt and the Middle East
By Daniel De Bruycker and Maximilien Dauber
Beautifully illustrated with cartoons and photographs and easy to reference (question and answer format), this book would be easy for students to use in learning about the basic history of the Middle East.

Muhammad and the Arab Empire
By John Duckworth
This gives a brief overview of the rise of Islam along with a series of short, primary source documents.

Children of War: Voices of Iraqi Refugees
By Deborah Ellis
This book provides an oppurtunity for students to read interviews with Iraqi refugee children and see how the war has affected their lives.

Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak
By Deborah Ellis
This is a collection of accounts of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict by children ages 8-18.

Celebrate Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr with Praying Fasting, and
(National Geographic, “Holidays Around the World” series)
By Deborah Heiligman
Although it is at a low reading level, this book is even interesting to adults due to its great pictures and clear explanations. (It is National Geographic book, so the photography is amazing!)

Holy Cities: Jerusalem and Holy Cities: Mecca
Maps, photos, and descriptions of each of these two religious centers.

Understanding Islam and the Muslims
By Islamic Affairs Department of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia
An introduction to Islam in a brief booklet with bright photographs.

The Iranian Revolution
By Brendan January
This book is part of the Pivotal Moments That Changed the World series, focusing on the Iranian revolution of 1979. Instead of succumbing to the "clash of civilizations" argument, it delves into the deeper causes of the Iranian revolution, and brings the story forward to describe how the forces that triggered the revolution continue to play out in the troubled relationship between the United States and Iran today.  This book is a welcome entry to the corpus of research literature for younger people.

Avicenna (Ibn Sinna): Muslim Physician and Philosopher of the 11th Century
By Aishe Khan
This book is part of a 6-volume series "Great Muslim Philosophers and Scientists of the Middle Ages."

Oil in the Middle East
By John King
This book contains beautiful photos and well-written narrative about modern diplomatic and political developments in the Middle East.

By Dale Lightfoot
One of the Modern World Issues series. The book gives an overview of Iraq’s geography, history, government, and economy. Colorful pictures and maps make it student-friendly.

By David Macaulay
If you liked his books/films about the building of a medieval cathedral or fortress, you’ll like this one about the construction of a 16th century Ottoman mosque.

Inside Story: A 16th Century Mosque
By Fiona MacDonald and Mark Bergin
Detailed illustrations and clear explanations make this a terrific resource book with information about the building, religious background, and history surrounding the construction of a mosque.

Extraordinary Women from the Muslim World
By Natalie Maydell and Sep Riahi
This book, introduces readers to 13 Muslim women in history who have lived extraordinary lives and influenced their communities in a positive way, often overcoming extreme hardship and inaccurate stereotypes that have been placed on the role of women in Islam. In addition to showing the impact these women have had throughout the years, Extraordinary Women from the Muslim World seeks to make a difference in the lives of Islamic women today, inspiring them to fervently pursue their goals. All proceeds from the special edition hardback series will be donated to Islamic Relief to benefit the women and children of Sudan.

The Arabs in the Golden Age
By Mokhtar Moktefi and Veronique Ageorges
Nicely illustrated, easy-to-reference account of Arab history.

The Arab-Americans
By Alixa Naff
This book describes the experiences and contributions of Arab-Americans.

By Sue Penney
From the “Introducing Religions” series, this gives an overview of the Muslim faith.

By Sue Penney
Discover the rich cultural background behind this major world religion. Find out where Judaism originated, trace its history, and explore the meanings.

By Saviour Pirotta
From the Holy Cities series, this is a basic introduction to the city of Jerusalem.

Albucasis (Abu Al-Qasim Al-Zahrawi): Renouned Muslim Surgeon of the 10th Century
By Fred Ramen
This book is part of a 6-volume series "Great Muslim Philosophers and Scientists of the Middle Ages."

The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Rescued Jews during the Holocaust                                                   By Karen Gray Ruelle and Deborah Durland DeSaix
When the Nazis occupied Paris, no Jew was safe from arrest and deportation. Few Parisians were willing to risk their own lives to help. Yet during that perilous time, many Jews found refuge in an unlikely place--the sprawling complex of the Grand Mosque of Paris. Not just a place of worship but a community center, this hive of activity was an ideal temporary hiding place for escaped prisoners of war and Jews of all ages, especially children. Beautifully illustrated and thoroughly researched.

Historical Atlas of Islam
By Malise Ruthven and Azim Nanji

Traveling Man: The Journey of Ibn Battuta, 1325-1354
By James Rumford
The true story of the travels of 14th century Arab explorer Ibn Battuta. Beautifully illustrated.

Al-Biruni: Master Astronomer and Muslim Scholar of the 11th Century
By Bill Scheppler
This book is part of a 6-volume series "Great Muslim Philosophers and Scientists of the Middle Ages."

