Ramadan Mubarak! Though we are not Muslim, we have several friends and followers that are. I am saddened that they have to celebrate their holy month in the middle of the Corona pandemic. In honor of the month of Ramadan I’ve compiled our resources and activities for the Golden Age of Islam Unit that we did for our study of the Middle Ages this year. During this time, the East not only held onto all the scientific, artistic, and cartographic information, they also studied, expanded, and recorded their knowledge. Enjoy.
3D Puzzle of the Dome of the Rock
When we started our Medieval Times unit we opened with the construction of a Melissa and Doug 3D Castle Puzzle. This was special to me because in ’98 I went to Jerusalem and was able to see the outside in person. It was a great experience to share that with my daughter while building this.
On a Medieval Day
This book is a composite of short stories from around the world with one being from Baghdad. After each fictional short story there is a short page or two pages of facts in reference to the story. This is a great book, and we enjoyed all the stories. It has 9 stories in total, one is of Islam pgs 27-34. This is a wonderful living history book.
Mosque by David Macaulay
This book, like his Castle and Cathedral book is about the construction of a particular mosque being build. It’s told in a timeline story form, and the pictures are black and white. It goes into some of the architecture, culture and religion.
Saladin: Noble Prince of Islam
This was a favorite. This short biography about Prince Slaladin talks about Islam’s battle against the crusades. It is the flipside story of Richard the Lionhearted. We also had been studying and drawing mosaics, so it was wonderful to notice all the Islamic mosaic designsthat are found in abundance in this book.
This was our read aloud during this unit. These beautifully woven stories have wonderful character building in these stories. They were entertaining to read. I have read in places that they have been westernized, and though I could see this reading them, I felt that it still was a great read aloud, and provided some insight into the culture and times of the Middle Ages in this area.
Muhammad by Demi Muhamad
I didn’t feel like we could do this unit without a biography of Muhammad. We enjoy Demi’s illustrations and other books, and so I choose this one about Muhammad. It’s gorgeously illustrated and beautifully told. The inlays of gold are a nice intricate touch to so many of her books.
National Geographic Readers: Ibn al-Haytham
This was about a scientist and how he discovered how eyes work. This is the typical National Geographic with lots of illustrations and scientific facts. It weaves in some interesting facts about the geography, culture, and pasttimes of the time and place.
The Amazing Discoveries of Ibn Sina
This book was about a doctor. It tells the story of his life and particularly his Canons of Medicine. He was known for collecting medical information and recording what he learned in a series of books. Those books were used for centuries to teach others in the fieled, not only in that area, but also all over Europe.
The Amazing Travels of Ibn Battuta
This was of an explorer who is fascinating. I actually am saving him for our explorer’s unit next year, but could definitely be included here. His travels were extensive and experiences extensive.
Traveling Man: The Journey of Ibn Battuta 1325-1354 Another book about Ibn Battuta. I enjoyed this book more that the previous. If I had to choose between the two, I’d definitely choose this one. I feel like the illustrations were nicer and the details more interesting.
We are not Muslims, so my daughter needed reference to culture and religion. We used the following books for this. This was a favorite. Though it goes through a counting sequence for younger children, it illustrates the culture of the Muslim community so well. The illustrations are beautifully done, and there is a definite layer for older children in the book.
This book was about Ramadan, and though it was not Ramadan at the time of our study, it was a religious holiday that, I knew from friends, is integral, anticipated, and celebrated by all Muslims. Given all that, I felt it was important that we touch on the holiday. The story is from a child’s point of view sharing the closeness and connection of the season with her parents and community.
Islamic Design: A Genius for Geometry
During our study we integrated some math by studying Islamic tiling, and playing with with our own geometric designs and tiling. This book was a fabulous addition that goes into the math of Islamic tiles. It is definitely an adult book, so I had to pair it down for my then 8 year-old.
This site was full of wonderful projects for kids relating the Islamic art. We did some of their tiling projects and loved them. I would highly recommend pursuing through this site. I feel like it was really well done.
These two videos were about Islamic tiles. This one goes through how tiles are made and assembled by hand. It was such a beautiful process to watch. Another one went over the Met’s assembly of the Moroccan Court and how they made it. It was fascinating.
In the Play Room had a tutorial on a Mosque silhouette water color project. We used a wet-on-wet painting to make the background typical of a Waldorf technique. When it dried, we used a black paint to make the silhouette of the Mosque. I was really pleased both with the process and how well this project turned out.