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



Some Muslim women in the United States often see a conflict between the beliefs and practices of their religion and the norms and standards of modern society. There are some Muslims (both women and men) in America who are pushing for change, and there are others who believe that established practices and beliefs should be upheld. Through the materials presented in this lesson, students will explore basic beliefs and practices of Islam, examine Muslim women's roles in Islam and modern American society, and compare women's rights in Islam with the history of women's rights in the United States.

Time Allotment: Four 45-minute class periods

Subject Matter: Social Studies, Religion

Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the basic beliefs and practices of Islam;
  • Recognize that the experience of Muslim women in any country is shaped by that country's culture;
  • Compare and contrast the rights and protections Islam has provided for women with the history of women's rights in the United States.


Behavioral Studies
    Standard 1, Level III, Benchmark 1
      1. Understands that each culture has distinctive patterns of behavior that are usually practiced by most of the people who grow up in it.

    Standard 2, Level II, Benchmark 3
      3. Understands that different groups have different expectations for how their members should act.
Language Arts
    Standard 7, Level II, Benchmarks 1, 5-6
      1. Uses reading skills and strategies to understand a variety of informational texts (e.g., textbooks, biographical sketches, letters, diaries, directions, procedures, magazines).

      5. Summarizes and paraphrases information in texts (e.g., includes the main idea and significant supporting details of a reading selection).

      6. Uses prior knowledge and experience to understand and respond to new information.
    Standard 7, Level III, Benchmarks 1, 6
      1. Gathers data for research topics from interviews (e.g., prepares and asks relevant questions, makes notes of responses, compiles responses).

      6. Organizes information and ideas from multiple sources in systematic ways (e.g., time lines, outlines, notes, graphic representations).
Listening and Speaking
    Standard 8, Level II, Benchmarks 1-4, 11, 12
      1. Contributes to group discussions.

      2. Asks questions in class (e.g., when he or she is confused, to seek others' opinions and comments).

      3. Responds to questions and comments (e.g., gives reasons in support of opinions, responds to others' ideas).

      4. Listens to classmates and adults (e.g., does not interrupt, faces the speaker, asks questions, summarizes or paraphrases to confirm understanding, gives feedback, eliminates barriers to effective listening).

      11. Listens for specific information in spoken texts (e.g., plot details or information about a character in a short story read aloud, information about a familiar topic from a radio broadcast).

      12. Understands the main ideas and supporting details in spoken texts (e.g., presentations by peers or quest speakers, a current affairs report on the radio).
Media Components


American Muslim Women
Web Sites:

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)
For each student: 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.