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Monday January 24, 2005
Pre-Intermediate +

THE ARTICLE

Three Muslim pilgrims died and 500 others were wounded earlier today as the final day of the Muslim ceremony of Hajj ended in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. A record two and a half million plus worshippers took part in the most important and sacred event in the Muslim calendar. Last year 251 people were killed in a stampede, but new safety measures by Saudi authorities prevented a similar disaster this year. The three deaths happened at the end of the three-day pilgrimage, at the “Jamarat”, in which thousands of people enter a square enclosure to throw stones at three pillars, which symbolize the devil. The crowds have to circle the pillars seven times, which can be a perilous ritual with the possibility of stampedes and being crushed to death. It is the religious duty of all Muslims to make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their life, if they can afford it. The end of the pilgrimage means the beginning of Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice. This holiday, the most important in Islam, symbolizes Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son for God.

Lesson & plan in Word.doc     Example Class Handout in .pdf

POSSIBLE WARM UPS / COOL DOWNS

1. CHAT:  Talk in pairs or groups about Islam / Mecca / Hajj / pilgrimage / Saudi Arabia / most important religious holiday / Abraham …
To make things more dynamic, try telling your students they only have one minute (or 2) on each chat topic before changing topics / partners. Change topic / partner frequently to energize the class.

2. MECCA BRAINSTORM: Ask students to tell you any words they associate with Mecca. Put these words on the board and leave as a springboard for student conversation / chat.

3. MY COUNTRY: Students talk about the religious holidays and festivals in their own country.

4. PILGRIMAGE: The three-day journey to Mecca is one of the world’s great pilgrimages, and the ultimate for Muslims. Talk about the greatest journey you have undertaken.

5. ISLAM: Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world. Compare the beliefs of Islam with other religions. As a class, how many similarities can you find / think of between Islam and other faiths?


 
 

PRE-READING IDEAS

1. WORD SEARCH: Students look in their dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … of the words ‘Muslim’, and ‘pilgrim’.

2. TRUE / FALSE: Students look at the headline and predict whether they believe the following statements are true or false:
(a)  Three Muslim pilgrims died at the final day of the Muslim ceremony of Hajj.  T / F
(b)  The Hajj takes place every year in Iraq.  T / F
(c)  A record two and a half million plus worshippers took part in this year’s Hajj.  T / F
(d)  The Hajj is the second most important event in the Muslim calendar.  T / F
(e)  Last year 251 people were killed in a stampede.  T / F
(f)  New safety measures b y Saudi authorities prevented a similar disaster this year.  T / F
(g)  Thousands of people enter a square enclosure to throw money at three pillars, which represent the devil.  T / F
(h)  The Feast of the Sacrifice is a holiday which symbolizes Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son for God.  T / F

3. SYNONYM MATCH: Students match the following synonyms from the article:

(a) pilgrim columns
(b) ceremony holy
(c) worshipper obligation
(d) took part stand for
(e) sacred traveler
(f) disaster believer
(g) pillars celebration
(h) symbolize participated
(i) duty kiss goodbye
(j) sacrifice catastrophe

 

4. PHRASE MATCH: Students match the following phrases based on the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

(a) 500 others measures
(b) sacred duty
(c) killed in pilgrimage to Mecca
(d) safety to death
(e) Saudi were wounded
(f) three-day event
(g) crushed authorities
(h) religious pilgrimage
(i) make the a stampede
(j) at least once in their life
  

WHILE READING ACTIVITIES

1. GAP-FILL:  Put the missing words under each paragraph into the gaps.

Muslim Hajj ends

Three Muslim __________ died and 500 others were wounded earlier today as the final day of the Muslim ceremony of Hajj ended in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. A __________ two and a half million plus worshippers took part in the most important and __________ event in the Muslim calendar. Last year 251 people were killed in a stampede, but new safety __________ by Saudi authorities prevented a similar disaster this year. The three deaths happened at the end of the three-day pilgrimage, at the “Jamarat”, in which thousands of people enter a square enclosure to throw stones at three pillars, which __________ the devil. The crowds have to __________ the pillars seven times, which can be a perilous ritual with the possibility of stampedes and being crushed to death. It is the __________ duty of all Muslims to make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their life, if they can afford it. The end of the pilgrimage means the beginning of Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice. This holiday, the most important in Islam, symbolizes Abraham's __________ to sacrifice his son for God.

 

measures
pilgrims
circle
sacred
willingness
record
symbolize
religious

2. TRUE/FALSE:  Students check their answers to the T/F exercise.

3. SYNONYMS:  Students check their answers to the synonyms exercise.

4. PHRASE MATCH:  Students check their answers to the phrase match exercise.

5. QUESTIONS: Students make notes for questions they would like to ask the class about the article.

6. VOCABULARY:  Students circle any words they do not understand. In groups pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find the meanings.


