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Technology-rich, standards-based lessons for upper elementary and middle school



In the following lesson, students will investigate the traditions and spiritual aspects of Ramadan using segments from RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY and various Web sites. Depending upon your community, students may have an understanding of Islamic traditions, or they may have had little exposure to Islam. Before beginning the lesson, you may want to review using the Web site Follow the links to "The Beliefs and Practices of Islam" and "An Introduction to Ramadan." In each section there is an overview of information as well as questions and activities to use with students.

Time Allotment: Two to three 45-minute class periods

Subject Matter: Social Studies, English/Language Arts, Religion

Learning Objectives:
Students will be able to:
  • Communicate the context and cultural significance of Ramadan;
  • Demonstrate the reason behind the timing and duration of Ramadan;
  • Describe the origin of fasting and rituals associated with Ramadan.


    Standard 11
      11. Understands the role of diversity in American life and the importance of shared values, political beliefs, and civic beliefs in an increasingly diverse American society.

    Benchmark Level III (Grades 6-8)
      1. Knows a variety of forms of diversity in American society (e.g., regional, linguistic, socioeconomic).

      2. Knows how diversity encourages cultural creativity

U.S. History
    Standard 31
      31. Understands economic, social, and cultural developments in the contemporary United States.

    Benchmark Level III (Grades 6-8)
      3. Understands the growth of religious issues in contemporary society (e.g., the growth of the Christian evangelical movement and its use of modern telecommunications, issues regarding the guarantee of no establishment of religion and the free exercise clauses of the First Amendment, the significance of religious groups in local communities and their approaches to social issues).

      5. Understands how different groups attempted to achieve their goals (e.g., the grievances of racial and ethnic minorities and their reference to the nation's charter documents to rectify past injustices, local community efforts to adapt facilities for the disabled).

Language Arts
    Viewing Standard 9
      9. Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media.

    Benchmark Level III (Grades 6-8)
      1. Understands a variety of messages conveyed by visual media (e.g., main concept, details, themes or lessons, viewpoints).

    Reading Standard 7
      7. Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts.

    Benchmark Level III (Grades 6-8)
      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
      4. Gathers and uses information for research purposes.

    Benchmark Level III (Grades 6-8)
      5. Organizes information and ideas from multiple sources in systematic ways (e.g., time lines, outlines, notes, graphic representations).

Behavioral Studies
    Standard 2
      2. Understands various meanings of social group, general implications of group membership, and different ways that groups function.

    Benchmark III (Grades 6-8)
      8. Understands that a large society may be made up of many groups, and these groups may contain many distinctly different subcultures (e.g., associated with region, ethnic origin, social class, interests, values).
Media Components

Eid al-Fitr

Islamic Celebrations

Ramadan Observance
Ramadan Moon
Web sites:
    Council on Islamic Education
    The Council on Islamic Education (CIE) Web site provides rich resources for educators. There is general information about Islam as well as ideas for activities and focus questions for classroom use.

    Moonsighting is the Web site seen in the background in the segment "Ramadan Moon." On this site, viewers can research the visibility of the moon to help determine when the new moon will be visible signifying the start of Islamic months.


For the teacher:
  • Chart Paper
  • Markers

For each learning station: For each student: Prep for Teachers

Prior to teaching the lesson, review all of the Web sites and 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 clips.

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

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