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Volume 65, Number 2March/April 2014

In This Issue

Classroom Guide

For students: We hope this guide will help sharpen your reading skills and deepen your understanding of this issue’s articles.

For teachers: We encourage reproduction and adaptation of these ideas, freely and without furthe permission from Saudi Aramco World, by teachers at any level, whether working in a classrorom or through home study.


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Class Activities

The articles in this edition of Saudi Aramco World are about movement: the movement of people, of things and of ideas. The Classroom Guide activities are organized both by theme and by article. The Movement of People focuses on “The Immigrant’s Progress”; The Movement of Things focuses on “Chiles’ Global Warming”; and The Movement of Ideas focuses on “Unani: Medicine’s Greco–Islamic Synthesis.” 

Theme: The Movement of People
Article: “The Immigrant’s Progress”

We all move, one way or another, from one place to another. At the least, we move from one room to a different room within one building. At the most, we move from one country to another. To get yourself into a good frame of mind to explore immigration, think about your own movements and ask yourself how they affect you. Make a diagram that shows some of the places you have moved. Start with short distances, like walking around your neighborhood; continue with movements of greater and greater distances.  Here’s an example to get you started:

Me » my neighborhood » school » visiting relatives » (and so on)

In your diagram, include at least five destinations, each one farther away than the previous one. End your diagram with the farthest place from home that you have ever gone. Looking at the graphic, think about what it feels like to be at each location as you get farther from home. For example, when you walk around your neighborhood, you might feel comfortable, see people you know and recognize the surroundings. But if you go to another country, you might feel uncomfortable because things may look different and you might not know the language. Add these feelings to your diagram. Use any of the following to describe your feelings at each destination: words, colors, shapes, audio recordings. 

Then pair up with another student. Take turns asking each other any questions you may have about your experiences of movement. With your partner, make a list of things that change as you travel greater and greater distances. For example, at what distance does the weather change? At what distance do the styles of the buildings change? At what distance does the language change? How do these changes affect your feelings about being in these different places?

Read “The Immigrant’s Progress,” in which 10 individuals (including the writer and artist, Norman Macdonald) describe their experiences moving from their countries of origin to Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. As you read, underline or highlight the parts of the text that you find most significant, or take notes on paper if you don’t have a copy of the article you can mark up. When you’re done, look at your notes. Do you see any topics that appear in the stories of more than one or two of the individuals? Write those topics on a piece of paper. (You can do this part of the activity either by yourself, with a partner or in a small group. Limit your group’s size to three or four people so that everyone has a chance to participate.) When you have a list of topics, choose a member of your group to share with the class the items on your list. Have one person write the items on the board or chart paper. [Note to teachers: If you are working with younger students, or if you want to save time, you can give your students a list of topics that you’ve pulled from the narratives yourself. They can use your list for the next part of the activity.] 

Classroom Guide - Peppers / UnaniYour list identifies some of the key issues that face people who move from one country to another. (If your diagram included going to another country, you may have experienced some of these issues yourself!) Write each of the topics at the top of a sheet of paper. Write a sentence stating the topic. For example, one topic that appears repeatedly in these immigrants’ narratives is why people left their country of origin. Find the parts of the stories where that topic is discussed. If you can, cut those parts from the article and paste them on the sheet of paper after your first sentence. If you can’t do an actual cut-and-paste, copy the passages onto your sheet of paper. When you’re done, read them through. In the case of our example, how would you sum up the reasons why these immigrants left their home countries? You might write something like, “Immigrants left their home countries for reasons that include political conflicts, religious differences and a search for creative inspiration.” If you don’t have time for everyone to do a page for all the topics, divide up the topics among groups of students so that each topic is assigned to a group. Then students can share their completed work.

When you’re done, you now have an outline of an essay about the issues that have faced immigrants to Amsterdam. If time permits, write the essay, choosing quotes from the article to show readers what the immigrants have experienced, in their own words. You might find that the issues these immigrants have talked about are similar to those that immigrants to other places at other times have also experienced. In other words, you might find that your analysis is a case study of how and why people move from one country to another.

Theme: Movement of Things
Article: “Chiles’ Global Warming”

Let’s continue exploring movement by shifting our focus from the movement of people to the movement of things. Read “Chiles’ Global Warming,” which describes how the Capsicum peppers became a worldwide phenomenon in the first half the 1500’s. 

Just as political conditions may affect people’s decisions to move, political conditions may also affect the movement of objects. The first part of “Chiles’ Global Warming” tells a story about how Europeans first found capsicum peppers. Some of that story may be familiar to you: American schoolchildren, for example, learn about how Europeans’ search for a sea route to the spices of India led to Christopher Columbus’s surprise encounter with the Americas. The Saudi Aramco World article may provide a more detailed version of the story than you knew before, so re-read the first part of the article. Using a piece of paper in the landscape position, make a timeline that shows the events leading up to Columbus’s finding capsicum pepper. Then resume reading on page 7, where the article asserts that the Portuguese spread capsicums before the Spanish did, and continue reading through page 11, using the map on page 5 to follow along with what you are reading.

