Sunni & Shiite Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson contextualizes the conflicts in the Middle East, teaches students about the religious divide between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, and addresses the geographical divide in the Middle East.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Describe the cause of the division between the Sunnis and Shiites
  • Compare and contrast the Sunni and Shiite origins and beliefs
  • Identify the geographic locations inhabited by Sunni and Shiite Muslims


This lesson will take 90-120 minutes. The optional extension activity can take up to an additional 60 minutes.

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.


Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.


Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.

Materials Needed

  • Sunni and Shiite Muslim Distribution Map
  • Video clip from the movie 'The Kite Runner'
  • 10 current event news articles about conflicts between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in the Middle East


Divide the room into three stations and put your students into three groups. Have students rotate through the groups in 20 minute intervals.

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