KQ3: What can we learn about early Islamic civilization from the way they set up the capital at Baghdad?

Pupils are first asked to design a picture showing what Baghdad would have looked like 1,000 years ago. It is best if they draw it as an aerial view- a birds-eye view. All they have to work on are some notes left by visitors to Baghdad in AD 1100. Each memory is written on a separate piece of paper -10 in all- and hidden round the classroom. Working in teams of four, pupils have to locate each note, memorise the brief contents, and then work collaboratively to create their image of what Baghdad would have looked – all to the tune of Scheherazade. In the second activity pupils have to provide a guide to merchants wishing to travel to the fabulously wealthy city of Baghdad during its heyday using a range of information provided.

Activity 1: Picture This – Designing Baghdad of 1,000 years ago

Learning objectives

  • Pupils understand that Baghdad was built by the Abbasid caliph Al-Mansur as a round city in AD762 .
  • Pupils are able to incorporate a variety of written clues into visual format.
  • They are able to creatively construct an image of what Baghdad would have looked like as a team working collaboratively.
  • Pupils understand

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