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Troubled LeadershipTroubled-Leadership

  • Subject: World History
  • |
  • Grade(s): 6-8
  • |
  • Duration: Two class periods

Lesson Plan Sections


Students will
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of Tutankhamen and Suleiman.
  • Discuss how each leader was influenced by people close to him.
  • Write an essay about the role that one person played in the leader's life and rule.


  • Troubled Leadership video and VCR, or DVD and DVD player
  • Resources about Tutankhamen and Suleiman
  • Computer with Internet access


  1. After watching Troubled Leadership, discuss the two rulers featured in the video: the Egyptian King Tutankhamen and the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman. When did each man rule?(Tutankhamen: 1333-23 B.C.; Suleiman: A.D. 1520-66) From which city did each man rule?(Tutankhamen began his reign in Akhetaten — now called Amarna — and then moved back to the traditional royal city of Thebes. Suleiman ruled from Istanbul, previously known as Constantinople and Byzantium.) What were some of the significant events that occurred during each rule? How were their reigns different? How were they alike?

  2. Discuss a few of the people who were close to each leader.

    • King Tutankhamen: Akhenaten and Nefertiti, Ay, Ankhesenamen
    • Suleiman: Ibrahim, Roxalana, Prince Mustafa
  3. Tell students that their assignment is to write an essay describing the role that one person played in the life and rule of either Tutankhamen or Suleiman. They can write an objective, third-person essay or write from the point of view of the leader. The letter should include the following elements:

    • The person's relationship to the leader.
    • One significant event that reflects this person's role in the leader's life.
    • How the person may have felt about the leader, or how the leader felt about the person.
    • The overall impact or influence the person had on the leader's rule.
  4. Provide resources about King Tutankhamen and Suleiman the Magnificent.

  5. Have students share their completed essays with the class.

  6. Discuss how the impact these advisors had on the end of each man's reign.

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Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.
  • Three points: Students were active in class discussions; demonstrated a strong understanding of the reigns of Tutankhamen and Suleiman the Magnificent; wrote a clear, engaging essay that included all the requested information.
  • Two points: Students participated in class discussions; demonstrated a satisfactory understanding of the reigns of Tutankhamen and Suleiman the Magnificent; wrote a competent essay that included most of the requested information.
  • One point: Students did not participate in class discussions; demonstrated a weak understanding of the reigns of Tutankhamen and Suleiman the Magnificent; wrote an incomplete or vague essay that included little of the requested information.

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Definition : An oval shape enclosing the hieroglyphic symbols that represent the name of an ancient Egyptian king or queen.
Context : A ring with the cartouches of Ay and Ankhesenamen has lead some Egyptologists to believe the two married after Tutankhamen's death.

Definition : A soldier of an elite corps of Turkish troops organized in the 14th century and abolished in 1826.
Context : The janissaries formed Europe's first standing army.

Definition : A ruler in ancient Egypt; sometimes called a king.
Context : The pharaoh was seen as a divine link between the gods and the people.  

Definition : A king or sovereign, especially of a Muslim state.
Context : In the Ottoman Empire, few sultans reigned more than 20 years.  

Definition : A high executive officer or official; usually the most important position after the ruler
Context : Shortly after Tutankhamen became king, Ay became vizier of Egypt.

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Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
McREL's Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education addresses 14 content areas. To view the standards and benchmarks, visit

This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:

  • World History: Era 2 — Understands the major characteristics of civilization and the development of civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley.
  • World History: Era 6 — Understands how large territorial empires dominated much of Eurasia between the 16th and 18th centuries.
  • Historical Understanding: Understands the historical perspective.


The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)
NCSS has developed national guidelines for teaching social studies. To become a member of NCSS, or to view the standards online, go to

This lesson plan addresses the following thematic standards:

  • Culture
  • Time, Continuity, and Change
  • Power, Authority, and Governance


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Joy Brewster, curriculum writer, editor, and consultant

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