The Middle East is home to some of the greatest conflicts of our time period, and although most high-school students profess an interest in world peace, they have shockingly little knowledge of Middle Eastern religions, geography, cultures, and history. By focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a case study, this project aims to familiarize students with the main causes of conflict in the Middle East, namely struggles for land, religious intolerance, and terrorism. Through the project, students research all areas of life in Israel and Palestine, discovering the region's varied history, religious traditions, and cultural practices. The research assignments and project culminate in a peace summit, in which each student takes on a role and presents his or her own proposal for peace in the region. Through this peace summit, students discover the challenges and possibilities of creating peace, an important skill in our twenty-first century world.
This project can be used in a variety of settings and for a variety of purposes. The following documents contain twenty-two online lessons and five major projects, which can be spread through out the year with one project per quarter and the fifth project as a final exam grade. I developed this project for use in a ninth-grade history class as a way to differentiate instruction for my students with stronger writing and research skills; those students accomplished all of these assignments independently while simultaneously completing the same coursework as their peers. They received honors credit for the course for completing the project. Although it was designed as a differentiated option, it could easily be adapted for whole class instruction or, alternatively for one or two students needing a special challenge.