Activities for the Classroom

The University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Museum, a leading institution for study of archaeology and ancient history, has a number of activities for the world history classroom that are very attractive and fun, with downloadable booklets and online activties:

  • Travel Log: A Mediterranean Journey introduces students to Classical History- the history of the ancient Greeks, Etruscans and Romans- and the artifacts in the collection. Games, puzzles, and opportunities to sketch highlight specific historic themes and make learning fun!
  • Travel Log: An Ancient Egyptian Journey introduces students to Ancient Egyptian history and the artifacts in the collection. Games, puzzles, and opportunities to sketch highlight specific historic themes and make learning fun!

Non-Fiction Trade Books


Arabic calligraphy "bismillah" in the shape of a bird, embroidered on cloth

David MacCaulay. Mosque. New York: Houghton Mifflin Books, Inc., 2003. (See also for comparison of sacred and secular architecture, by the same author/architect, Cathedral, Castle, City, Pyramid, and others.)

What Do We Know About Christianity; What Do We Know About Judaism; What Do We Know About Islam; What Do We Know About Hinduism; What Do We Know About Buddhism; and other titles on historical periods and cultures. New York: Peter Bedrick Books, various copyrights and authors.

Free online resources at AMIDEAST, including introductory articles on Islam, Arabic language, and contemporary affairs are found as pdf files at The searchable AMIDEAST catalogue features many stories, non-fiction books and teaching resource binder products, in addition to realia, decorative items, and posters.


Saudi Aramco World Magazine is a rich and historically reliable resource on a wide variety of topics concerning history, culture, technology, the arts and sciences, and wonderful images. Not to be missed are the “classic” special issues on topics such as Islam and Science, the Age of Discovery and the Middle East, Al-Andalus, the Indian Ocean, and others. The full articles are now available online, in addition to an extensive photoarchive  for educators and others. A recently added feature of the magazine is a teacher’s guide to articles in the current issue.

Classroom magazines from Cobblestone Publishing Company ( include numerous issues related to Muslim populations and geography around the world, Islam, Muslim history and world history.

  • Younger children will benefit from Appleseeds and Faces, including for the former “Islam Today,” and “Arab Americans,” and for the latter iisues on Mali, Jordan, Morocco, and many other people and places.
  • Among the most useful for upper elementary and middle school is Calliope: Exploring World History, issues on “Islam,” “Ibn Battuta,” “Al-Ma’mun,” “The World of the Ottoman Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent,” “The Crusades,” “The Qur’an,” and most recently, “Arabic Lights,” and “A World of Faiths” (on all the major world religions). Other titles are also of interest.

Poetry, Stories, and Literature

See this site’s bibliography tab for an extensive list of books for students assembled by well-known children’s author Rukhsana Khan.

Amideast’s Title List contains many ideas for literature activities for various age groups from ancient history to the present.

Sarah Conover and Freda Crane, (eds.). Ayat Jamilah: Beautiful Signs: A Treasury of Islamic Wisdom for Children and Parents. Spokane, WA: Eastern Washington University Press, 2004.

Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland ( illustrated by Mary GrandPré). The House of Wisdom. New York: DK Publishing, Inc., 1999.

Art activities

Dover Publications is a heritage publisher specializing in facsimile editions of early lithographic books, inexpensive literature, art and craft books, antique mail-order catalogs, and historical design and art books in very inexpensive editions. They are an invaluable resource for the  teacher who wants to integrate  art into the social studies classroom.  The Dover Design Library is only one part of a marvelous art-historical resource for teachers that includes a world-wide collection of cultural designs from architecture, textiles, ceramics, and jewelry. Another important note is that many of the designs and images are copyright free.  Another great resource for the classroom is the Dover collection of coloring books, including accurately drawn historical coloring books that help students focus on details of long-ago scenes, clothing, houses,  and everyday life, as well as designs and arts from many cultures and periods. There are also coloring books for cross-curricular activities involving science and geography in the series.

Other activities

Playing History is a website where teachers can find and evaluate free historical games, interactives and simulations for the classroom. Playing history aggregates info on these resources in a simple, searchable database making it easy to find, rate, and review historical games. There are currently over a hundred shared games organized for easy searching by tags, keywords and other criteria.