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Unit 6 Planning Guide 3 Weeks

Author: Anonymous

Learning Standards:

Unit 6 At-A-Glance


Unit Concepts

Physical Geography, Landforms, Bodies of Water, Agriculture, Human-Environment Interaction: Resource Management, Desertification, Religion, Fundamentalism, Gender Issues, Major Conflicts & Political Movements

Region: Southwest Asia & North Africa  3 Weeks



Reporting Category

Readiness Standards

Supporting Standards

1. History


4B, 6A

2. Geography & Culture

8B, 16C, 17B, 17C  & 18C


3. Government & Citizenship



4. Economics, Science, Technology and Society

12A, 19C


Social Studies Skills


Other Category



See Eduphoria for complete list of ELPS (English Language Proficiency Standards) and CCRS (College and Career Readiness Standards)



Universal Generalizations

Guiding Questions


Student Expectations



Model Lessons

Concepts: Physical Geography, Landforms, Bodies of Water, Agriculture

Landforms and climate influence the way people live.

  • Which landforms can both unite and divide a region?

  • Why is fertile soil and favorable climate important to the development of sedentary agriculture?

  • How did climate and lack of precipitation contributed to the formation of different types of deserts?

  • Why is population density greater near major waterways?

  • Why are waterways preferred to overland routes for the movement of goods and people in harsh, arid climates?

  • What technology was used to overcome geographic obstacles to trade and agriculture?


4(B) describe different landforms and...

8(B)describe the interaction between humans and the physical environment and analyze the consequences of extreme weather...

6(A) Locate and describe human and physical features that influence the size and distribution of settlements.

22(A) design and draw appropriate graphics such as maps, diagrams, tables, and graphs to communicate geographic features, distributions, and relationships;


Anatolian Peninsula

Sinai Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula


Atlas Mountains

Zagros Mountains


Sahara Desert -sandy

Rub al-Khali--sandy
Dasht-e Kavir & Dasht-e Lut-salt flat deserts

Agricultural Region

Fertile Crescent

Nile Delta

Bodies of Water

Dead Sea
Persian Gulf

Bosporus and Dardanelles
Straits of Hormuz
Lake Nasser

Major Rivers

Tigris-Euphrates Rivers

Nile River

Human Environment Interaction

Suez Canal

Aswan High Dam

McDougal Littell Textbook

p 487-489 Landforms Divide the Region

p 491-493 Climate and Vegetation(Ch 21, Sec. 2)
p495 Dams & Irrigation Systems
p 415 Basins and Rivers
p 420-421 The Deserts
p 424-425 Desertification of the Sahel

p426-427 Controlling the Nile

Internet Resources

Maps 101

#697 “High Dam, Low Water” 10/10/03

#642 “The Dead Seas Dying” 9/20/02
#789 “The Euphrates:  International River Managements” 7/15/05

Egypt: Gift of the Nile


Southwest Asia and North Africa:

Fertile Crescent:

Straits, Passages, and Canals:

Discovery Education

Nile River:






Salt Flat


Concepts: Human-Environment Interaction: Resource Management, Desertification

The abundance or scarcity of natural resources affects the lifestyle and the economy of a country.

  • How has the distribution of natural resources affect patterns of settlement and migration?  

  • Why is water critical to survival and economic development?

  • How have agricultural innovations allowed for the growth and expansion of cities along major water routes?

  • What impact has technology had on gaining access to oil and water in arid regions?

  • How can the desire for scarce resources cause conflict between countries?

  • How do people and climate contribute to desertification?

12(A) analyze how the..., distribution, and management of key natural resources affects the location and patterns of movements of products, money, and people.

12(B) evaluate the geographic and economic impact of policies related to the development, use, and scarcity of natural resources, such as regulations of water.

19(B) analyze ways technological innovations such as ...desalinization have allowed humans to adapt to places.

19(C) examine the environmental, economic, and social impacts of advances of technology on agriculture and natural resources.

14(C) analyze the human and physical factors that influence the power to control...resources...and impact international political relations of sovereign nations...such as organized nation groups.


