lesson plans are written for 90 minute periods
Taking a Walk
People travel for many reasons and many leave their imprints on earth as Ibn Battuta did. Geography is interaction between people and their environment. To make connections to their past the class will examine their surroundings and discuss what is present now and what could have been there before.
Goal: After completing this lesson students will compare and contrast places they are familiar with and list changes that have occurred over time.
Introduction: Using the overhead projector display an image from your community's past. Ask students what they see. Can they recognize where the image is from.
- Take the class on a walk around the neighborhood of your school. As they are walking answer the questions listed below.
Questions for students:
Clues from the past--as we walk take a look around. The landscape of our community has changed over time can you identify any of these changes.
____Is the soil sandy
____Is the soil good for farming or building
____Gardens--Do the plants and trees look natural or do they seem landscaped
____Water--Are there any streams, rivers, ports, harbors
____Landforms--hilly or flat
____Any old schools, houses, roads or cemeteries
____Is there a town green or common near by
____Any sites were there was early industry, mills or foundries
____Any railroads, signs of tracks, stations, railroad yards
____Can you see any signs of population movement, economic distress
____Any state parks, city parks or recreational areas
____Any major health centers
____Any clues as to what may happen in the near future in our community
2. Discuss types of interviewing, such as a job interview for a specific topic or for personal information. Ask the students what type of questions they would ask if they were interviewing an older person about their neighborhood. Place students in groups and have them generate the questions. Class discussion follows and the class comes to a consensus on which questions should be asked. Place the agreed upon questions on the board.
Student generated questions are used to interview an older person. The answers are discussed in class and the class completes a Venn diagram. In their social studies journal students answer the question, what was the most surprising fact you discovered? Explain why?
The Catalan map was completed by Abraham Cresquer a Catalonian Jew of Majorca. He was a mapmaker to King Peter of Aragon. In 1375 it contained the latest information about the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Asia, and African coastline. It is a medieval map consisting of 6 panels.
Goal: After completion of this lesson students will identify features of the Catalan map and analyze why these features are important.
Introduction: Write the world map on the board. Have students respond and answer what comes to mind when they see the world map. Place answers on the board.
Using the overhead projector allow the students to view a copy of the Catalan map for 10 seconds. Once the projector has been turned off ask the students to describe what they think they saw. Since the Catalan map consists of 6 panels, place students in groups and only hand out to each group 1 copy of a panel. Have each group answer the following questions:
1. What natural features are represented on the map?
2 What cultural features are represented on the map?
3. Are any boats represented on your section, describe them.
4. Does your map depict any symbols of resources, what are they? Where are they located?
5. Are any people represented in your section? Who do you think they are? What do you think their social status is?
6. How many continents are represented? Why?
7. What do you think is the purpose of the map?
8. Your group will add a 7th panel, your focus will be New Haven-include the following in your panel; use symbols to represent natural resources, cultural resources and people who you might meet.
In your social studies journal answer the question; why is the Catalan Map a valuable document today?
The African continent is often misrepresented in texts from the descriptions of its size, regions and the various people who live on the land. Ibn Battuta travels through many regions in Africa so it becomes necessary for students to review or gain more background knowledge about Africa.
Goal: After completion of this lesson, students will identify important geographic features of Africa and create mental maps.
Introduction: Ask students to complete a KWL chart. Students then share their charts and the class completes one which is placed on the board. A KWL chart consists of 3 columns one for what you know, one for what you want to know and the last one is for what you have learned.
Activity: Using the "How big is Africa?" curriculum guide students investigate regions, agricultural diversity and the population of Africa.
Assessment: 1. Students are asked to develop a mental map of Africa.
2. Students are asked to refer to the Lesson 1 activity, "Taking a Walk" and re-write 6 of the clues from the past to reflect Ibn Battuta's journey in Africa.
To purchase the "How Big is Africa" guide contact:
African Studies Center
270 Bay State Road
Boston, MA 02215
China is one of the oldest civilizations and it is considered one of the four great cultural hearths. (Greece, Egypt, Mesopotamia). One-fifths of the world's population lives in China. China is bordered by 11 nations. The topography, climate and natural resources of China's regions influenced culture, economy and lifestyle of its inhabitants.
Goal: After completion of this lesson, students will describe and explain different regions of China.
Introduction: Ask students to write down 3 facts about China. Place a T-chart on the board on one side write, how many facts are the same on the other side how many facts are different. Then ask the question, what does this tell us about our knowledge of China?
Activity 1: Teacher uses a large map of China to show the extent of landforms, climate and varied agricultural of China. Students take notes.
Assessment: Students create a graphic organizer of China's geography using Inspiration Computer program. (available from www.inspiration.com)
Activity 2: Students view video, "Three Gorges of the Yangtze River" (International Video Corporation)
Assessment: In their journals students evaluate the importance of the Yangtze River to the Chinese people.
Museum visit-African and Asian art
Museums offer students the experience of observing artifacts from the material culture of a society. New Haven is fortunate to have the Yale University Art Gallery. Yale's art gallery possesses the largest African art collection of any other American university.
Goal: After completion of this lesson, students will describe and explain the significance of art to African or Asian societies.
