** With ISIS currently being driven out of Mosul and the rest of Iraq and Syria in general, this is an important topic that our students need to be aware of. It is important that they learn to take a critical perspective while still establishing a sense of their own personal values. For example, students might finish this investigation with a more empathetic outlook towards a specific group in the Middle East, yet at the same time decide that killing innocents is never an acceptable option. Instead, they might propose another foreign policy measure to address concerns, etc. It truly is a powerful project! **
The authentic and relevant project-based learning takes the form of an inquiry that challenges learners to conduct an investigation into the frustrations of modern day extremist groups located in the Middle East. A very meaningful topic indeed with the recent headlines that have been dominated by ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc...
The investigation first places students at the end of World War 1, where they examine the scope, purpose, and impact of the Balfour Declaration and the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Both had lasting impacts on the region we know today as the Middle East - during WW1 it was the Ottoman Empire. Links/formatting directions are provided/embedded.
Next, students/groups choose one of six extremist/terrorist groups and examine a number of factors that are required. Categories, links, and format provided once again!
Finally, students attempt to establish connections between their selected extremist/terrorist group and the Post-World War I mandates carried out by Britain and France.
Students put it all together to answer the DRIVING QUESTION: Who is to blame for modern terrorist groups that originate in the Middle East?
Set up in tried and true PBL format, graphic organizers included as well as research framework. This took a very long time to develop as I wanted to frame their inquiry (scaffold) in a manner that gave learners the power and responsibility to conduct their own research. I played the role of facilitator throughout this unit of study. All in all, my students loved the project.