Key & Scarce Resources

Oil: Petroleum is the principal resource for this region. Unevenly distributed throughout the world. 71% of the world’s reserves are located in 7 countries. Iran and Arab States control two-thirds of the world’s total oil reserves.
Water: Water is a key resource due to its scarcity. Southwest Asia and North Africa is home to 6.3% of world’s population and contains only 1.4% of available fresh water supplies. North Africa and Southwest Asia are areas marked by extreme moisture deficit.
Regional Water Sufficiency: is a function of the size of population using the resource, pattern of water use, quantity and quality of water supply, and its use and return to the hydrologic system. These are circumstances under human, not natural control.
Desertification: is particularly extensive in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and the Sahel.
Climate variation and human abuse of the land  have a major influence on dry land ecology and the shifting  margins of the desert.

Water Projects

Aswan High Dam: built across the Nile in 1970 to control yearly flooding.
Suez Canal: built in 1869 as water route linking Europe to Asia without navigating around Cape of Good Hope.
desalinization: expensive option for  access to fresh water. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Israel have desalinization plants.  

Conflicts over Resources

1941: British and Russian clash over control of oil fields in Iran
1980 & 1990: Iran and Iraq fight over control of oil fields
1990-91: Persian Gulf War,   Iraq and Kuwait, subsequently U.S. led United Nations invasion of Iraq.

Euphrates River: Both Turkey and Syria have built dams on the river reducing the flow of water to Iraq.
Nile River: Egypt’s dependence on the Nile waters has led to conflict with countries who plan to divert or limit the flow of water upriver.
Yemen: Arabian peninsula country is rapidly exhausting underground aquifers due to growing population and extensive irrigation projects.
Jordan River: important resource and source of conflict between Israel, Syria, Jordan Lebanon and the Palestinians.

National Water Carrier Project:  a source of conflict because water normally available to the region is diverted and restricted to one country.
OPEC: Organization of Petroleum Exporting countries include:  Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Algeria, UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait. OPEC members control almost 80% of world’s crude oil reserves.

Irrigation Techniques

Drip Irrigation: this is a practice of using small pipes that slowly drip water just above the ground to conserve water for crops.
Irrigation canal: diversion of water into carefully maintained canals for agricultural use.
Center Pivot Irrigation: equipment rotates around a pivot. A circular area centered on the pivot is irrigated, often creating a circular pattern in crops when viewed from above

Internet Resources

Maps 101

Geography In the News(GITN)

#490 “Holy Land Thirst” 10/22/99

#530 “Israel’s Dirty Water” 7/28/00

#697 “High Dam, Low Water” 10/10/03

#449 “Fueling an Oil Crisis” 9/15/98

#606 “Oil & Turmoil” 1/11/02

#491 “The Sahara Wobble” 10/29/99

#840 “Expanding Deserts” 7/17/06

#421 “Who Controls the Nile” 12/4/97

#1082 “Suez Chokepoint” 2/25/11

#733 “International Oil Trade” 6/18/04


Scarcity/Need to Know:

Freshwater Issues:

Global Challenges for the New Millennium

Images/Pivot Irrigation:

Egypt: Natural Resources & Agriculture

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries: 

Map Resources

UNEP: Scarcity of Water:

World Climate Maps: Precipitation:

National Geographic Video

Guelta Archei (oasis)
Taureg Farmers (in Sahel)



Drip Irrigation

Irrigation Canal

Center Pivot Irrigation


Common Assessment

6(A) Why was the Fertile Crescent and Nile Delta important to the development of sedentary agriculture.

12(B) How has the distribution of natural resources affect patterns of settlement and migration?  (Map)

12(A) Why is the Strait of Hormuz considered a strategic trade route?

19(C) What technology was used to overcome geographic obstacles to agriculture?


14 (C )How does OPEC influence global politics?


8(B) How do people and climate contribute to desertification.

Concepts: Religion, Fundamentalism, Gender Issues, Major Conflicts & Political Movements

 Religion guides the beliefs and actions of millions of people around the globe.

  • How can religions both unify and divide a region?

  • What are the consequences when a country adopts an official religion?

  • How can opposing views within a single dominant faith promote civil conflict?

  • How can religious fundamentalism promote militant totalitarian societies?

  • Why are traditional cultures finding it difficult to maintain customs and lifestyles in contemporary society?

  • How do civil and international conflicts lead to the increase of refugees within a region?

