World Studies Unit 1 Theme: World Religions

Getting started
Overview of unit theme

Major religions have had a fundamental impact on historical interaction. Knowing the basic development, beliefs, and locations of these religions allows students to better understand human interaction throughout world history. World religions have influenced:

  • Development of culture
  • Development of ideas (ex. Renaissance and Reformation)
  • Migration
  • Conflict
  • Economics/trade
  • International relations

Note to teacher: review and discuss (as appropriate) the district document Culturally Responsive Teaching: Sensitivity Guidelines Creating a Culturally Safe Environment

Essential questions
  • What are the differences and similarities between major world religions?
  • How have various world religions interacted throughout history?
Background reading
Need to know Words Places People and Things
Unit plan
Connections to ABC-CLIO
Guiding questions
Connections to the text
(eras, events,
geographic locations,
  • How did Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity develop?
    • What are their basic beliefs? Symbols? Traditions? Locations?
  • How do religions shape the development of culture?
  • How are religions and movement tied together?
  • How have religions come into conflict with each other?
  • How have religions affected economics and trade?
  • How have religions affected international relations?


  • Christianity: development of culture and literacy (Catholic cathedrals, universities and Gutenberg Bible in Europe)
  • Judaism: migration (WWII Jewish Exodus and resettlement in Israel)
  • Hinduism: conflict (partition of India; Hindu-Muslim conflict)
  • Islam: economics/trade (trade junction between Europe, Africa and Asia)
  • Buddhism: international relations (Buddhist missionaries; Tibet)
  • Interpreting and analyzing primary sources
  • Applying an understanding of geography to historical events
  • Understanding historical context and bias
  • Evaluating and analyzing point-of-view
  • Participate in Socratic Seminar or class discussion
  • Supporting analysis with accurate evidence
  • Research relevant primary and secondary sources
  • Comparing and contrasting in research paper
Supporting videos
Sample formative assessments
  • Informal student response quizzes (w/responders)
  • Socratic seminar
  • Journal questions
  • Vocabulary questions
  • Geography activity
  • Reading assessment
  • Document-Based Question (DBQ)
Sample summative assessments
  • Compare and contrast research paper in MLA/CBA format
  • Comparative world religions chart
  • Essay test involving essential questions
  • Vocabulary concept map
  • Map of world religions
  • Document-Based Question (DBQ)
Suggested CBA
Other resources
EALR/GLEs (links to ABC-CLIO)

1.3.1: Analyzes the relationship and tensions between national interests and international issues in world history (1450-present)

Economics 2.1.1: Analyzes how the costs and benefits of economic choices have shaped events in world history (1450-present)
Geography 3.1.2: Identifies major world regions and understands their cultural roots.
3.2.2: Understands and analyzes examples of ethnocentrism
3.2.3: Understands the causes and effects of voluntary and involuntary migration in the world in the past or present.
3.3.1: Understands how the geography of expansion and encounter has shaped global politics and economics in the past or present.

4.1.1: Analyzes change and continuity within a historical time period.
4.2.1: Analyzes how individuals and movements have shaped World History (1450-present)
4.2.2: Analyzes how cultures and cultural groups have shaped world history (1450-present)
4.3.1: Analyzes and interprets historical materials from a variety of perspectives in world history (1450-present)
4.3.2: Analyzes the multiple causal factors of conflicts in world history (1450-present)
4.4.1: Analyzes how an understanding of world history can help us prevent problems today.

SS Skills

5.1.1: Analyzes consequences of an issue or event
5.2.1: Creates and uses research questions that are tied to an essential question to focus inquiry on social studies issues and historical events
5.3.1: Evaluates one’s own viewpoint and the viewpoints of others in the context of a discussion.