Although it is unlikely that we will ever know if the Muslims played a role in the development of the telescope, there are several well documented artistic and scientific accomplishments that were either discovered or perfected during The Golden Age of Islam (800-1000 ). During this time, Islamic scholars translated Greek, Indian and Persian texts, studied them, and helped to further investigations in the areas of math, science and medicine. The Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution in Europe drew upon the discoveries and contributions made by the Muslims to the fields of mathematics and the sciences. Yet these accomplishments often remain unappreciated.


To all the Writing Staff of Scientific History Magazine:

The editors at Scientific History Magazine are delighted that Time magazine has chosen Albert Einstein as Person of the twentieth century. We feel that often history overlooks the importance of scientists and mathematicians in changing the direction of civilization. Scientific History would like to run a feature on all the people who have contributed to the fields of science and mathematics for the last 1000 years. To begin this project, the editors want the staff to begin researching the contributions made by the Muslims during the Golden Age of Islam (900-1100). They feel the best approach would be to break into teams that investigate the various fields, and then submit papers about the people and contributions of the Islamic World during this time. The editors will then ask the writers to present their findings in order to chose who they might feature as the Person of the Century for these years in Scientific History. Editors of Scientific History Magazine


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Your team is responsible for researching the various scientific accomplishments made during the Golden Age of the Islam. You will select one of the fields of study: Geometry, Algebra, Medicine or Astronomy. You will research that field of study using individualized questionnaires that will guide your data collection process. That information will then be used to compose a written report. After you have written a report you will work with a group of others who have investigated the same contribution and prepare a presentation. For this presentation you may utilize a variety of multimedia tools. This could include a Power Point presentation, a Web Page, a Hyper Studio presentation or a video re- creation.

Individual questionnaires for each topic.

  1. Begin by reading all the questions. You will find that the information
    is located in several places, so you will need to keep them in mind while
    either visiting the Web sites or reading over printed material.

  2. Record any interesting information even if it doesn't fit into one of
    the questions.

  3. Fill the answers out in your own words so that you can use it either for
    the written report or the presentation.

Islamic Geometry ( Geometric Art) Questions

  1. Why is geometry important to the religion of Islam?

  2. When did the Muslims perfect geometry and geometric art?

  3. Has geometric art left on impact on the world today?

  4. What is the repeat unit of design?

  5. In what specific buildings would you be sure to find examples of
    geometric art?

  6. What feature of a mosque would be decorated with geometric designs?

  7. Describe the geometry used to design the Taj Mahal.

  8. Why is geometry important to our world today?

  9. What Muslim excelled in the area of geometry?

Islamic Algebra Questions

How might "the science of balancing and restoration" be important to the
Islamic faith?

  1. When did the Muslims advance the world's knowledge of algebra?

  2. What is one of the most basic concepts of algebra that was developed by
    the Arabs?

  3. What basic concepts of algebra were developed by the Muslims?

  4. What Muslim was famous for his work in advancing algebra? What did he

  5. Who benefitted from al- Khwarizmi's translation of Algebra in the early
    13th century?

  6. What famous Italian mathematician was influenced by al-Khwarizmi's work
    in algebra?

  7. What other contribution did the Muslims make to the field of

  8. How is algebra used today?

Islamic Medicine Questions

  1. What is the connection of medicine to the Islamic religion? (Hint:
    remember The Third Pillar of Faith) .

  2. How did Al-Razi contribute to the field of medicine?

  3. What book was Ibn Sina famous for writing?

  4. When did the improvements in medicine take place?

  5. What were some of the specific improvements the Muslims made to

  6. What were some of the other benefits made to medicine by the Muslims?

  7. Who was a famous Muslim "doctor"? What did he do?

  8. Why are these improvements important to us today?

Islamic Astronomy Questions

  1. What is the connection between the religion of Islam and the changing
    phases of the moon?

  2. When were the major advances in astronomy made by the Muslims?

  3. What is an astrolabe?

  4. What did Muslim astronomers think about the Ptolemic system of
    astronomy ?

  5. What famous Western astronomers built upon Muslim observations and
    theories about the system of the universe?

  6. Why are the contributions important to our present day understanding of

  7. Who benefitted from the astronomical research done by the Muslims?

  8. Who was one of the most notable Muslims astronomers? What did he

  9. Why is astronomy important to our world today?


Islamic Contributions to Civilization

Outline of paper: Please note that you do not write "introduction", "body
paragraphs" or "conclusion" in your actual paper. The outline is to help
you organize these thoughts!

Remember that your introduction should clearly show what your report is
about. It should not begin with a sentence such as: My report is about
astronomy. It should let the reader know the main ideas to be covered in
the report without going into all the details.

