Source:  Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. Understanding by Design. Merrill Prentice Hall: 1998.
                For further information about Backward Design refer to


Title: Islam Inheritance Mathematics    Subject/Course: Math

 Topic: Algebra     Grade(s): 8  Designer(s): Pam Joseph

Stage 1 Desired Results

Established Goal(s)

(enter goals here)

M8N. Number and Operations
Students will understand concepts of large and small numbers and apply them to real world situations.
M8P. Process Skills
Students will apply mathematical concepts and skills in the context of authentic problems and will understand concepts rather than merely following the sequence of procedures. They will also use the process standards as a way acquiring and using content knowledge.

M8P1. Using appropriate technology the student will solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other context.
a.  Solve non-routine word problems using strategies learned in previous grades.
b.  Solves single and multi-step routine word problems related to all appropriate eighth grade math standards. 
c.  Determine the operation(s) needed to solve a problem.
d.  Determine the most efficient way to solve a problem (mentally, paper/pencil, or calculator).

M8P2. Students will investigate, develop, and evaluate mathematical arguments.

M8P3. Students will use the language of mathematics to express ideas precisely.

M8P4. Students understand how mathematical ideas interconnect and build on one another and apply mathematics in other content areas.

M8P5. Students will create and use pictures, manipulatives, models and symbols to organize, record, and communicate mathematical ideas.




Understanding(s) Students will understand...

1.      how a woman's estate is divided among her beneficiaries according to Islamic inheritance law

2.   that the method of dividing a woman's estate in Islamic inheritance law involves adding and subtracting fractions which represent the parts of the woman's estate

3.   that in Islamic inheritance law sons receive twice as much as daughters, and a stranger's share must be paid first

4.   how women are viewed in the Islamic culture

Essential Question(s)

1.     What is the definition of Algebra?

2.   What do the terms inheritance and estate mean?

3.   What are fractions and how are they converted to whole numbers?

4.   What are some problem-solving steps in mathematics?

5.   How are fractions added, subtracted, multiplied and divided?






Students will know...

 1. that a major Arab mathematician named Muhammad Ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi wrote an influential textbook in about 820 called Calculation by Restoration and Reduction that is known today as Algebra.

2. that in the second half of this book, there are problems about the Islamic law of inheritance and that according to the law when a woman dies her husband receives one-quarter of her estate and the rest is divided among her children so that a son receives twice as much as a daughter

3. that if the woman chooses to leave money to a stranger, the stranger cannot receive more than one-third of the estate without the approval of the heirs and that if only some of the heirs approve, the approving heirs must pay the stranger out of their own shares the amount that exceeds one-third of the estate.

4. that whether approved by all heirs or not, the stranger's share must be paid before the rest is shared out among the heirs.

Students will be able to...

1. Understand an example Islamic inheritance problem.

2.  Solve an Islamic law inheritance problem.

3. Write out all of their calculations.

4. Check to make sure that all of the beneficiary sums equal the total estate.




Stage 2 Assessment Evidence


Performance Task(s) Summary in G.R.A.S.P.S. form

1.       Show the example problem from Al-Khwarizmi's Algebra:

      A woman dies leaving a husband, a son and three daughters. She also leaves a bequest consisting of 1/8 + 1/7 of her estate to a stranger. She leaves $224,000. Calculate the shares of her estate that go to each of her beneficiaries. 

      Solution: The stranger receives 1/8 + 1/7 = 15/56 of the estate, leaving 41/56 to be shared out among the family.  The husband receives one-quarter of what remains, or 1/4 of 41/56 = 41/224.  The son and the three daughters receive their shares in the ratio 2:1:1:1 so the son's share is two fifths of the estate after the stranger and husband have been given their bequests and each daughter's share is one fifth. (2+1+1+1+1=5). 

      If the total estate is $224,000, the shares received by each beneficiary will be:

      Stranger- 15/56 of $224,000 = $60,000.

      Husband- 41/224 of $224,000 = $41,000.

      Son- 2/5 of ($224,000-101,000) = $49,200.

      Each daughter- 1/5 of ($224,000-101,000) = $24,600.

      TOTAL = $224,000

2. Give the students their project which is the following: Solve this Islamic law inheritance problem-a woman's estate totals $72,000. She dies leaving a husband, two sons and two daughters. In her will, she leaves a bequest of 1/9 + 1/6 of her estate to a stranger. Calculate how much of her estate each of her beneficiaries will receive. Write out all your calculations. Check to make sure your beneficiary sums equal the total estate.


The original lesson plan that this lesson plan was adapted from is on the following website


Other Evidence

  • Teacher observation of groups

  • Assessment of student work




Stage 3 Learning Plan

Learning Activities Consider the W.H.E.R.E.T.O. elements.