Tag Archives: teaching kids about Iran

10 Things Kids Should Know About Iran

Photo courtesy ISNA

Iran has been in the news a great deal over the past several months and the Middle Eastern nation will likely continue to be in the headlines for a long time to come. Here are 10 things kids should know about Iran beyond the headlines.

1. Until 1935, Iran was known as Persia. Persia has had a vast cultural influence on the world in areas such as art, architecture, music, the weaving of rugs, science, and much more.

2. Iran borders the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea. It shares land borders with Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq.

3. Iran is the 18th-largest country on earth. It is slightly smaller than Alaska.

4. Persian is the official language but more than six other languages are also spoken.

5. 98% of the population practices Islam, with 89% following the Shia Islam and 9% following Sunni Islam.

6. One in four people in Iran are under the age of 14.

7. The vast majority of the population – 71% – live in urban areas.

8. Most children attend school for 13 years.

9. Most Iranians work in the services sector but industry and agriculture are also important.

10. Iranians use money called a rial.

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In the News: Iran

For most of the past ten days, I’ve been following the news from Iran via Twitter and Youtube.  Many of the videos from the protests have been frightening and violent, which makes it difficult to discuss the situation with children and students.  But I think it’s important for children to be aware of what’s happening in other parts of the world.  At minimum, it gives them a greater appreciation for the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.  It can also lead to a better understanding of our place in the world and what challenges other people face.

art.iran.women.afp.giIn discussing the situation in Iran, I think it’s best to frame it in terms children understand.  One thing children understand is the power of authority.  They have to deal with their parents, teachers, principal, babysitters, and older siblings all wielding authority over them.  Even on the playground and in the classroom, other children may attempt to exert authority over them (Who hasn’t heard a child shriek, “You’re not the boss of me!”).  So how does one gain authority?  Is might always right?  What happens when people reject authority?

Children have an iron-clad definition of what is fair but they don’t have a strong grasp of how they can respond to situations they don’t find fair.  It’s interesting to talk to them about what other people do to assert themselves – even when they don’t have armies and police armor – at their disposal.

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