Lesson Plans

Sundiata

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 its original form is as an oral poem, performed by a jali - a professional bard.

Image credit: Jeanniot...

Ramayana

Image from the Ramayana

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 iterations of the tale extend to film, television, comic books, and animation....

Monomyth: Hero's Journey Project

Joseph Campbell's Monomyth, developed in Hero With A Thousand Faces, describes the common heroic narrative in which a heroic protagonist sets out, has transformative adventures, and returns home. It is a useful formula for comparing literary traditions across time and culture.

Here, ORIAS provides resources to explore and compare three different works through the lens of the Monomyth: Mali's Sunjata, South Asia's Ramayana, and Japan's Yamato.

Women in World History

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 periodization and themes underlying your course would be altered?

These are not new...

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.