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The Indian Ocean in World History: Curriculum Resources for Classroom Teachers

Pre-made curriculum available online (all are appropriate for middle to high school students):

1. http://www.beaconschool.org/~bfaithfu/portugalindianoceantradeDBQ.pdf
This lesson plan begins with Vasco de Gamas exploration of the Indian Ocean. Students explore how Portugal, over the
next centuries, changed the flourishing trade relationships in the Indian Ocean. They read maps and document excerpts
(included in the lesson plan)to determine how Portugal impacted trade in the Indian Ocean.

2. http://www.bu.edu/africa/outreach/resources/indian/
A role-playing lesson that simulates the complex web of Indian Ocean maritime trade. Comes complete with a fully
written lesson plan and assessment pieces.

3. http://www.pbs.org/thestoryofindia/teachers/lessons/3/
A lesson plan from PBS/BBCs excellent series The Story of India. This particular lesson focuses on the role the monsoons
played in southern Indian culture and economic development. Comes as a partner to the TV series (can be found
online). Several other lesson plans are included. This lesson could be used as a piece of a unit on the Indian Ocean or on
the Indian subcontinent.

4. http://www.indianoceanhistory.org/
A dense, interactive site on the history of the Indian Ocean. Description taken from the site: The site is intended for use
by middle and high school teachers and students in connection with the surveys of world history, geography and
cultures that are required by nearly every state's academic standards in social studies. Map pages and primary sources
cover the following eras of world history:
a. Prehistoric Era, 90,000 B.P. to 7000 B.P.
b. Ancient Era 5000 B.C.E. to 1000 B.C.E.
c. Classical Era, 1000 B.C.E to 300 C.E.
d. Medieval Era, 300 C.E. to 1450 C.E.
e. First Global Era, 1450 C.E. to 1770 C.E.
f. Industrial and Imperial Eras, 1770 C.E. to 1914 C.E.
g. Twentieth Century and Globalization, 1914 C.E. to the present

5. http://iptv.pbslearningmedia.org/search/?q=indian+ocean
PBSs learning media resources are fabulous. A teacher need only to create an account and search any topic and a
variety of lessons on the search item will come up. When searching Indian Ocean a variety of lessons from multiple
disciplines and time periods is available.

6. http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/02/teaching-about-climate-change-with-the-new-york-
A compilation of NYTimes resources on global warming. These resources are not closely focused on the Indian Ocean,
but would serve as a component for discussing the impact on that area in particular.

7. http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/World_History_SF_Indian_Ocean_World07.pdf
Note: these lessons and materials are created for Advanced Placement courses in World History, so they may only be
appropriate for more advanced courses or may need some adaptations for lower level courses. Seven lesson plans are
included in addition to supplementary materials and readings. The lessons explore migration, slaves, commodities,
language, religion, architecture, food, fauna, agriculture, exploration, and empire expansion as well as the
accomplishments of prominent explorers like Ibn Battuta.

8. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6XtBLDmPA0&feature=fvwrel
Titled: Int'l Commerce, Snorkeling Camels, and The Indian Ocean Trade: Crash Course World History #18. A John Greens
Crash Course World History video series. A fast-paced summary of much of the information presented in the Alpers text
in a ten-minute video. This would work well as a wrap-up after a unit on the Indian Ocean. Green talks very fast, so it
would be fun for students to tally what they remembered from the unit as those topics are mentioned in his video.
The Indian Ocean in World History: Curriculum Resources for Classroom Teachers

9. https://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/200504/
A simple, but engaging web-based magazine that features shorter articles on components of Indian Ocean trade,
exploration, and colonialism. A map, timeline, and glossary are included as are short biographies of notable explorers of
the area, Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta, and Zeng He. Short articles are linked to more lengthy articles. This website is
published by the Saudi Aramco magazine.

10. http://africa.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/Islam-in-Africa.pdf
A rich resource complete with suggested lesson activities, lists of reputable resources (print and other media), a
summary of the development of Islam in Africa, and information on the faith itself. This resource could serve as a
component in a larger unit on the Indian Ocean, Africa, or Islam. Very good stuff.