  1. Begin by introducing the significance of this Arab
  2. Be sure to establish when this contribution took place
    Identify how this topic is connected to the Islamic religion

    Body Paragraph (A)
    Body paragraphs should focus in on one main idea. Begin with a topic
    sentence and then provide details to support or give examples of this main
    idea. Your body paragraphs provide evidence from the research of what this
    topic or scientific accomplishment was, when it happened, who was involved
    or how it is important. We must know the facts from the past to explore how
    they fit into our world today.
  1. Introduce this paragraph with a topic sentence (ONE

  2. Facts that support the topic sentence

  3. Facts that support the topic sentence

  4. Facts that support the topic sentence

Body Paragraph (B)
See Above for instructions.

  1. Introduce this paragraph with a topic sentence (ONE

  2. Facts that support the topic sentence

  3. Facts that support the topic sentence

  4. Facts that support the topic sentence

    Body Paragraph (C)

    In this paragraph you will use information from today's world to explain why
    this topic or science is important. You will use research and interview
    notes to describe the importance of this topic or science to today's world.
    1. Introduce this paragraph with a topic sentence (ONE
    2. Facts that support the topic sentence
    3. Facts that support the topic sentence
    4. Facts that support the topic sentence

    Although conclusions are among the most difficult things that you'll ever
    write, they are your last chance to grab the reader. Do you ever save your
    favorite food for the last bite? Well, the conclusion is the tastiest last
    bite of your favorite food. Be sure to let your brilliance show when you
    summarize all the main ideas from the previous paragraphs. The conclusion
    should now be shaped by all the main ideas, and hopefully will lead the
    reader into a deeper understanding of the overall topic.

    1. Summarize main ideas
    2. Summarize main ideas
    3. Restate the long- lasting effects of Arab
    contributions to this topic
    or science
    4. Restate the importance of this topic or science to
    our present day


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Across the Centuries. Houghton Miflin textbook for seventh grade.

Cambridge Illustrated History: Islamic World. 1966. Cambridge University

The Arab World Studies Notebook. Arab World and Islamic Resources and School


It is your responsibility to research the topic thoroughly. You will need to collect the sources from a variety of places. Be sure you understand the definition of your topic. You may want to try to chose a topic in which you may be able to access an individual who is a professional in that area. That may include an architect, a math teacher, a college professor of astronomy, or a doctor.


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Your paper will be assessed with the a standard writing rubric, taking into account the writing guidelines of the outline. Your group presentation will be evaluated on its effectiveness, accuracy, creativity and clarity.


Why has the Western world ignored the contributions of Islam to the various scientific, mathematic and artistic fields? Which of the accomplishments do you think is most important to our world today and why?


The reflection questions will depend on how the teacher chooses to structure
the lesson. Since this lesson can be structured in different ways, teachers
can elicit responses they deem suitable. The questions below may be


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This lesson should be taught at the end of the Islamic Unit. If you teach both Language Arts and Social Science or team up with a Language Arts teacher then you will want to utilize the directions for the research paper. I would recommend the students use the writing process and write a total of three drafts. If time does not allow for this, then you can still use the outline as a guide for organizing the presentation no matter what format is chosen. It is important to assist the students as they view the various sites. The answers to all the questions will only be found by visiting several Web sites. If you have a limited number of computers connected to the Internet, you may find it helpful to access some of the sites and make copies of others for the various groups. This will allow all students to be engaged while waiting for a computer.

It is helpful to go the library and check out books that will give students more background on how these topics relates to our modern day society. It may be helpful to introduce these topics before undertaking the lesson.


The Islamic Civilization

Materials Needed

Internet access to various web sites. Either encyclopedias or CD-ROMs.

Length of Lesson

The lesson could take one to weeks depending upon the amount of written drafts required and the type of presentation chosen.

Group Assignments
Teachers may use any grouping they normally employ for the initial task of exploration in the various accomplishments. They then may ask students to pick their top two topic choices to write the report so they can balance out the groups.

Lesson Purpose

This lesson will help to provide an understanding of the accomplishments of the Muslims in furthering knowledge, and developing innovations and discoveries in the areas of geometry, algebra, medicine and astronomy. Students will also explore how these topics are a vital part of modern society.

California History-Social Science Standards- 7th Grade
Understanding the Muslims in terms of the intellectual contributions to later civilizations in the areas of science, geography, mathematics, philosophy, medicine, art and literature.

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California Language Arts Standards- 7th Grade

Students write clear, coherent, and focused essays. The writing exhibits
students' awareness of the audience and purpose. Essays contain formal
introductions, supporting evidence, and conclusions. Students progress
through the stages of the writing process as needed.

California Language Arts Standards- 7th Grade

Students deliver well-organized formal presentations employing traditional rhetorical strategies (eg., narrations, exposition, persuasion, description).

Class Presentations

Aside from traditional posters or illustrations, students may want to complete their presentations in either by utilizing Power Point or creating a Web Page. This will vary with the resources of the school, class and students.

Interdisciplinary Connections

There is an obvious connection to language arts. However, it would be advantageous to bring in math or science teachers to assist with the understanding of the science and mathematics. Additionally, the connection to art in the study of Islamic geometric art forms should be explored.

Information Literary Skills

Adaptation for Special Needs

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