Education:Oil and the Unification of Saudi Arabia



Grade/Subject: Grade 9 / World History

Time Required for Completed Lesson

40 minutes


6.2.12.C.3.d, 6.2.12.D.4.h

Common Core State Standards

RH.11-12.7. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.


Internet / YouTube access, rulers, pencils and graph paper

Anticipatory Set

Review with students previously discussed unification movements (Germany and Italy). What made unification possible in these areas? What individuals do we associate with the unification movements?


Introduce students to video clips from the PBS Frontline special House of Saud. The first video explains the role of the Ikhwan in the unification of Arabia and the second explains early exploration for oil and the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Students are to take notes on the video clips. Using these notes the students create a crossword puzzle with 10 clues across and 10 clues down. The answers to the crossword puzzle should be on a separate sheet of paper. It is important to share the assignment instructions with the students before watching the video clips. If your students have never created a crossword puzzle before you may want to have an example available. Be prepared to stop the video clips frequently to check for comprehension and answer questions. The video clips are about twenty minutes long. At the conclusion of video clips review the crossword puzzle assignment. Hand out the materials. The crossword puzzle can be started in class and completed at home. When the crossword puzzles are returned – redistribute them in class for another student to complete as a review.


Transcripts are available for the video clips on the PBS website – see resources below. Students with penmanship accommodations can use the computer to create the crossword puzzle. Extended time can be allowed for the written essay.


Completed crossword puzzles can be used to assess student comprehension; students can also answer one of the following in a five paragraph essay: Compare and contrast the unification movement in Saudi Arabia either Germany or Italy or what role does oil play in the modern day absolute monarchy of Saudi Arabia?


Language arts


Have students summarize and orally present their essays to the class.


Unification of Germany and Italy Slideshow

PBS Frontline House of Saud Homepage

Clip from House of Saud – Part 1 Ikhwan

Clip from House of Saud – Part 2 Oil

Crossword Puzzle Maker