Middle East
Teacher's Guide

April 5, 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:

Monica - The Holiest of Shrines: The Astan Quds Razavi of Mashhad

The team visits the Holy Shrine of Emam Reza in Mashhad in time for the noon prayer. This is the greatest Shi'ite pilgrimage site in Iran.

Have students consider the role prayer plays in their own religions. Do they really believe in it? Do they do it? Do they value it? What do they get from it? Why do they do it? Does their religion have a similar pilgrimage site such as the Holy Shrine visited in this dispatch. Do they believe "location" changes or enhances the power of prayer?

Abeja - Sweet Home Iran
Kids' Version available

The team stays with an Iranian family and discusses family ties, arranged marriages, social customs, and the population explosion.

Have students compare the role of family in Iran with their immediate community and family. How could their lives benefit from being part of an extended family as described here? Extended families provide a great support network for money, daycare, illness and companionship etc. If they are not part of an extended family, how does their local community support them in these same areas? Would they prefer to be part of a smaller family or larger one? Why?

Jasmine - Nader Shah: War Can Make You Lose Your Head

The team visits the Nader Shah museum and gets acquainted with Iran's turbulent history through the life of this fierce warrior-ruler. A self-proclaimed Shah, he is responsible for uniting Iran in the 1700's. His iron-fisted leadership style profited great riches, glory, and success but it cost his life. The team explores the topics of ancestry, history, and leadership, challenging students to be responsible leaders, conscious of the legacy they hope to leave behind.

Create a family tree and time line-take note of the different religions and parts of the world different families are from --discuss ways of discovering or preserving heritage.

Kaivtha - Superman? Wonder Woman? Ha! This Guy Saves Languages! Why Iranians Fall for Ferdowsi

The team visits the tomb of the great poet Ferdowsi, and discusses the importance of his epic poem, The Shahnama, in preserving the Farsi language and Persian culture during a time of Arab rule. The endurance of Persian culture despite numerous foreign rulers and invaders is discussed.

Locate an English translation of the Shahnama to read and discuss with students. Be sure and listen to what it sounds like in Farsi (included in the dispatch.)

Brian - Three's Company
Kids' Version available

The team visits the tomb of Omar Khayyam and learns the story of his interesting life and the 2 interesting friends he made along the way. Read the account of this volatile friendship and also read excerpts from the from the Rubaiyat.

Read sections from the Rubaiyat in class. Pick a topic (maybe one of a pessimistic nature like Omar Khayyam "preferred") and have class try their hand at duplicating Omar Khayyam's style.

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