National curriculum geography – extending knowledge about the Middle East

KS3: ages 11-14PDFWebsite

The new national curriculum for England aims to ensure that all pupils develop ‘contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places’. This type of knowledge helps pupils to understand the characteristics of a place or region, the ways in which it is changing, why people might feel attached to it and so on. There are few world regions with greater significance in terms of current affairs than the Middle East, and yet the region is sometimes overlooked within the curriculum, since its human geography is associated with conflict and controversy.

With 5% of the world’s population but only 1% of its water, conflicts over basic resources can be a source of underlying tension in a region characterised by ethnic and religious diversity. The use of water can help pupils to understand how life in the Middle East can be very similar to, but also different from, living in the UK. Unequal access to water resources also raises questions of rights and responsibilities, power and poverty, consumption and sustainability.

This resource consists of:

  • Lesson plan: Who owns the world’s water?
    Three detailed information sheets and an activity sheet addressing these key questions:

    • What happens when rivers and sources of water are shared between countries?
    • What impacts can building dams have?
  • Lesson plan: Is water used fairly in Israel and the West Bank?
    Two detailed information sheets and two activity sheets addressing these key questions:

    • How do Israelis and Palestinians feel about the unequal supply of water?
    • Should people always have equal access to water?


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