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Uyghur Mini-Unit

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Rebecca Blankenship
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Uyghur Mini-Unit

The Uygurs


A rationale for the proposed unit


This unit comes after we have looked studied the Silk Road and the spread of Islam and before we study the Mongol and Genghis Khan. This mini unit will seek to show students that while the history that we study may have happened hundreds of years ago, the ramifications are still being felt today.  They will be familiar with the historic Silk Road as well as China’s Belt and Road Initiative.



  • Students will be able to evaluate the role of Uyghurs in the context of the Silk Road and explain their impact on this network of trade routes. 

  • Students will be able to assess the past and current relationship between Uyghurs and Chinese society, including concerns over Chinese Communist Party policies to marginalize Uyghur communities through "re-education" camps and enhanced security. 


Lesson 1: Who are the Uyghurs?


Objective: Students will analyze a variety of cultural resources that are a part of Uyghur identity.


Guiding Question: What does it mean to be Uyghur?


Introduction: What do you know about the Uyghurs - Think, Pair, Share


Teacher will give students a brief background on the Uyghurs. Then the teacher will break students into small groups to research using the provided links and then create a poster about Uyghur culture.



Uyghur Cuisine Uyghur Festivals Uyghur Dress 

Uyghur Folk Music Uyghur Language 

Uyghur Literature

 The Origins of Uyghur Medicine: Debates and Perspectives science/article/pii/S2095754816000351 

Continuity of Musical Tradition:Performance of Islamic Stories among the Uyghur p=778 

Translation of Uyghur Names Into Mandarin Under Communist China


Students will be given one block period to research and create posters.  


Who are the Uygurs Day 2

Introduction: What was surprising about what you learned about the Uygurs?  What did you find interesting?  What questions do you have about the Uygurs?  Discuss


Show students Spirit of Asia: Who are the Uyghurs? Have the fill out the movie sheet below.


Discuss students takeaways from the film.


Day 3: China and the Uyghurs


Objective Students will be able to discuss the relationship between the Uyghurs and China.


Student will watch the Wall Street Journal video Life Inside China's Total Surveillance State 

After showing the video, have students discuss why Xianjiand is important to the Chinese government and how the Chinese government uses surveillance to track the Uyghurs.

Next show students Video: Life Inside China’s "Re-Education" Camps from Wall Street Journal. After showing the video, use the graffiti board strategy have student come up to the whiteboard and share how the information about the reeducation camps make them feel and what questions they have about what they saw. 

Teacher will capture the writing on the board and use that to start the discussion the next day in class.


Students will write a reflection in the form of a one to two paragraph journal entry explaining how the story of the Uygurs intersects with the history of the Silk Road.  How has their location benefited and served as liability for them?