[Episode 2 | 1998 : Mohammed]

Mohammed's family is moving into their new house, owned by Michaelis. It is nearing Ramadan and at mealtime the family is discussing whether Mohammed can participate this year.


The Australian curriculum: History

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The Australian Curriculum: History aims to ensure that students develop: 

  • interest in, and enjoyment of, historical study for lifelong learning and work, including their capacity and willingness to be informed and active citizens 
  • knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the past and the forces that shape societies, including Australian society 
  • understanding and use of historical concepts, such as evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, perspectives, empathy, significance and contestability 
  • capacity to undertake historical inquiry, including skills in the analysis and use of sources, and in explanation and communication.

History activities [2]

Activity 1: Culture clash
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Subtheme(s): Beliefs; Culture

Ramadan falls on the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. During this holy month, Muslims focus on spiritual purification through self-sacrifice, prayer and by fasting from sun-up to sundown. Refer to the following SBS website: World News Australia, http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1075597/Muslims-gear-up-for-Ramadan

  • Ask students to research the significance of Ramadan. The websites below are suitable as teacher references. Discuss the position of Ramadan in Australian culture. Consider how the requirements of Ramadan might affect its followers' ability to participate in everyday activities.
  1. Ramadan Awareness Campaign, http://www.ramadan.com.au
  2. University of Melbourne: University Library Digital Repository, 'Muslim Australians: Their Beliefs, Practices and Institutions by Professor Abdullah Saeed 2004', http://dtl.unimelb.edu.au
  3. Asia Education Foundation: http://www.asiaeducation.edu.au/default.asp

  • Ask students to record their discoveries about Ramadan. Use Student Activity Sheet H2.4 to write information on the 'Describing wheel'. A describing wheel is a graphic organiser that encourages students to describe facts and ideas relating to a topic. The wheel has a place for the topic in the centre, surrounded by spokes in which students can record facts and ideas.
  • Invite a spokesperson from the Islamic community to speak about how Ramadan is observed in Australia.


Activity 2: Fasting
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Subtheme(s): Culture; Customs and traditions; Food

Fasting is an important part of religious observances during the month of Ramadan. Participants eat before the sun comes up and after it goes down for an entire month. Families must prepare special foods that will sustain them throughout the day.

  • Encourage students to find out more about the special foods prepared for Ramadan. Ask them to research recipes and list the ingredients. Find the origin of any unknown ingredients and if they are used by any other cultures for special occasions.
  • Discuss 'fasting' and its effects on people, particularly young people. Ask the class if they know of other religions and cultures that observe fasting.
  • List other Islamic customs. Some suggestions could be women wearing a veil, pilgrimages to Mecca, and praying rituals. Compare these with practices from other cultures.

  • Ask students to respond to the following focus questions:
  1. What types of foods are eaten during Ramadan?
  2. Who prepares the food for Ramadan?
  3. Why are there restrictions on the times food can be eaten?
  4. When can people break their fast? (This question relates to Mohammed's grandmother asking whether he will be able to eat before his cricket tryouts.)
  5. How do families celebrate the end of Ramadan?
  • Students share their findings in an oral presentation to the class.


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