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
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.
Islamic Geometry ( Geometric Art) Questions
Islamic Algebra Questions
How might "the science of balancing and restoration" be important to the
Islamic Medicine Questions
Islamic Astronomy Questions
THE WRITTEN REPORT
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.
Body Paragraph (B)
See Above for instructions.
Background- All groups
Golden Age of Islam
How Islam Influenced Science
Classical Roots of the Scientific Revolution
The Origins of Algebra
List of Arabic Mathematicians
Highlights in the History of Algebra
Arab contributions to mathematics and the introduction of the Zero
Symmetric Patterns at the Alhambra
Dome of the Rock
Islam and Islamic History in Arabia - Mosque
Islam, Knowledge, and Science
History of Geometry
Islam, Knowledge, and Science
Muslim, Scientists, Mathematicians and Astronomers
Arabic (or Islamic) Influence on the Historical Development of Medicine
Arab Roots of European Medicine
Islam, Knowledge, and Science - Medical Sciences
Islam and Islamic History in Arabia and The Middle East
Medicine in Medieval Islam
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.
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
1. What helped you find the answers to the questions?
2. What section of the written report was most difficult?
3. How did the outline assist your group in organizing the
4. Who showed the most leadership in your group?
5. What was the most valuable contribution you made to this assignment?
6. How could your presentation or paper have been improved?
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
1. Creates and organizes an effective research team
2. Interprets history-social science data
3. Reads and creates a logical interpretation of data derived from many
different kinds of sources
4. Creates a logical presentation in writing or speaking supported with
Adaptation for Special Needs
1. If students are grouped according to interests and abilities they will be
able to assist one another.
2. For LEP students, it will be necessary to prepare strategies for access
to some of the vocabulary that may be difficult as they work through the
3. A thorough understanding about the foundations of Islamic belief will be
beneficial for this assignment.
4. Assign pair or group work as may be necessary for the entire class, and allow as much group investigation as possible for LEP or special needs students.