Helpful web links for creation of curriculum related to the Alpers text:
Ibn Battuta
1. http://bridgingcultures.neh.gov/muslimjourneys/items/show/84
2. http://people.hofstra.edu/alan_j_singer/CoursePacks/TheTravelsandJournalsofIbnBattuta.pdf
3. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/1354-ibnbattuta.asp
Fordham Universitys history sourcebooks are some of the best resources for primary documents. Linked here is a huge
document containing writings of Ibn Battuta.
4. http://www.hist.umn.edu/hist1011/assignments/explorers/explorerexercise.htm
Link to a college-level comparison activity on Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta.
5. http://www.westga.edu/~history/FacultyUpdated/lipp/HIST%201111%20Reading%20Guide.pdf
Another comparison activity. This time with documents
Current Affairs/Contemporary Facts
1. New York Times: http://topics.nytimes.com or http://www.nytimes.com/pages/topics/index.html
o NYTimes allows one to search their rich collection of articles and data using the name of any country. Below is
an example from Indonesia. It is also possible to select from a range of publication dates. A chronological listing
of stories as well as a brief summary of general information is provided for the topic searched. A link to the
nations official government website is provided as well.
o Indonesia:
o India:
o Mauritius:

2. BBC: http://bbc.com
o The BBCs home page is organized into regional and topical tabs. A search using a particular country name will
bring up current stories as well as a brief profile of the nation.
o India: http://www.bbc.com/news/world/asia/india/
o China: http://www.bbc.com/news/world/asia/china/

The Indian Ocean in World History: Curriculum Resources for Classroom Teachers

3. Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: http://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/indian-ocean/iora.html
o Website for the Indian Ocean Rim Association (website housed within the Australian governments department
of foreign affairs page). The IORA, according to this site was established in 1997 to promote cooperation in the
Indian Ocean region. It seeks to expand mutually beneficial cooperation through a consensus-based approach.
IORA is the only regional forum linking most countries on the Indian Ocean rim through an annual Foreign
Ministers' meeting. From this source, one may glean information pertaining to agreements among the nations
within the region of the Indian Ocean.

4. CIA World Factbook: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/
o Website for the CIA World Factbook. A straightforward, easily navigated website that enables a student to look
up demographic information on any nation. Students may view an image of the nations flag, a map,
photographs, and can browse statistics from the following categories: geography, people and society,
government, economy, energy, communications, transportation, military, transnational issues.
5. National Geographic:
o National Geographic search: Indian Ocean. A wealth of information of any kind relating to social and natural
geography. A great deal of information available related to tsunamis and other weather events, wildlife, and
human-environment interaction
o Specific Nat Geo story related to global warmings effects in the region:

6. NC State University, Monsoon: http://www.nc-climate.ncsu.edu/edu/k12/.monsoons
o Short, student-targeted general reading on Monsoons in the region of the Indian Ocean.

7. http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~dib2/asia/monsoon.html
o Monsoon pattern maps and general information

8. Weatherbase: http://www.weatherbase.com/
o A searchable website that contains statistics on weather, climate averages, forecasts, current conditions and
averages for 41,997 cities worldwide

9. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:
o HEAVY READING. Will need to be sifted through/excerpted and text will need to be leveled before giving to
students. Scientific articles related to ocean conditions
Assembly of regional papers
10. The Jakarta Post (Indonesia): http://www.thejakartapost.com/
11. India: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/international-home
12. UAE area: http://gulfnews.com/
13. Chagos archipelago: http://www.theguardian.com/world/chagos-islands
The Indian Ocean in World History: Curriculum Resources for Classroom Teachers

Primary documents mentioned in Alpers text that would be useful to middle/high school teachers:
Ibn Majids Fawaid
Book of Curiosities
Ubaid pottery in Mesopotamia
Dong Son bronze and drums
Asoka quotations on sea trade
Pliny the Elders Natural History
A Record of the Buddhist Countries by Monk Faxian
Writings of Ibn Battuta
Writings of Marco Polo
Writings of Admiral Zeng He
Work of George Windsor Earl
Slave interviews of Captain GL Sulivan
Richard Burtons exploration of Choka
Wallace Steguer on the discovery of oil in the Indian Ocean world
Louis Oliver Bancoult on the Chagossian exile
Vocabulary from Alpers text:
Lanteen sails
Arabic kamal
Nations discussed in the Alpers text (by contemporary names)

SE Asia

SW Asia
Saudi Arabia


South Asia
Sri Lanka

The Indian Ocean in World History: Curriculum Resources for Classroom Teachers

South Africa

Big Idea themes from the Alpers text (useful for conceptual unit plans):
Dependence on waterways and weather patterns
Uncontrollable nature
o The role of the monsoon winds and currents in the development of Indian Ocean early
o The dangers and challenges created by ocean levels and temperatures later
Trade spurred by the uneven distribution of materials
o Natural resources, human resources
Unbalanced narratives
Concurrence of commercial and religious/sacred geographies
Influence of colonial/commercial bodies
o Language
o Religion
o Ethnicities
Religious expansion, adaptation
o Hindu
o Buddhism
o Islam
Crossroads: the Indian Ocean as a throughway of varying peoples, cultures, interests
Evolution of transportation
Smaller concepts from the Alpers text (useful for targeted lesson plans/units):
Male floating societies creating hybrid cultures
Maritime technologies and evolution of sea travel
Proliferation of Piracy