Middle East Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Can your students identify the countries that make up the Middle East? A video lesson will establish a basic understanding, a quiz will insure comprehension, and a mapping activity will demonstrate mastery of the information. Related lessons and extensions help encourage ongoing study.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • outline key events in history regarding the Middle East
  • identify and name Middle Eastern countries


50-60 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Identify key steps in a text's description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).


Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.

Key Vocabulary

  • Egypt
  • Suez Canal
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Indian Ocean
  • Turkey
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Syria
  • Palestine
  • Jordan


  • World globe
  • Photocopies of a blank map of the Middle East
  • Colored pencils
  • A large map of the Middle East with country names missing or covered up. If none is available, a projection of such a map onto the board
  • Index cards with Middle Eastern countries' names written on them, two sets
  • Tape


  • Begin by asking the students what they know about the Middle East, writing their ideas on the board.
  • Pass out the photocopied blank maps, one per student.
  • Play the video lesson The Middle East: Nationalism, Modernization & Conflict (1836-2014), pausing at 1:40.
  • Show the class Egypt on the globe and have them find it on their blank maps, writing Egypt in the appropriate location on the map with the colored pencils.
  • Play the video lesson again and pause at 2:19.
  • Identify the Mediterranean Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the location of the Suez Canal on the globe for the class. Have the students identify and name these areas on their blank maps.
  • Play the video lesson again, pausing this time at 3:38.
  • Show the class Turkey and Iran on the globe and have them fill them in on their maps.
  • Play the video lesson again. Pause it at 6:00.
  • Locate Iraq, Syria, Palestine, and Jordan on the globe for the class and have them label them on their maps.
  • Play the rest of the video lesson for the class now.
  • When the video lesson is complete, complete the quiz as a class before moving on.

Discussion Questions

  • Can we point to early sources of tension between the West and the Middle East that still ring true today?
  • How did the construction of the Suez Canal change the Middle East?

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