How Can This Site Be Used?
This site was created with flexibility in mind. Listed below are a number of options for site-related projects and activities. Each of the possible activities helps students meet one or more of the following goals:
- understand the (reported) events of Ibn Battuta's travels
- learn about the geography of places where Ibn Battuta travelled
- interpret Ibn Battuta's views and values based on what he (claims) he did and said
- think critically about Ibn Battuta's account and figure out reasonable ways to question his account
- learn more about assessing the reliability of images found on the internet
Understand the Setting
Use the map of Ibn Battuta's travels side by side with modern maps, this listing of all the places Ibn Battuta visited, and other sources to answer the following questions:
- Which modern countries did Ibn Battuta visit?
- Which rivers, mountain ranges, and deserts did Ibn Battuta cross?
- What are the average January and July temperatures in 10 of the places Ibn Battuta visited?
- What is the modern population in each of those 10 places?
- If you could visit any five of the places Ibn Battuta saw, which five would you choose and why?
Find More Images
This website mentions a number of locations and buildings that are not pictured. See if you can find pictures of those locations, or additional pictures of the locations that are shown here. Be prepared to explain how you know each image actually shows what it says it shows. The website uses a number of Wikipedia images because those images in the public domain, but before we posted them, we checked other sources to make sure the images were labeled correctly.
As a student completing a class project, you can use images from other sites, so long as you properly cite them. So see what other pictures you can find! This will require some sleuthing and double-checking of sources.
Pretend that you are Ibn Battuta or that you are traveling with him. Create post cards (or blog posts) to tell others about your journey. To send any mail during Ibn Battuta's time, your letter would probably be carried by camel, donkey, or horse by land, on dhow sailing ships, or even by carrier pigeon! It probably would take months to get there, if nothing happened to it along the way!
- Choose a picture from the website or from the activity above.
- Use the picture to create either a blog post or an actual physical post card.
- Your blog post or post card should include important information, like:
- your means of transportation (horse or donkey, camel caravan, ship)
- the distances you have traveled and how long the trip has taken
- the weather or climate
- unusual sights or dangers along the way
- a description of the picture you used
- other personal or cultural information that you want to share
Send a Warning Back in Time
Ibn Battuta encounters a number of personal misfortunes and natural disasters. You, of course, know about these, but he did not. Write him a letter warning him about several of the problems he was going to encounter. Make suggestions about how he might change his itinerary or his route to avoid trouble spots. Suggest other items (from his own time) that he should carry with him.
Role playing is a good way to help you imagine Ibn Battuta's experiences and ideas. Here are three role-play options:
- Individual presentation: Pretend that you are Ibn Battuta giving a presentation about your trip to the Sultan. Your classmatesmay ask you follow-up questions to help you provide more details.
- Partners [Dialog or Interview]: With a partner, plan an interview of Ibn Battuta. Focus on the events of one chapter. Present this to the class.
- Scene [Multiple Players]: From one chapter of this story, take on different characters and act out an incident in the story of Ibn Battuta. This could also take the form of a TV news broadcast.
Pretend you are one of Ibn Battuta's travelling companions. Keep a diary of the events of one or more of the chapters. explain what happened and give your own take on events. This is a good way to explore the idea that narrators are not always reliable.
Prepare a one-page brochure or website to advertise travel to one of the places visited by Ibn Battuta. Include information about the attractions for tourists, weather, local customs, a map, information about food, and any other information you think would be useful. Be careful to use facts from Ibn Battuta's time, rather than modern information.
Cook your way through the travels of Ibn Battuta. On a number of pages are bits of information about foods that Ibn Battuta ate. You can search for other recipes from areas where he traveled, but recipes changed a LOT in the centuries after his trip. This is partly because many of the foods that are incorporated in cooking across Asia and Africa today came from the Americas. They wouldn't have existed in Ibn Battuta's world. Some examples of these American foods are: potatoes, tomatoes, chili peppers of all kinds, most beans, chocolate, corn, avocado, vanilla, and peanuts. So, in order to make these meals authentic, you'll have to stick to actual medieval recipes.
Fake Social Media
There are a number of fake social media platforms for use in school, including ones that look like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. What would Ibn Battuta have recorded if he had texted, posted, tweeted, or snapped his way through his journey? Create a social media stream, with one person playing Ibn Battuta and others playing other people who show up in his account.
Make a board game. The goal of the game is to complete a tour, like Ibn Battuta did. Using a map of Ibn Battuta's journey, create squares that follow Ibn Battuta's journeys. Make some squares for "chance" and make cards that might send the player ahead or behind. (They should be appropriate to the actual problems of travelers in the 14th century.) Make question cards that enable players to move ahead or win prizes by answering questions about Ibn Battuta's journey. Players can roll the die or dice to determine how many spaces to move their player piece. Play the game with a few of your classmates.