As you’ve read, writer Deana Sidney asserts that it is remarkable that capsicum peppers went global in just 50 years. To you, 50 years probably seems like a very long time.  What accounts for the difference? With a group, identify and list different ways you communicate and travel. Next to each, make a note of how long it takes. For example, when you talk with someone who is in the same room with you, the communication takes place instantly. When you travel to another continent, you travel either by plane or boat, which takes either hours or possibly weeks. Which types of communication and movement take the longest amount of time? How long do they take? Why do they take that long? 

Having thought about how you communicate and get around, return to the article. How did the peppers get around the world? Answer the question with your group. Given these methods of movement, do you agree with Deana Sidney that 50 years was a short period of time for the peppers to attain global status? Why or why not? Look back at your group’s list of your own communications and movements. How long would it have taken in the 1500’s to do the different actions on the list? Imagine how your life would be different if these activities still took that long a time. Write a story in which you are living in 2014, but methods of communicating and moving have returned to the way they were 500 years ago. (If you have less time, you might have a class discussion on the subject instead.)

Theme: Movement of Ideas
Article: “Unani: Medicine’s Greco–Islamic Synthesis”

So far, you’ve looked at the movement of people and things. Both are objects, that is, they take up space. Not so, however, with ideas. The movement of ideas is a little bit more complicated because you can’t actually see them move. How, then, can you measure how ideas move? To get a sense of the challenge, fill a clear glass with water. Add a few drops of food coloring. Watch the color disperse. (It works with a cup of coffee and some milk, too.) As you can see, it would be, at the very least, difficult to map the diffusion of color into the water. 

Mapping the spread of ideas can be slightly easier—if you know what to look for. Read the article about Unani medicine. Use the map on page 37, along with the article, to track the development and spread of Unani. Since there is no way to see the movement of the medical ideas that comprise it, how does writer Stewart Gordon track the movement of the ideas that grew into Unani today? What objects—people and things—does he believe carried the ideas? To where? What evidence does he use that show this? 

Think about how ideas travel today. Can you think of any ideas that travel as slowly and concretely as the medical ideas that make up Unani? If so, what are they? Why do they travel that way? What about ideas that travel quickly, along 21st-century electronic routes? Consider something that has recently gone viral. Can you figure out where it started and to where it spread first? Imagine living in a world where ideas could not travel this way: You would probably get a lot less information than you do now. How would that affect you? For a day, keep a log of the ideas and information you get from various sources. If you did not have electronics, which ideas do you think would you get anyway? In other words, if information had to travel the way people and objects travel, which information do you think would be significant enough that you would still get it? How might your life be different? Do you think it would be better? Why or why not?



Choose one of the people who tell their stories in “The Immigrant’s Progress.” Read that person’s story and respond to it in a graphic, a piece of writing or artwork. Some topics you might consider addressing in your response might be: why the person left his/her country of origin; how the person has been treated in Amsterdam (including how attitudes may have been different at different times); and how the person manages the tension of having been at home in two different countries. 


MA 2014 McRel Standards Correlations


Unani: Medicine’s Greco-Islamic Synthesis

Historical Understanding

Standard 2: Understands the historical perspective


Standard 9: Understands the nature, distribution and migration of human populations on Earth's surface 

Standard 10: Understands the nature and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics 

Standard 11: Understands the patterns and networks of economic interdependence on Earth's surface 

Standard 17: Understands how geography is used to interpret the past 

World History

Standard 11: Understands major global trends from 1000 BCE to 300 CE

Standard 13: Understands the causes and consequences of the development of Islamic civilization between the 7th and 10th centuries

Standard 25: Understands major global trends from 1000 to 1500 CE

Standard 31: Understands major global trends from 1450 to 1770

Bosporus: Strait of Two Worlds


Standard 4: Understands the physical and human characteristics of place

Standard 10: Understands the nature and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics 

Standard 11: Understands the patterns and networks of economic interdependence on Earth's surface 

Chiles’ Global Warming


Standard 4: Understands the physical and human characteristics of place

Standard 10: Understands the nature and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics 

Standard 11: Understands the patterns and networks of economic interdependence on Earth's surface 

Standard 17: Understands how geography is used to interpret the past 

World History

Standard 26: Understands how the transoceanic interlinking of all major regions of the world between 1450 and 1600 led to global transformations

The Immigrant’s Progress


Standard 9: Understands the nature, distribution and migration of human populations on Earth's surface 

Standard 10: Understands the nature and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics 

Standard 17: Understands how geography is used to interpret the past 

Common Core Alignments for CG Activities

RI.9-10.1. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RI.9-10.2. Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.



Julie Weiss ([email protected]) is an education consultant based in Eliot, Maine. She holds a Ph.D. in American studies. Her company, Unlimited Horizons, develops social studies, media literacy, and English as a Second Language curricula, and produces textbook materials.



Check the Public Affairs Digital Image Archive for March/April 2014 images.