Women are a majority of the world’s population yet share unequally in the world’s resources.

  • How are education levels of women tied to religion and economic development?

  • What restrictions are there on women’s participation in political and economic activities in traditional societies?

  • How have traditional gender roles limited women’s economic opportunities in contemporary society

17(B)  describe major world religions, including.... Christianity,...Islam, Judaism...and their spatial distribution

17(C) compare economic, political, or social opportunities in different cultures for women, ethnic and religious minorities, and other underrepresented populations.

18(C) identify examples of cultures that maintain traditional ways, including traditional economies.

14(A) analyze current events to infer the physical and human processes that lead to the formation of boundaries and other political divisions.

14(B) compare how democracy, dictatorship, monarchy, republic, theocracy, and totalitarian systems operate in specific countries.

16(C) explain ways various groups of people perceive the characteristics of their own and other cultures, places, and regions differently.

23 (B) use case studies and GIS to identify contemporary challenges and to answer real-world questions

23(C) use problem-solving and decision-making processes to identify a problem, gather information, list and consider options, consider advantages and disadvantages, choose and implement a solution, and evaluate the effectiveness of the solution.


Major Religions

Christianity, Islam, Judaism

Islamic Divisions

Shi’ite: majority faith in Iran with significant populations in Iraq and Yemen
Sunni: largest Islamic group
State Religions:  the religion and church are identified  with the state and one set of beliefs are transferred to allegiance to the other.

Under-Represented Peoples

Kurds, peoples of Darfur, Coptic Egyptians, Palestinians, Berbers, Tuareg and Taliban

Islamic Law (for women)

dowry (mahr): price the groom pays the bride at the time of marriage.
polygamy: the right of a man to have more than one bride. Not practiced in all Muslim countries. (Polyandry more than one husband) is not permitted.
Khula: Islamic divorce laws for women.
Hijab: literally “cover” in Arabic. Refers to both head covering worn by Islamic women and the modest style of dress.
Purdah: the segregation of women in Islamic societies.

Modern Conflicts

World War I (1914-1918), Armenian Massacres (1915), World War II (1939-1945), Creation of Israel(1948), Algerian War for independence (1954-1962), Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) Gulf War(1990-1991), civil war in Darfur, Sudan (2003)

Political Movements

Zionism, PLO, Hamas, Fatah, Hezbollah, “White Revolution”, FLN, Baath Party, Pan-Arabism, Muslim Brotherhood, Arab Spring



McDougal Littell Textbook

p503-504 Islam Changes the Desert

pp506-507 Religious Duties Shape Live
p510-511 Religious Holy Places
p511-513 A History of Unrest
p514-515 Modern Life
p516-517 A Blend of Cultures
p439 Islam in North Africa
p440 A Culture of Markets & Music
p526-527 Political Refugees Face Challenges
p513 Refugees & Civil Wars
p517 Homelands and Refugees
p518-519 Reforming Economies-Modern and Traditional Life
p441 Changing Roles of Women

Internet Resources

Maps 101

Geography In the News(GITN)

#620 “One Land, Two Cultures” 4/19/02
#462 “Ramadan: Islam as a Dominant Religion” 1/7/99
#890 “Palestinian Refugee Camps” 6/22/07

#895 “Shi’ite Destiny” 7/27/07

#781 “The Role of Islam in Muslim Countries” 5/20/05

#718 “Iran in a Political Crossfire” 5/5/04

#598 “Saudi Arabia’s Monarchy” 11/16/01

#574 “Shi’ite vs. Sunni” 6/01/01

#402 “Israel’s Four Flanks” 4/24/97

#1077 “Coptic Christians” 1/21/11

#1086 “Gender Equality Around the World” 3/35/11

National Geographic Video

Jerusalem’s Holy Sites
Egypt’s Online Revolution (looking at Egypt’s 2011 uprising)


Official Religion

State Religion
Official Language



Common Assessment

18 (C) Why are traditional cultures finding it difficult to maintain customs and lifestyles in contemporary society?


14(B) Why do movements for political change lead to instability and unrest in a region?

17(C) How have traditional gender roles limited women’s economic opportunities in contemporary society?


14 (B)How can religious fundamentalism promote militant totalitarian societies?


14(A) How can opposing views within a single dominant faith promote civil conflict?


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