Visit Islam-We have 5 pillars!


Mecca-click here for image source

My 7th grade students and I are going to explore the world of Islam!

To begin, students will turn to section two of chapter five in their social studies book-“Beliefs of Islam.”

We will read the chapter as a class.  I will select a student at random via popsicle sticks and that student will read one paragraph out loud.  After each paragraph, I will ask students brief questions to ensure they are comprehending what they are reading as we go along.

When we are done with the reading, students will have a discussion within their table groups.  Since I am placed in a Catholic school, I will have students compare and contrast Islamic and Catholic beliefs.  One group member will record the differences and similarities. They can set up the notes anyway the like-venn diagram, list, pictures-as long as they understand it.  They will also discuss what they found the most interesting about Islam.

After seven minutes of discussion, groups will share what they discussed with the entire class. I will have each group go one at a time and talk about what they discussed.

Next I will assign what will be used to assess their learning.  Students will create a brochure that describes the five pillars of Islam.  The five pillars are a staple of the Muslim religion.  Therefore, it is essential that my students fully grasp the five pillars in order to completely and fundamentally understand Islam.

The five pillars of Islam are:

  1. Shahadah: declaring there is no god except God, and Muhammad is God’s Messenger
  2. Salat: ritual prayer five times a day
  3. Zakat: giving 2.5% of one’s savings to the poor and needy
  4. Sawm: fasting and self-control during the holy month of Ramadan
  5. Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime, if one is able

I will encourage students to layout the brochure any way that they like.  However, they must include in the brochure:

  • A description of each of the five pillars
  • An example of how to live out each pillar

Students will first create a rough outline-it could be as simple as a list-of what they plan to include in their brochure.  They also will sketch a layout for their brochure.

At the next class period, students will share their brochure plans with the table groups.  Other students will give them feedback on what looks good and what could be improved.  They will have class time to work on their final copy of their brochures.  At the next class section, the completed brochure will be due.  Additionally, students will turn in a one paragraph reflection on what they changed after their peer review and how they think they did.


After doing this assignment, I now understand better the importance of peer and self reflection.  I really valued getting to witness it first hand when we went over our assignments with our peers.  In my lesson, I tried to emphasize student and peer reflection as well.  It gives the students more autonomy and I think it makes them feel like they do have the ability to improve after citing it themselves, rather than an adult.  In the future, I will definitely keep peer and student reflection at the top of my list when it comes to planning lessons.

7 Replies to “Visit Islam-We have 5 pillars!”

  1. Ceci, I think it’s great how you are having them compare Islam to their own experience with the Catholic faith. My 7th graders are also working on an Islamic unit this semester and your lesson has definitely helped my brain start churning over all of the options!

    1. I’m happy to hear that! I think there are definitely a lot of creative options when it comes to learning Islam. Good luck with your 7th graders’ Islamic unit!

    2. Dear Kari, hopefully when teaching in a Catholic school, you learn your pupils that there are also non-trinitarian Christians who worship only One True God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah.

      In Belgium religion is an obligatory subject and as such in the curriculum all pupils do have to learn about other world religions and in their education got to read the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible, the Christian (canonic) Bible and the Quran. By doing this they all can come to a better understanding of some one others faith and can easily get to see where people do say something different than in their so called Holy Scriptures. In such way false religious and fundamentalist groups are also much faster unmasked.

  2. I really like that your lesson has the students creating something as an end product. I remember trying to have students memorize these terms at one of my earlier placements and it was really hard for them to do without some sort of connection to the materials. The brochure model would have helped these kids visualize the pillars so much easier! You’ve really taken the time to build a lesson that will be memorable and easily accessible to students. Good job!

  3. Interesting idea for a lesson that should go well. One recommendation that will improve the product. At some point before they get to the design phase, bring in a real brochures for them to evaluate. You can get loads of them at most tourist oriented businesses. Let them study the brochures and lead the group in deciding what makes them informative, effective and attractive. They could even develop a rubric that would later be applied to their work.

  4. This is a very good initiative. But may we also do hope you give your pupils the right idea that there are also Christians in the world who do not hold onto the Trinitarian teaching of so many Christians. Only be getting to know both sites and having a full idea of what is said in both their Holy Scriptures Jews, Christians, Muslims and atheist can come to better understanding.

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