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Tip of the Week – PERSIA graphic organizer

Today’s tip focuses on helping kids to organize basic information about a specific topic, country or period of history. An acronym called PERSIA, this simple graphic organizer breaks down general knowledge into six broad human concerns and over-arching questions:

  • Political: Who is in charge?
  • Economic: How do we make a living?
  • Religion: What do we believe?
  • Social: How do we relate to one another?
  • Intellectual / Arts: How do we learn? How do we express ourselves?
  • Area / Geography: How does where we live impact how we live?

When students are asked to study a time period in history, they sometimes have difficulty organizing all the seemingly unconnected facts about different people, dates, events, and issues related to that time period. The PERSIA approach is one way to organize how the people lived in a society at a certain time in history and so help students to understand that culture.

By considering in turn different dimensions of a historical period or event, students probe deeply into the many facets and implications of the past. Because of the depth of resources available online and in print, students can easily find evidence to support their investigations into all six of these areas. Shmoop, Wikipedia and the World History Resources page at Social Studies Central are a few of the online tools that may be helpful.

(Download a pdf version here.)

You can also help students break each broad category down by providing the following specifics:


  • Structure
  • War
  • Treaties
  • Courts/Laws
  • Leaders
  • Popular participation
  • Loyalty to leader


  • State control on trade/industry
  • Agriculture/Industry importance
  • Labor systems
  • Levels of Technology
  • Levels of International Trade
  • Gender and Slaves
  • Money System


  • Importance on societal interaction
  • Holy Books
  • Beliefs/Teachings
  • Conversion – role of missionaries
  • Sin/Salvation
  • Deities


  • Family order – patriarchal, matriarchal
  • Gender Relations – role of women, children
  • Social Classes – slavery
  • Entertainment
  • Life Styles


  • Art and Music
  • Writing/Literature
  • Philosophy
  • Math/Science
  • Education
  • Inventions


  • Location
  • Physical
  • Movement
  • Human/Environment

Need something simpler for younger kids?

Go with just the PEGS – Political, Economic, Geographic, Social – and back off a bit on your expectations for specific information.

Have fun!

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. David #

    Thank you for sharing this! I first came accross this acronym when I was in highschool and was trying to find it again to aid my college studies. I wish I could find this pattern already applied to my discipline (middle east studies) but am happy to find it at all.

    June 10, 2012
    • glennw #

      Glad we could help. Good luck with studies!


      June 11, 2012
  2. This is a great synopsis of PERSIA…any ideas for American Government and Civics (10th Grade) in terms of authentic, engaging assessment?

    August 29, 2013
  3. Maureen #

    In AP World history we use PERSIA, but we also use SPICE quite often. It stands for: Social (transformation of Social structures), Political (state building, empires, and conflict), Interaction (between humans and the environment), Cultural (development and interaction of Cultures), and Economics (creation, expansion, and interaction of Economic systems).

    September 14, 2015
    • glennw #

      Sweet! Haven’t heard of SPICE and I kind of think I like it better. Especially the Interaction piece. Thanks for sharing!


      September 14, 2015

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