History KS2 / KS3: Invention & Innovation in Baghdad 900AD

Through this popular reality TV parody, pupils gain an insight into early Islamic inventions.

Harun Al-Rashid, Fatima, Usma and Al-Buruni form the panel of steely potential investors with dinar to present to Muslim inventors, if they can impress the panel with their products.

The products are real Muslim innovations circa AD900.

They include innovations in jewellery:

  • Al-Khwārizmī, the Persian mathematician, astronomer, geographer and scholar in the House of Wisdom in Baghdad with his a decimal counting system set to influence world mathematics.

  • Al-Rāzī, a Persian polymath, physician, alchemist, philosopher, and important figure in the history of medical science, who presents his ground-breaking surgical ideas including early anaesthesia.

Contrasts are made with British civilisation at the time.

This short film is from the BBC series, History of Early Civilisations - Islam. Through parodies of reality TV shows, this series introduces different aspects of life in the Islamic Golden Age, circa AD900.

Teacher Notes

Research a range of early Islamic inventions. Compare to innovations, for example in agriculture, in Britain in the same era. The short film gives the example of a fork.

Compile a class glossary of Islamic terms and create a crossword with definitions.

Create own models for museum display, with captions.

Plan own Lions’ Lair programme and critique other areas of early Islamic life seen in these clips about fashion, buildings, etc.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is suitable for teaching history at Key Stages 2 and 3 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and Second and Third Level in Scotland.

More from History of Early Civilisations

Maya Civilisation

Jobs in Maya civilisation
Fashion in Maya civilisation
What did Maya houses & buildings look like?
Mayan Innovations & Inventions
What did the Maya eat?


Islamic Golden Age, circa AD900

Jobs in 900AD Baghdad
Great Fashion in Baghdad 900AD
What food did they eat in Baghdad 900AD
How Houses looked in Baghdad 900AD