 
 

POST READING IDEAS

1. GAP-FILL: Check the answers to the gap-fill exercise.

2. QUESTIONS:  Students ask the discussion questions they thought of above to their partner / group / class. Pool the questions for all students to share.

3. VOCABULARY: As a class, go over the vocabulary students circled above.

4. STUDENT-GENERATED SURVEY: Pairs/Groups write down 3 questions based on the article. Conduct their surveys alone. Report back to partners to compare answers. Report to other groups / the whole class.

5. ‘MUSLIM’/ ‘PILGRIM’: Students make questions based on their findings from pre-reading activity #1.

6. DISCUSSION:  Students ask each other the following questions:
(a)  What do you think of the Hajj?
(b)  Would you like to go to Mecca?
(c)  Have you ever been on a pilgrimage?
(d)  Do you perform any religious duties?
(e)  Do you believe there is a devil?
(f)  In your culture is there a ritual or custom to make the devil go away?
(g)  What is the biggest religious holiday in your country, and how is it celebrated?
(h)  Do you have any beliefs, or any things, that are sacred to you?
(i)  Have you ever made a big sacrifice?
(j)  What small sacrifices do you make every day / week?
(k)  Islam also believes in the existence of Abraham, and Jesus but is seen as being so different, Why do you think that is?
(l)  What is your image of Saudi Arabia?
(m) Teacher’s / Students’ additional questions.

HOMEWORK

1. VOCAB EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or the Google search field to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on the Muslim Hajj. Share your findings with your class next lesson.

3. MECCA POSTER: Create a poster explaining the importance of Mecca.

4. LETTER HOME: You are on the pilgrimage in the desert to Mecca with 2,500,000 other people from all around the world. Write a letter home to describe your experiences.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:
(a)  Three Muslim pilgrims died at the final day of the Muslim ceremony of Hajj.  T
(b)  The Hajj takes place every year in Iraq.  F
(c)  A record two and a half million plus worshippers took part in this year’s Hajj.  T
(d)  The Hajj is the second most important event in the Muslim calendar.  F
(e)  Last year 251 people were killed in a stampede.  T
(f)  New safety measures by Saudi authorities prevented a similar disaster this year.  T
(g)  Thousands of people enter a square enclosure to throw money at three pillars, which represent the devil.  F
(h)  The Feast of the Sacrifice is a holiday which symbolizes Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son for God.  T

DEFINITIONS:

(a) pilgrims (n)
(ii) religious devotee who makes a long journey to a shrine or sacred place

(b) worshippers (n)
(i) people who have religious faith and prays every day and regularly goes to church / mosque / synagogue / temple…

(c) sacred (adj)
(i) dedicated to or a highly something highly important in a religion

(d) stampede (n)
(i) a sudden and often dangerous rush of a crowd of people all running together

(e) enclosure (n)
(i) a square space that has walls on all four sides, used for some purpose

(f) symbolize (v)
(ii) to represent or identify by a symbol

(g) perilous (adj)
(ii) full of danger

(h) ritual (n)
(i) the understood order of ceremonies in a religious ceremony

(i) duty (n)
(ii) an act or action that is necessary because of your position, social custom, law, or religion

(j) sacrifice (n)
(i) the act of giving away something you love to a God

SYNONYM MATCH:

(a)

pilgrim

traveler

(b)

ceremony

celebration

(c)

worshipper

believer

(d)

took part

participated

(e)

sacred

holy

(f)

disaster

catastrophe

(g)

pillars

columns

(h)

symbolize

stand for

(i)

duty

obligation

(j)

sacrifice

kiss goodbye

PHRASE MATCH:

(a)

500 others

were wounded

(b)

sacred

pilgrimage

(c)

killed in

a stampede

(d)

safety

measures

(e)

Saudi

authorities

(f)

three-day

event

(g)

crushed

to death

(h)

religious

duty

(i)

make the

pilgrimage to Mecca

(j)

at least once

in their life

 

GAP FILL:

Muslim Hajj ends

Three Muslim pilgrims died and 500 others were wounded earlier today as the final day of the Muslim ceremony of Hajj ended in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. A record two and a half million plus worshippers took part in the most important and sacred event in the Muslim calendar. Last year 251 people were killed in a stampede, but new safety measures by Saudi authorities prevented a similar disaster this year. The three deaths happened at the end of the three-day pilgrimage, at the “Jamarat”, in which thousands of people enter a square enclosure to throw stones at three pillars, which symbolize the devil. The crowds have to circle the pillars seven times, which can be a perilous ritual with the possibility of stampedes and being crushed to death. It is the religious duty of all Muslims to make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their life, if they can afford it. The end of the pilgrimage means the beginning of Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice. This holiday, the most important in Islam, symbolizes Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son for God.

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