Learning About the
Religions of the World
7th Grade Language Arts and Social
Studies Interdisciplinary Unit
Erwin Middle School
Integrated Unit Designed by
Cammy Jacobelly, Jeanne McGlinn, Kelly Hansen, Jim McGlinn
Religions of the World
Confucianism Islam Buddhism
Distribution of World Religions
Students will investigate and assess the
major religions and ethical systems of Africa
Integrated teaching of language arts and
social studies meets NC Standard Course of
Study guidelines for both disciplines
Students will demonstrate critical thinking,
inquiry skills, and using language to respond
to personal, social and cultural issues.
Adolescent Novels about World
Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind (Pakistan) by Suzanne Fisher Staples
Homeless Bird (India) by Gloria Whelan
Waiting for the Rain (South Africa) by Sheila Gordon
The Storyteller's Beads (Ethiopia) by Jane Kurtz
Ties that Bind, Ties that Break (China) by Lensey Namioka
Breadwinner (Afghanistan) by Deborah Ellis
Fiction brings history to life,
presents information in a more
stimulates children’s imagination.
Why Trade Books in the Social
Increases student participation,
Draws on students’ wider experience with
Contributes to each student’s literacy
Creates a response,
Represents the best in current research.
Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind
Suzanne Fisher Staples
Set among the Cholistanis
people, a nomadic tribe in
modern Pakistan, this is a
coming of age story.
Shabanu, who is strong
willed, must bend her will
to her father’s command
that she marry an older
man to settle a feud that
threatens the family.
Koly, married and
widowed at 13, is cast
adrift in a society
which has no place for
her. Through courage
and hard work to
develop her skill in
manages to crave out
a life and a measure of
Waiting for the Rain
In this novel about life
in South Africa,
Tengo’s dreams of
getting an education
are frustrated by a
school boycott, and he
is drawn into the fight
The Storyteller’s Beads
Two young girls, a
Christian orphan and a
blind Jewish girl, are
forced to flee from
Ethiopia in the 1980’s.
The girls overcome
becoming friends and
helping each other.
Ties that Bind, Ties that Break
In 1911 China, Ailin is
supposed to have her
feet bound to make her
suitable for marriage.
Ailin refuses and the
family of her intended
breaks the marriage
contract. Ailin has to
find a way to make her
When the Taliban
takes away her father,
Parvana realizes she
must disguise herself
as a boy and become
the breadwinner for the
Developing Background Knowledge
Reading Comprehension improves when readers
have background knowledge to connect to the
Teachers can build background knowledge
through pre reading strategies, such as K-W-L,
brainstorming, and research activities.
This year-long integrated unit which introduces
students to the cultures of Africa and Asia begins
with a Web-based research project on the
religions of these regions.
A WebQuest is an inquiry-based learning project in which students
work together to solve a problem or complete a task assigned by the
Generally the more authentic the problem and the more collaborative
the process for student inquiry the better.
Students mainly use resources on the internet in conducting research
but they can also use other appropriate resources such as library-
based journal articles and reference works.
Most of the internet-based and other resources are listed for students
to use in order to limit searching time and to help students focus their
WebQuests often result in student-developed products which are
usually presented to other students as well as the teacher.
The teacher uses a rubric to evaluate the student process in
conducting the research and in developing the product as well to
evaluate the quality of the product.
Parts of a WebQuest
The purpose of this section is to both prepare and hook
the reader. The student is the intended audience.
Write a short paragraph here to introduce the activity or
lesson to the students. If there is a role or scenario
involved (e.g., "You are a detective trying to identify the
mysterious poet.") then here is where you'll set the stage.
Communicate the question or problem that the whole
WebQuest is centered around.
• The task focuses learners on what they
are going to do - specifically, the
culminating performance or product that
drives all of the learning activities.
• Describe crisply and clearly what the end
result of the learners' activities will be.
•This section outlines how the learners will
accomplish the task. Scaffolding includes
clear steps, resources, and tools for
•Describe the steps that learners should
follow. Learners will use the on-line
resources that you've identified as they go
through the Process. Also provide some
guidance on how to organize the information
• This section describes the evaluation criteria
needed to meet performance and content
• Describe to the learners how their
performance will be evaluated. The
assessment rubric should align with the
culminating project or performance, as
outlined in the task section of the WebQuest.
Specify whether there will be a common
grade for group work vs. individual grades.
• The conclusion brings closure and
• Summarize what the learners will have
accomplished or learned by completing this
activity or lesson. You might also include
some rhetorical questions or additional links
to encourage them to extend their thinking
into other content beyond this lesson.
Adapted from: Building Blocks of a
Benefits of WebQuests
Intrinsic Motivation--Students are intrinsically
motivated when they do an assignment because it
is personally interesting, fulfilling, or enjoyable.
Intrinsic motivation results from student
perceptions of competence, personal control, and
B.L. McCombs (2002). Understanding the keys to
motivation to learn. Aurora, Colorado: Mid-
continent Research for Education and Learning.
Learner-centered teaching includes a
constructivist approach to education in
which learners focus on personally relevant
topics and construct their own meaning as
they experience, study, reflect on, and
discuss these topics.