Middle East
Teacher's Guide

March 22, 2000 Update
Remember, the "Kids' Versions" are aimed at K-6.

Check out this date's update
The team generated the following reports: Try the following activities:

Abeja - When Fertile Is Not Fertile Enough

The team visits Diyarbakir in Southeastern Anatolia, aka the fertile crescent, and discusses the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP). GAP is a government development program which is building dams, hydroelectric plants, and irrigation systems throughout this poor region of Turkey, which is still recovering from years of fighting between Kurdish guerrillas and the Turkish army.

For discussion: Abeja's dispatch discusses how the population explosion demands more food and water over time, and with the inevitable reduction in fresh water caused by pollution, water is going to become an even bigger issue in the years to come.
  1. What things can we do to help to keep water clean, and to not use so much of it ourselves!
  2. Have students find out where their water comes from. Do they know what other cities, states, or countries rely on the same water source?

Abeja - With a Name like "Glorious Urfa," It's Got to be Good!

Abeja visits Sanliurfa, an ancient and modern city in southeast Turkey near the Syrian border. This is a major pilgrimage site, where the prophet Abraham is said to have been born. It was also a stop along the Silk Road, and has several Caravansari and a colorful bazaar.

Have the class research what this region was like during the time of Abraham and/or the Silk Road. Then have them craft a mock documentary of their life in that day and age. If you can't film it, have them write it down.

Andrew - One World, One Love: How A High School Girl From Japan Changed Turkey
Kid's Version available

Andrew meets Mio Shindo, a high school student from Japan who decided to do something to help the earthquake victims in Turkey. She travels there and finds interesting ways to help the people.

  1. Ask the class if there are people suffering similar conditions in their country whom have the disadvantage of not speaking English.
  2. What ways could we reach out to these people?
  3. What could we do tomorrow to help?

Brian - Prince for a Day: Exploring the Beauty of the Princes' Islands

The team visits the Princes' Islands, a group of islands off the coast of Istanbul used as a cush prison in Byzantine times and later favored as a resort for the wealthy. This touches on the theme of wealth and poverty.

  1. This dispatch alludes to the ancient practice of economic discrimination in judicial systems. Have students research the different conditions of prisoners in the U.S. that serve "White Collar Criminals" versus the general population..
  2. What are the major differences and what rationale does the prison industry use to justify these differences?

Kavitha - The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!

Turkey's proximity to former Soviet Republics sparks the team's curiosity about these little known border countries. The impact of the fall of the former Soviet Union on Turkey is discussed. The team visits the 'suitcase' bazaar in Istanbul that evolved from the mass 'Russian' immigration following the opening of Turkey's borders.

Have students research the linguistic origins of modern-day Cyrillic and determine what lingua franca would best suit the many dialects and languages spoken in the border countries covered.

Monica - What to Think about When You're Waiting Around... A collection of thoughts from Erzurum, Turkey
Kid's Version Available

The team waits for visas to Iran in Erzurum, Turkey. Monica shares her thoughts about the teams' individuality and what makes us each special. It is a "feel good" dispatch!

  1. Ask students to answer Monica's questions at the end of the dispatch:
  2. If two middle school friends dialed you up on the cyberphone fifteen years from now, how will you explain what's up?
  3. Where do you see yourself?
  4. What would you like to be doing? How would you like to be feeling?
  5. Do you think people would be surprised at the changes? Would they not be surprised, because you'd be the same?

Monica - Tired of School? Here's an Alternative: The Street Children of Ankara

A profile of two teenage boys working on the streets of Ankara, Turkey. Includes information on the culture of a shanty town, the mentality that drives the kids to work and the Center for Children Working on the Streets of Ankara (CCWSA).

  1. Ask students to consider what their daily life would be like if they could not afford to go to school.
  2. What would they do with their time?
  3. How could they better themselves without the benefit of learning in a classroom?
  4. How would they earn money to help their families?
  5. What would they miss the most and why?

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