Foods of Iran
By Barbara Sheen
Beautiful photographs and clear prose show a lot about Iranian culture through a description of the food. There are recipes, cultural descriptions, and details about how the food is grown and sold.

The Travels of Benjamin of Tudela
By Uri Shulevits
A fictionalized account of a Spanish Jew, who explored the Middle East and North Africa in the twelfth century (a century before Marco Polo). It’s nicely illustrated and in the form of short stories, a book you could read aloud to the class.

By Jane Shuter
This is a beautifully illustrated, well organized short book about Mesopotamia from the “Excavating the Past” series.

Guru Nanak
By Rina Singh and Andree Pouliot
This beautifully illustrated book describes the life and teachings of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion.

Averroes (Ibn Rushd): Muslim Scholar, Philosopher, and Physician of the 12th Century
By Liz Sonneborn
This book is part of a 6-volume series "Great Muslim Philosophers and Scientists of the Middle Ages."

Islamic Design: A Genius for Geometry
By Daud Sutton
Focusing on Islamic geometric patterns, simple and complex, man-made and in nature, this book offers unique insight into Islamic culture.

Turkish Customs and Traditions
By Turgay Tuna
This book describes the traditions of Turkey.

Seven Wonders of the Ancient Middle East
By Michael Woods and Mary B. Woods
A nicely illustrated book about the ancient Middle East. It provides history of the societies of the time.

The Tomb of King Tutankhamen: Unearthing Ancient Worlds
By Michael Woods and Mary B. Woods
Nicely illustrated and contains great photographs, this book gives a lot of history about King Tutankhamen as well as ancient Egypt in general.

The Arab-Israeli Conflict
By Richard Worth
An Open for Debate book which shows the main issues for both Palestinians and Israelis. Grades 7 and up.


Art and the Islamic World
VHS format.

This documentary shows the art and architecture of the famous Byzantine cathedral, Hagia Sophia.
 VHS format. 

Children of Heaven
This Iranian film, in Persian with English subtitles, is a sweet story about two Iranian children from a lower middle class family who are struggling to keep their beleagered parents from finding out that the boy has lost his sister's only pair of shoes.
DVD format.

Circle within the Square
This documentary is about the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan and his legacy.
VHS format.

Crusades: The Four Volumes (1995)
VHS format. 50 min. each - 4 videotapes.

“Egypt: Mummy Autopsy,” “Egypt: Mysterious Death of Cleopatra,” “Egypt: Pharaoh’s Revenge,” “Egypt: Ramses,” “Egypt: The Sphinx.”
Various Discovery Channel specials.
DVD format. 60 minutes each.

Families of Afghanistan
This film explores the family lives of two Afghani children: one from a rural area, one from a city.
DVD format. 30 min.

Families of Egypt
This film explores the family lives of two Egyptian children: one from a rural area, one from a city.
DVD format. 30 min.

Families of Egypt
This film explores the family lives of two Israeli children: one from a rural area, one from a city.
DVD format. 30 min.

The Glories of Islamic Art
This is made up of three 45-minute videos with beautiful cinematography and descriptions of the place of art within the Muslim tradition.  Part 1: The Umayyads and Their Capital Damascus,”  Part 2: “The Ottomans and Their Capital Istanbul,”  Part 3: “Two Islamic Regimes in Cairo.”
VHS format.  

I Will Not Be Sad in This World (2001).
Portrait of a 94-year-old Armenian woman’s life from the genocide through her childhood in a Lebanese orphanage through her life in America.
VHS and DVD formats.  56 min.

Inside Mecca
A National Geographic special about the Muslim pilgrimage and its rituals.
60 minutes.

Persian Rug: Home Is Where the Carpet Is
This documentary is about the making and meaning of Persian carpets.
VHS format.

Santa Claus in Baghdad (2008)
A beautiful short fictional story that can be compared with “The Gift of the Magi,” the movie based on Ella Marston's short story describes  Iraqis living during the bleak time of international sanctions just before the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. 
DVD format. 38 min.

Secrets of Lost Empires: Pyramid (2007)
A Nova special, this film combines a documentary approach with an animated historical fiction story to tell of the building of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
VHS format. 60 min.

A Team for Peace
A group of preadolescent soccer players, half of themPalestinian, half of them Israeli, are put together to play on an all-star team tocompete in an international youth soccer tournament.
DVD format. 45 min.

Topkapi Palace: General Outlines
This documentary describes the art and architecture of this magnificent Ottoman palace. 
VHS format.

Young Voices from the Arab World: The Lives and Times of Five Teenagers (1998)
About everyday life in Arab society told through the eyes of five young people from Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Kuwait, and Morocco. (Note: A teachers’guide/resource book comes with it.)
VHS format. 30 minutes.


Key Word(s) of the Page: