Featured Resource: 1001 Inventions


In recent years, there has been a slow decrease in the number of students choosing science for post-16 study, leading to much debate about the ways in which the subject is taught in the UK's primary and secondary schools. To combat the lack of interest within the subject area, the Development Education Association and the Association for Science Education (ASE) have produced a detailed teaching resource pack; Science: The Global Dimension. They have found that by bringing the global dimension into the classroom, students will start to engage more with the topic area. The global dimension to science can include:
- exploring and debating the role of science and scientists in a global context;
- incorporating concepts of global citizenship and sustainable development;
- raising awareness of human rights, poverty and injustice;
- communicating the idea of mutual interdependence.

With this in mind, our Featured Resource is 1001 Inventions, a unique resource that allows teachers, students and those from the wider community - both Muslim and non-Muslim - to discover the connections between Islam and science. In fact, according to 1001 Inventions, visitors to the site seem to be 40% Muslim and 60% non-Muslim. The project was launched in March 2006 and is committed to revealing the rich heritage the Muslim community shares with other communities in the UK, Europe and across the world.

The site highlights the period 600-1600CE as an exciting time in Muslim history. The impact of ancient Islamic culture on modern society can be discovered within seven zones: home, school, market, hospital, town, world and universe. Inside each zone, visitors can learn that 1000 years of Muslim civilisation played an influential part in shaping modern society - a relatively unknown fact in the West. For example, there are extracts detailing how inventions and discoveries from windmills to coffee were positive contributions inherited from the Muslim world and a game that allows individuals to see the Arabic influences in the English language.

1001 Inventions has a downloadable resource pack available for teachers and there is also a supplement pack available for teachers in Scotland. The activities are aimed at Key Stage 3 and GCSE level. There are nine activities, each with individual lesson plans highlighting how the topic links with the national curriculum, the learning objectives and web links/further reading. Activities include, Seeing in the Dark, Coffee, Build it Strong, Pharmacy and Perfume.

Also, available on 1001 Inventions is City 1250 is a colourful and innovative resource that has been developed by the ASE Global. Students watch a short film (approximately 7 minutes) in which 4 teenagers discuss their forthcoming year on the fictional reality TV show City 1250. Each teenager tells of his/her worries about living in a reconstructed city in the Islamic world in the year 1250. Students then use the worksheets provided to discover how the science and technology of the time addresses each of the teenager's worries. They learn about the advances of Muslim scientists in eight vital fields including; Paper and Pen, SatNav, Diamond, Keeping Clean and Moon. Each student can then consider how the work of ancient Muslim scientists influenced present scientists and will continue to influence future scientists. There are also teacher’s notes available to accompany this resource.

Finally, the website has sections with documentaries, games/quizzes, academic sources, a weblog and links to external websites such as Science in Schools and Muslim Heritage. 1001 Inventions have also devised supporting material including a 1001 Inventions book and a 1001 Inventions travelling exhibition.  All of the above activities and resources engage students to look at the subject area with a new light while promoting global and cultural understanding through science. Important aims of the site include 'to promote the concept of scientific and technological innovation as a positive and constructive channel of personal expression of beliefs, as an alternative to religious isolationism and extremism and to inspire people especially young people from both Muslim and non-Muslim backgrounds to find career role models in science and engineering.'

News articles on Islam and Science:

Guardian article, 30 January 2008, ‘It's time to herald the Arabic science that prefigured Darwin and Newton’
Telegraph article, 29 January 2008, 'Science: Islam's forgotten geniuses'
Guardian article, 29 May 2007, ‘The evolution of daft ideas’
BBC Radio 4, 2 December 2003, ‘Lab and the Mosque’
Education Guardian, 2 September 2002, 'How Islam kick started science'



Other science resources on the Real Histories Directory:

African-Caribbean Network for Science and Technology
Cambridgeshire Education Portal
Great Hindu Pioneers of Science

Science Across the World
Science: The Global Dimension
The GLOBE Programme
Afrikan Science


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