The history, ethnicities, diversities and conflicts of the Middle East undoubtedly account for some of the most confusing subjects of world studies. While Americans are bombarded almost daily with news stories about the events that take place in the region, surveys of the American public indicate that few Americans actually have even a basic understanding of the issues that are involved the region's geopolitical conflicts.
For the past 5 years JETS Israel has been working with public and private schools throughout North America to provide a comprehensive overview of the Middle East in an interactive elearning environment. In the spring of 2014, JETS launched an engaging course on the Middle East with the 6th graders of St. Agnes and St. Dominic in Memphis TN. The Israel-based instructors meet the class weekly via video-conferencing to present the course material, answer questions and guide the students to a deeper understanding of the historical background behind today's Middle East.
One of the most popular sessions, Weird Warfare, takes the students through the centuries as they examine warfare in the Middle East in ancient and modern times. The students are challenged to understand how the geographical, economic, and political realities of the ancient Middle East made Israel a battleground throughout the ages. They then compare the explosive nature of the Middle East today, as they consider many of the same issues which occupy the minds of world leaders: Should the U.S. continue military aid to countries in the Middle East? Why is Israel pulled in so many directions? How does an analysis of history affect Middle Eastern nations' military decisions today? In addition, they look at ancient and modern weaponry, and the military strategies associated with both.
Each lesson includes a follow-up assignment on the class Haiku Learning Management System page with engaging activities that push the students to delve into the subject more deeply.
Through this session of the course, the St. Agnes – St. Dominic youngsters' have certainly increased their knowledge and understanding of the Middle East, and are better-informed about the issues that affect their world.