Lesson plan: The Rise of ISIS

This lesson is based on two videos:

Iraq explained (until 1:45, but students can watch all of it if you think it’s helpful for them.

The rise of ISIS (the whole video, minimum twice IMHO).

Pre-Task: Geogrpahy

WORKSHEET: mapexercise – I used this worksheet to find out how much my students know about the Middle East and the different countries there. You can use this as a quick warmer, or you can ask your students to dig deeper (maybe Google somef acts) and create a mini-project.

Main-Task: The two videos

WORKSHEET: isis-video-task-sheet1 – I used this worksheet for the two videos. First my students watched the ‘Iraq explaied’ video, but not all of it (until about 1:45) to get a basic understanding of the two branches of Islam.

After checking this we went through the next task together and I taught them some relevant vocabulary. This hugely depends on your group, so I didn’t include a specific list of vocab to teach. Then they watched ‘the rise of ISIS’ video and they had to sequence the events. I recommend watching it at least twice, with a 2 minute pause between them so students have a chance to compare and discuss with each other.


#1 Discussion: After checking you can turn this into a whole-class or group discussion, if you want.

#2 Research: You can ask students to find more information about related events, for example the Arab Spring or the war in Syria.

#3 Selective vocab: You can ask students to watch the two videos at home with subtitles and find 10-15-20 etc. new words and expression that they would like to learn.

#4 More videos: You can ask them to watch more videos at home.

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