Take a Walk in My Shoes: A Cultural Look at the Historical Conflicts in the Mid-East

A lesson plan by Christine Archer-Davison, Parker, CO

Subject: Grades 6-9 Social Studies
Duration: Approximately 2 weeks; 50 minute class periods

This lesson plan was one of the winners in a lesson plan contest sponsored by TeachersFirst in 2002. TeachersFirst editors have added technology options where appropriate.

Rationale The Middle East is a place of many conflicts. Since Israel became an independent nation in 1948, it has been the focus of many news articles. Israel has significance for three of the world’s largest religions -- Islam, Christianity and Judaism. It is important for students to examine how history, culture and geography influence a person’s perception toward a particular place. Begin the unit with a background study of Middle Eastern physical and political geography. Students should also be familiarized with culture, current events and history of the regions. This particular lesson is just a piece of a Middle Eastern Unit. It is used to help students further comprehend the ongoing conflict in Israel, Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Materials Software And Technology Materials Required:
Computers; Internet Access; Video camera and simple editing software, such as iMovie or Windows Movie Maker; Memberships in online tools (free)

List of Suggested Links (share on your teacher web page or direct them to this page) for online tools and/or for research by students who may need help finding reliable sources; Search TeachersFirst for links on the Middle East using keyword search.
Culturegrams; Time Traveler CD Rom; National Geographic World Geography CD-Roms; Scanner; Digital camera

Other Materials Required:
  • British and the Jews Of Europe 1939-1945 by Wasserstein
  • Israel by Mary Jane Cahill
  • The Palestine Conflict by Neal Bernards
  • Israel by Library of Nations
  • or other print materials on the Middle East
Procedure Students will work together in small groups of 4-5. Students will share the responsibility of researching, synthesizing and presenting their information. Groups will work in the classroom at computer stations and in the library.

Students will create presentations about the historical, geographical and cultural implications that have influenced the views of various groups of people found in the Middle East. Assuming the role of a Palestinian, Jew, or Brit, students are to explore how their assigned group felt about Israel during the time when the Israeli state was formed. Presentations will be based on research in print and electronic media. Presentations will be delivered to the whole class and followed up with discussion. (See activity handouts: activity 1, activity 2, activity 3, activity 4)
Technology Tools There are many free, web-based tools available for easy online collaboration in addition to software you may have on your school computers. Adapt the assigned tasks to use the tools with which you and your students are familiar. Many site require an email address to join, so check on school policies before allowing students to join, share email, or post their work to places that are public on the web. You may want to use a class account using the teacher's email address. Here are just a few of the options:

Multimedia presentation tools:
Google Docs presentations (reviewed here)
Slideshare (sharing only, not creation)
TRintuition workbench (reviewed here)

School-friendly video sharing tools:
Teachertube (reviewed here)
SchoolTube (reviewed here)

Web page tools:
TRintuition workbench (reviewed here)
also consider using a wiki (explained here) or blog (explained here)

Wiki tools: (videos can be embedded in a wiki for class sharing)
PB wiki, reviewed here
wikispaces, reviewed here

Online "Diary" tools: Consider using a blog
Blog Basics and tools comparison
Assessment Students are assessed on their ability to:
  1. Address the inquiry questions in a suitable manner
  2. Understand the points of view of various types of people
  3. Synthesize information into diary format
  4. Provide both physical and cultural reasons for the conflict that occurred in the Middle East
  5. Evaluate and process geographical data
  6. Present their work
  7. Use technology
  8. Write clearly