8-10 yrs old
11-13 yrs old
14-18 yrs old
Reading and Writing
Religion & Philosophy
This map contains the fabled 8th century round city of Baghdad built by students on a massive 1:2 scale with a high degree of historical accuracy.
February 5, 2018
The Abbasids’ House of Wisdom in Baghdad
Muslim Heritage: Foundation for Science Knowledge and Civilisation
Story of cities #3: the birth of Baghdad was a landmark for world civilisation
The Guardian. "The foundation of al-Mansur’s ‘Round City’ in 762 was a glorious milestone in the history of urban design."
Islamic Architecture – Abbasid Period
Blog: Islamic Arts and Architecture
The City Of Mansur The Builder. Baghdad Between The Caliph’s Will And Shari’ah Norms
Ana Maria Negoitã. "The Round City of Baghdad was one of the first examples of an Islamic capital, even though its shape remains unique in the history
My Blog Post
More details about the build can be found here.
World Download and Associated Files
Download the world file here plus other helpful artifacts.
This map can be used to meet multiple objectives across curriculum and grade levels. Through these varied lenses students can develop a better understanding of course objectives in the social sciences, literacy, mathematics and economics and the sciences.
Round Baghdad was designed for the Caliph, al-Mansur, who founded the city in 763. The circular design was intended to support a series of ringed administrative complexes, but it quickly became filled with common citizens. It stood for approximately two centuries. During this "Golden Age" of Islam, Baghdad was the capital of the Islamic Empire. It was a stop on the Silk Road, contained numerous academic focused institutions known as houses of wisdom and was tolerant of all religions and knowledge seekers. It was, by all accounts, a cultural center.
Within its walls visitors would find religious scholars, astronomers, poets, architects and mathematicians, merchants, musicians, philosophers and historians. It became known as the City of Peace. Situated next to the Tigris River, water was abundant and farmland surrounding the city swelled with new residents.
Students should develop their own questions from exploring this city. Questions from a historical investigation that might arise include:
Guiding ideas and questions from other curricular areas could include:
We hope that this map promotes inquiry across all subject areas and is used for more than just historical analysis. We challenge students to uncover the secrets that made the round city of Baghdad the cultural heart of the Islamic Empire.
In my class the emphasis is on historical, written, and oral literacy. Prior to exploring this map, my students examine and acquire content through various sources. This foundational work, or lower level depth of knowledge acquisition, is completed collaboratively in class and assessed by various means.
When I am satisfied that they possess sufficient understanding of the content, we move into primary and secondary reading sources – several are attached to this plan. We conduct close readings, create graphic organizers, and annotate each document. I often incorporate an original story, a work of historical fiction, that takes place in the same time and location to provide a backstory for their leap into the past through Minecraft.
The intent of this map is to provide a place for students to experience the content. In the maps I develop, students live in a historical narrative and explore it on their own terms. They partake of quests, design solutions for problems they encounter, and construct meaning along with physical features and interactions with other players and NPCs.
Minecraft activities specific to my course include:
Minecraft activities that might apply to other courses include:
A few writing prompts to consider include:
I'm looking for my English learners to make connections, to apply and extend what they have learned and experienced through written and performance assessments. Below are several options that I use based on expected outcomes for the unit. Contact me for specific rubrics.
First person story, often written as a diary entry, covers the material and objectives that include the use of descriptive language and sensory vocabulary, historical details, and original thought.
Dialogue written for NPCs and expository text written and placed in books within the houses of wisdom.
Students use video and collaborate to record their 1001 Nights tales.
For students doing a study of comparative architecture, have them create a portfolio that contains images and descriptions of their creations.
Using mapping software students create an interactive map with Minecraft-themed stops along the Silk Road. Research and build other cities and sites and add student generated video tour clips to them on a shared map.
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