This assignment is to used to enhance an understanding of Afghanistan, its culture, its history, and its people. I use it during my The Kite Runner unit, though, it would be appropriate for any novel or unit associated with Afghanistan. What makes this assignment so useful in my classroom is that for most students, even when reading the novel, they lack a robust understanding of Afghanistan and the region, and this assignment fundamentally changes that. At most, they have seen news reports which often cast Afghanistan as a simple war zone, full of poor people, but this assignment increases their understanding of the country and its people.
Students select their preferred topic from a list of fifteen distinct topics. (All topics are specific, yet allow students to use self-inquiry to tailor the topic to meet their interest.) Students are then paired and work together to prepare an oral presentation to deliver in front of the class. These presentations are delivered to the class, not at all once, but staggered throughout the unit to deepen everyone's understanding of Afghanistan as the class progresses through the reading of the novel.
This product is provided both in PDF and Word format, the latter enables you to make any alternations you see fit without having to retype the assignment.
I provide this assignment about 1.5 weeks prior to the novel study, allowing students at least 2 weeks to prepare their presentation. This assignment takes about 45 minutes to delivery, and I usually provide students with two class periods to work in the library or in the classroom. The rest must be completed outside of class time, but that, of course, is entirely up to you.
I hope you find it as useful an activity as I do. I have found that students' understanding (and therefore enjoyment) of the novel increases once they begin to more fully become aware of the social context present in the novel, by researching in depth an aspect of Afghani life.