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Tangier Traveler

Could you travel 75,000 miles in 30 years? Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta did—by foot, horse, camel, or boat—in the 1300s. Invite students to trace his journey and imagine the marvels he saw!

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. The legendary Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta lived by this motto: "Never, if possible, cover any road a second time." In 30 years he ventured on horse, camel, foot, and boat. Battuta visited countries from Morocco through North and East Africa, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, India, Indonesia, and into China. Imagine traveling more than 75,000 miles—without a car or a plane!
    2. Read Traveling Man, The Journey of Ibn Battuta by James Rumford. Invite students to read and research to learn more about this little-known explorer. Trace his journeys on maps before creating a drawing of a fascinating marvel that he visited.
    3. Once student research is complete, children will begin their artwork by framing their pictures. Ask students to draw a rectangle in the center of their paper using Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils. Within the rectangle, use Crayola Twistables to draw and color a scene from one of the fascinating places Battuta visited. Students may draw in corner photos tabs to create a contemporary photo album look.
    4. Around the frame of each picture, suggest students use their imagination to draw swirls of color with Crayola Gel Markers. Inside the swirls, write a caption with a Crayola Fine Tip Marker to explain drawings.
    5. Provide time in the school day for students to present their representations of Battuta's journeys to small groups of classmates.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

    MATH: Solve problems involving measurement and conversion of measurements from a larger unit to a smaller unit.

    SS: Give examples of how experiences may be interpreted differently by people from diverse cultural perspectives and frames of reference.

    SS: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.

    SS: Demonstrate an understanding that people in different times and places view the world differently.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Traveling Man: The Journey of Ibn Battuta 1325-1354 by James Rumford; Grt Explorers 2D (Audio CD) by David Angus; Marco Polo for Kids: His Marvelous Journey to China, 21 Activities by Janis Herbert; Who Was Marco Polo? by Joan Holub; Marco Polo by Demi

    Students work in small groups to create a world map, including borders of countries that existed during the life of Ibn Battuta. Label each country with the appropriate name for the era. Trace Batutta's travels on the map for a specific time period (5 years or so). At each stop, students write a brief description (3-5 sentences) describing what Batutta experienced there. Display student maps in public place, organizing them sequentially.

    Individually, students select one of the many places Ibn visited in his travels. Using recycled materials, create a diorama illustrating a scene that Ibn may have seen upon arriving. If time permits, encourage students to create a second diorama illustrating what that same place looks like now.

    Students research the travels and adventures of Marco Polo. Create an electronic presentation that compares and contrasts Ibn Batutta's experiences with those of Marco Polo.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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