Middle East
Teacher's Guide

March 25, 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 - Fire Jumping in Modern Persia
Kids' Version available

The team arrives in Khoy, Iran, and witnesses kids jumping fire and setting off firecrackers, in celebration of an ancient Zoroastrian holiday of worshipping fire. Themes include Zoroastrianism and the Persian calendar.

Ask your students to write a short report about the Zoroastrian religion and ask them to date the report according to the Persian calendar (they should be able to find this kind of information in an encyclopedia). In class, discuss monotheism and ask the students if they can come up with some religions that qualify as monotheistic faiths.

Brian - Of Sheep and Sacrifice

The team discusses Eid al-Adha, or Feast of the Sacrifice, in which rams are sacrificed as a reminder of the story of Abraham and the power of faith in God. This story is relevant to both Jews and Muslims, as Isaac and Ishmael (his sons) were the forefathers of the Jews and Arabs respectively.

In this dispatch, Brian is confused when he sees a man wrestling a sheep on the side of the road, only to find out later that Iran has an ancient and sacred tradition of sheep sacrifice. Just as Brian found the sheep sacrifice in Iran to be a strange and unfamiliar tradition, what traditions would a foreigner visiting your country find most unusual?

Jasmine - 'Cause You Gotta Have Faith╝A Visit to the Black Church

Jasmine visits the Church Thaddeus (the Kelise-ye-Tadi) Gharma Kelise (the Black Church) in the Azerbayjane-Gharbi Providence of Northern Iran. Jasmine discusses early Christianity in Iran through the Armenian church.

Iran is unusual in that it is a country whose population overwhelmingly believes in one religion, Islam (99.3% in fact). Christians and those who practice other faiths are in the extreme minority, and unfortunately they must keep a low profile. How does religion in your country compare with religion in Iran? How does the population of your country break down in terms of religious faith? Is there an overwhelming majority of people who believe in one religion, or are views more varied? Do minority faiths have to keep a low profile?

Kavitha - Mission Impossible? Crossing the Border into Iran

The team goes through many ordeals trying to cross the border in to Iran. Describes their adventures getting to the Turkish border during stormy weather, trying to obtain an Iranian visa as an American citizen, and preparing their luggage and their physical appearance to comply with the strict laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

This firsthand account of the difficulties of visiting brings up many questions that you might try to answer with your class. Why are relations between America and Iran so strained? Why does Iran restrict journalists from entering? Why must the women cover their hair? Discussing question like these will help your students learn about Iran and how it compares with your country.

Monica - We are Family! Come on Everybody and Sing!
Kids' Version available

The team celebrates friendship and community with an Iranian household in the small town of Khoy.

Monica opens her dispatch with this line: "Take some time with me to think about "family." What does the word mean to you?" Ask your students this question. She goes on to say "In Iran, there seems to be a real difference between the warm and friendly private life, happening inside the home behind closed doors, and the more formally conducted public life." This is true in other countries as well. Do your students think this is true about your country?

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