On November 19, the eighth grade class marked the culmination of their study of the Golden Age of Islam with a day of speakers, rituals, and even a special Café menu. Teacher Mark Tompkins led students in the daylong celebration of curriculum-related events. From art and science to religion and politics, the eighth graders immersed themselves into all facets of daily life in the time of Islam’s Golden Age.
The events kicked off with guest speakers Israa Dhaif ’16 and Dorsa Medhdizadeh-Saraj ’16 discussing their personal experiences of life in an Arab country. Israa and Dorsa joined Ross this year from Bahrain and Iran, respectively, and both girls shared anecdotes of family, education, and traditions of Muslim culture. They also opened up about common stereotypes and misconceptions pertaining to Muslim culture, including their feelings on wearing the hijab, the traditional hair and neck covering worn by Muslim women.
Mark then showcased the best of class presentations in an Islamic Luminary Press Conference. Select students, dressed in Islam-inspired attire, assumed the roles of religious leaders and scholars of the Golden Age, while others acted as members of the press, sparking dialogue driven by the texts studied throughout the unit. Following the conference, Mark invited all participants to pray the salat, a ritual Muslim prayer. Students later broke into groups for a board game tournament, a custom with roots in the Ancient Arab world.
The detailed role-play and practices highlighted the depth of knowledge the class acquired in their study of Islam’s Golden Age. Sophie G. appreciated the way the day “let us immerse ourselves in our characters.”
As a final treat, the Ross Café artfully incorporated the Islamic theme into the lunch menu, treating the entire school community to a delicious bounty of foods inspired by the tastes and textures of the East, such as lamb and curried pita.