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Technology-rich, standards-based lessons for upper elementary and middle school
Art in the Muslim World



In classical Islamic art, forms of art such as calligraphy, architecture, and decorative arts are celebrated. Through the materials presented in this lesson, students will explore basic elements of Islamic art, learn about the origin and styles of the specific art of Islamic calligraphy, and create their own piece of artistic calligraphy.

Time Allotment: Four 45-minute class periods

Subject Matter: Social Studies, World Cultures, Art

Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the basic elements of Islamic art;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the history and styles of Islamic calligraphy;
  • Gather information from a variety of sources, process and record information, and create a piece of art based on this work;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of religious concepts that Islamic art is grounded in.


Visual Arts
    1. Understands and applies media, techniques, and processes related to the visual arts.

    4. Understands the visual arts in relation to history and cultures.
Language Arts
    Viewing, Standard 9, Level III, Benchmark 1
      1. Understands a variety of messages conveyed by visual media (e.g., main concept, details, themes or lessons, viewpoints).

    Reading, Standard 7, Level III, Benchmark 1, 3-5
      1. Uses reading skills and strategies to understand a variety of informational texts (e.g., electronic texts; textbooks; biographical sketches; directions; essays; primary source historical documents, including letters and diaries; print media, including editorials, news stories, periodicals, and magazines; consumer, workplace, and public documents, including catalogs, technical directions, procedures, and bus routes).

      3. Summarizes and paraphrases information in texts (e.g., arranges information in chronological, logical, or sequential order; conveys main ideas, critical details, and underlying meaning; uses own words or quoted materials; preserves author's perspective and voice).

      4. Uses new information to adjust and extend personal knowledge base.

      5. Draws conclusions and makes inferences based on explicit and implicit information in texts.

    Writing, Standard 4, Level III, Benchmark 5
      5. Organizes information and ideas from multiple sources in systematic ways (e.g., time lines, outlines, notes, graphic representations).
Media Components

Islamic Art
Web Sites: Materials

For the class:
  • A chalkboard, whiteboard, or poster paper (for brainstorming activities)
  • The appropriate writing utensil for your writing surface
  • Tape (necessary if you are using poster paper so that you can display the students' work)
  • Ideally, a screen on which to project Web-based video clips or a TV and VCR/DVD player
For each student:
  • Pen or pencil
  • Calligraphy pens (if available) or markers
  • Paper (art paper or construction paper) for their culminating activity
  • Computer with Internet access
  • Student Response Sheet (download here)
Prep for Teachers

Prior to teaching the lesson, review all of the Web sites and video segments used in the lesson to make certain that they are appropriate for your students. Bookmark the Web sites used in the lesson on each computer in your classroom, or upload them to an online bookmarking utility such as Download the Acrobat Reader plug-in from to each computer in your classroom. Download the free RealPlayer plug-in from to play the video clips.

Download, print, and copy all of the student organizers listed above for each student in your classroom.

Prerequisite: Before beginning this lesson, be sure to do the Introductory Activity from the "Religion and the First Amendment" lesson with your class.