Introduction: The teacher has visited the museum prior to the field trip and taken photos of various artifacts. The photos are viewed either by computer or made into overheads. Students then guess what they think the object is or how the object could be used.
Activity: Field trip to the museum, when the class arrives at the museum they complete a scavenger hunt. Examples of questions: What is a major issue with the collection of African Antiquities? Find the carved relief from Nigeria, what is it made on and what figures are carved on it? Find and describe 2 funerary masks. Find an artifact that displays the influence Europeans had on African societies?
Asian art: View the art work from the manuscript of the Battle between Rustam and Arasiab, describe what you see, find two statues of Buddha and describe their posture and facial expressions. Are they the same or different, why?
Assessment: Four salespeople (students) from the Yale Art Advertising Company have been asked to develop an ad campaign for the new African/Asian exhibit. Your group's job is to produce a bumper sticker, a thirty-second prime time TV ad and a newspaper advertisement for the exhibit. When you are finished your group will present your ad campaign to the class.
Ibn Battuta's journey
I often read story books to the class and ask questions. The questions are asked to determine if my students can make text to text connections, text to world connections or text to self connections. For this exercise I will read, Traveling Man, by James Rumford.
Goal: After completion of this lesson, students will complete library and internet research on Ibn Battuta and Marco Polo and write a 5 paragraph essay.
Introduction: Think of the most exotic place you would like to visit. In your journal write down the name of the place and state why you want to visit there.
Activity: Teacher reads, Traveling Man, and asks questions.
Examples of questions- Have you ever heard of the Ocean of Darkness or the Ocean of Ignorance? This question may lead to a discussion of stereotypes. Was there ever a time in your life when you were homesick? Have you read about people who have traveled long distances? If Ibn Battuta was a man of meager means, how was he able to travel so far? What dangers did he face?
Assessment: Students research Ibn Battuta and Marco Polo, after completing their research students write an essay to answer the question; If Ibn Battuta traveled 75,000 miles and visited 44 countries and Marco Polo traveled about 25, 000 miles, why did Marco Polo become famous and only a few geographers and historians know about Ibn Battuta?
The Hajj or Pilgrimage
One of the Five Pillars of Islam is the completion of the Hajj; the religion asks every Muslim man or woman who can afford to travel to complete the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Goal: After completion of this lesson students will list the duties of the Hajj and compare and contrast a pilgrimage made in the 14th century to one made in the twenty-first century.
Introduction: Show overhead transparencies of ways people travel now and in the past, then ask students the reasons a 14th century traveler would endure all the hardships?
Activity: Students watch, Inside Mecca, (National Geographic video). Students use a simple 4 column worksheet to take notes on the travelers and duties of the hajj. (Note: this video may not be suited for middle school, teachers need to preview). After watching the video they read excerpts from Ibn Jubayr's travels in 1183.Ibn Jubayr provides a detailed description of the hajj (Broadhurst, R.J.C.. The Travels of Ibn Jubayr. London, 1952, pgs. 158-195).
Assessment: Students complete a Venn diagram.
This lesson will take 4 to 7 days to complete
Ibn Battuta Exhibit-Culminating activity
Goal: After completion of this lesson, students will illustrate, investigate and analyze the impact of pilgrimages on regions in Africa and Eurasia.
Introduction: Journal write-Tell students to image they are preparing for a long journey in the year 1325, what you would take, how would you get where you needed to go, what dangers you could face. Students share answers.
Activity: Teacher places a map of Ibn Battuta's travels on the overhead and traces his route (National Geography, Ibn Battuta pgs. 12 and 13). Place students in groups and divide his route into manageable sections, each group receives a section. Students are given large sheets of paper or if the teacher prefers a tri-fold (Staples).
Assessment: Your group has been hired by the local museum to complete an exhibit on Ibn Battuta and to explain why his travels are important. Each group must answer the following questions:
1. What major cities are on your route? Select 3 cities and describe what was there when Ibn Battuta visited. If you visited these cities would you see the same sites today?
2. How have the regions of Africa and Eurasia changed since he traveled?
3. Describe in detail two groups of people he may have met on his travels. What did Ibn Battuta say about the people he met?
4. What mode of transportation did he use?
5. Trace a trade route on your section, what was traded?
6. What dangers did he face (Dunn. The Travels of Ibn Battuta, pgs.195-196, 215-216, 246-247 and Gibb, Ibn Battuta, pgs. 239-240).
7. Each group member must select one of the following to complete, create a geometric design (Discovering Geometry, pgs. 16 and 17 or Scholastic Art, Islamic art edition, Dec.2005/Jan.2006) or make African bead jewelry (www.afrodesign.com/history-trade-beads-a-17.html).
8. On your own, each group member must answer the following question in detail, how did the study of an Islamic traveler contribute to our understanding of people's interaction and the spread of Islamic culture during the 1300s?
Exhibit and the class connection to Africa
Students will act as docents and present the exhibit to other classmates and faculty members. During the presentation, students will conduct a campaign to raise awareness of the problems of women in Uganda. Using BeadforLife an organization which provides income to Ugandan women and their families, students will hold a "Beadwear Party." Their website, www.beadforlife.com includes information about the individual beaders and how this program helps women to overcome poverty.