Middle East
Teacher's Guide

April 15, 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 - The Odyssey is Non-Profit, but Not Non-Prophet

The team visits a Zoroastrian home and fire temple in Yazd, Iran, and meets a local Zoroastrian. In this article, basic tenets of the Zoroastrian religion and the history of the prophet Zarathustra (aka Zoroaster) are discussed. The Bahá'í faith is also mentioned.

In this dispatch Abeja informs us that the Zoroastrian faith was one of the very first monotheistic faiths and had a big influence on Judaism, Christianity and Islam. So your students can put this information is context, why not construct a table, of the religions mention in this dispatch, the main prophets who founded the religion, and when they lived. You could also include information about the world distribution of these religions.

Brian - A Chat with a Mosque

The team visits the Masjed-e Emam mosque in Esfahan, Iran, which is one of the finest mosques in Iran. It was built at the height of perfection in Persian Architecture.

This dispatch of Brian's is very similar to one he did of the Aya Sofia in Istanbul, speaking from the point of view of a famous building. Ask your students to read both of these dispatches (a link to the Aya Sofia article can be found in the Masjed-e Emam dispatch). Then, as a writing exercise, ask them to draft a similar write-up from the point of view of a famous building in your town. When was it built, what is its history, what are its unique features, what goes on there now?

Jasmine - No More No Ruz
NOTE: Kids' Version Available

Jasmine and the team celebrate Seez Deh Bedar, the thirteenth day of the new year, with a festive picnic in the park.

Jasmine relates how taking part in an Iranian tradition actually helped her. She unburdened herself and "gave her troubles to the grass" on the thirteenth day of No Ruz. Compare Seez Deh Bedar to the traditions of your culture. Can you and your class think of any traditions in your culture that serve the same purpose, encouraging people to get out of the house and in this way avoid bad luck?

Kavitha - Trekkers and Mongols in Iran's Desert Plateau

The team journeys through Iran's vast plateau and visits Soltaniye, a small village in the desert that was once a great Mongol city. Ghengis Khan and his notorious legacy in Iran are discussed, as is the perseverance of the small villages that endured through the Mongolian exploits.

With your class, briefly review the history of the Mongolians, and in particular the empire of Ghengis Khan. Check out the map that accompanies this dispatch.

Kavitha - An Iranian Dead Poets' Society

The team visits the tombs of Hafez and Sa'di in Shiraz and discovers why these tombs and poets are so beloved to Iranians. Includes information about Persian poets and modern-day Iranian culture.

Why not take Kavitha's suggestion and compare the poetry of these two famous Iranian poets? Have the students read the poems aloud. Does the class agree with Kavitha that one is more moral and the other more mystical? Which poetry does the class prefer?

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