Title: Oil in Oman 224

Key Words: petroleum, Oman

National Standard: 4 (Physical and human characteristics of a place)

State Standard: 11 (Physical and human geographic features of places and regions)

Teaching Level: Middle School

Introduction: Since the 1960s most of Oman's income has come from petroleum. Although many of its people still struggle to make a living, its economy is growing. In this lesson, students are introduced to how much oil has changed Oman and its capital, Muscat. The "Before/After" activity can be used to show how any resource has had a major impact on any country, state, or town.

Objective: Students will describe the impact of oil on the economy and culture of Oman by making a Before/After scene.

Materials: Atlas, drawing paper, and Handout: Sultanate of Oman - Before and After Oil Wealth.

Procedure: Distribute the handout Sultanate of Oman - Before and After Oil Wealth. Give students time to read through it. Elicit responses. Tell students they will use the lists to draw before and after scenes of Oman's capital city area, Muscat. Allow about half the class period for completion of this task.

Students may exchange their scenes and discuss with each other the changes they chose to show.

Once they get their scenes returned to them, ask them to think of the impact of all those changes on the building industry, the fresh water supply (critical for the Middle East), and the difficulty keeping foreign influences on their culture to a minimum.

Draw conclusions. Some examples are: Oil causes great change to the country in which it is discovered.
Nations must cope with the positive and negative changes.

Evaluation/Assessment: The Before/After scene made in class can be scored using a simple rubric: neatness, completeness, and accuracy - each equal to one third of the grade. Neatness includes lettering and illustrations (no crossouts, neat erasures, no tears or wrinkles on the paper).
Completeness includes a title, both before and after scenes shown with at least five elements in each scene, the more detail the better the score. Labels should also be included to identify what the student intended to represent. This is important because not all students can draw to their own satisfaction, and the grade is based on information not artistic talent. Accuracy includes correct information. Any detail students include from their own ideas must be backed up with a citation.

Extension/Enrichment: Since oil wealth has brought an increase in population to the countries of the Middle East, their supplies of fresh water have been stressed. Desalination plants are still very expensive to operate. Some say that water will be more expensive than oil in the next century. Plan an advertising campaign for one of our New Hampshire water bottling plants to use in Oman. Planning on a successful campaign, how do you think this will affect the water resources of New Hampshire?

Develop a plan for Oman to prepare for the time when it no longer has enough oil to keep its country from going bankrupt. How can it diversify its economy? What are its other resources?

What if oil were discovered in my town? How would it change? Would you stay or move? What would be good and bad about the changes?

Reflection: How successful was this lesson? Did all students benefit? Were there any surprises? What might you do differently another time? Please note any changes that will make this lesson more effective and useful in the future and pass them along to the NHGA. We appreciate your comments.
Thank you,
The authors

Handout: Sultanate of Oman Before and After Oil Wealth

Before:
1. Capital city, Muscat, was a walled city closing at 9:00 p.m. It had no street lights.
2. Muscat has been a center of trade since ancient times, partly due to its location.
3. Tourism was not allowed.
4. Natives were not allowed to marry foreigners; prospective husbands must buy wives.
5. Drinking in public was forbidden.
6. The press was restricted.
7. Some forbidden things are: radio, TV, medicines, eyeglasses, trousers.
8. Only Islamic schools.
9. Fifteen telephones in the entire country.
10. Two small hospitals.
11. One small electric generator as of 1990.
12. Only a few miles of paved roads; wadis used as roads.
13. Shopping in souks and bazaars.
14. Ruler called the Sultan, the absolute monarch in an Islamic state.
15. Economic activities are: fishing along coasts; waters, trade in frankincense, copper mining in northern hills, oasis farming of dates, nuts, and limes.

After Oil Wealth:
1. More modern capital city with street lights, hotels, more roads, cars, airport, and restaurants.
2. Tourists allowed but must behave in public.
3. Marriage laws are changing but still remain fairly strict.
4. Drinking allowed in hotels, but there is a fine for being drunk.
5. The press is tolerated.
6. Traditional dress and modern, more westernized dress now seen.
7. Many schools including technical colleges and universities.
8. 13,000 telephones by 1970.
9. More hospitals and more modern facilities.
10. More than 2000 miles of paved roads in the area; traffic jams of both camels and modern transportation can be seen.
11. Shopping in traditional souks and bazaars as well as modern stores and shopping centers.
12. Still ruled by a sultan with absolute power in an Islamic state.
13. Over 600,000 barrels of oil a day is produced.
14. Increase in population to an estimated total of 1,677,000 in 1993.
15. Additional economic activities in refining oil products, mining oil, natural gas, and chromium.


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