Lesson Plans

Lessons from Morocco

Lessons about Jewish-Muslim Coexistence in Morocco

In the summer of 2017, the UC Berkeley Center for Middle East Studies led a group of 15 California teachers on a Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad study program in Morocco. Participants learned about the history and current cultures of Morocco, with a special emphasis on the history of interactions between Jews and Muslims in the region. Teachers constructed lessons upon their return, drawing on the knowledge and resources they developed through participation in thei Fulbright-Hays program.

Mithila Painting: Folk Art of India

Why Study Mithila Painting? This three-week unit invites students to understand and make connections with cultures in rural North India via traditions of ritual painting that have been practiced since ancient times - the exact point of origin is unknown. They will learn that India's great Hindu epic, The Ramayana, is celebrated in paintings in the village where the story originated alongside more modern subjects. Students will gain an appreciation for the impressive skills of formally unschooled, but internationally recognized village artists and see how these artists are responding to modern...


Image credit: Jeanniot (grav.) - Bibliothèque nationale de France, Public Domain

Sundiata (also spelled Sunjata, Sundjata, or Soundjata) is an oral epic celebrating the life of Sundiata, the founder of the thirteenth-century Mali Empire of West Africa. There are written versions of the epic (just as there are written summaries of movies or film adaptations of books) but...


Image Credit: From the Metropolitan Museum of Art , via Open Access

The Ramayana originated in north India as an oral epic poem, performed with musical accompaniment and dance. Written, illustrated manuscripts of the poem were later produced from Pakistan to Indonesia. This means that the Ramayana has expressions in oral performance, dance, music, literature, and illustration. Modern...

Women in World History

2016 Summer Institute for Community College Instructors

How would your curriculum change if your default historical subjects were women, rather than men?

How would you assess the importance of the agricultural revolution or Athenian democracy? Would property rights and marriage laws edge out professional status and voting rights in classroom discussions about power? How would you construct narratives of long-distance trade, imperial conquest, and industrialization? Do you imagine the core...

Featured: The Travels of Ibn Battuta

October 5, 2016

The Travels of Ibn Battuta: a Virtual Tour has been one of ORIAS' most successful, most widely used projects. The Travels of Ibn Battuta: A Virtual Tour began as a Web resource written in 1999 by Nick Bartel for his students at Horace Mann Middle School, San Francisco, California. It was one of...

Featured: The Golden Record

January 4, 2016

Cover of the Golden Record from Voyager spacecraft

A few weeks ago, an old Radiolab episode reminded me of the Golden Record, which I hadn't thought about since childhood.

In 1977, Voyager 1 and 2 headed out into the universe, each carrying a copy of a Golden Record. A combination of greetings, audio clips, and images made up the Record's...

Shadow Theater

ORIAS teachers visit ShadowLight Productions rehearsal for Feathers of Fire

Watch video from ShadowLight Productions about bringing Balinese shadow theater to America. Download lesson plans to use shadow theater with students of all ages.