Activities for
HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

 

Current Domestic Issues
War, Peace, Terrorism & Other Global Issues
The Middle East
Nuclear Weapons & Other Related Issues
Teaching Strategies


CURRENT DOMESTIC ISSUES:

BUST, BOOM & BANK BAILOUT (6/3/09) What fueled the housing boom and the bust that followed? Who was hurt? Who benefited? Two student readings explore the issues.

CHECKING LANGUAGE & FACTS IN THE HEALTHCARE DEBATE (5/20/09) Student readings include excerpts from a memo and an ad attacking Obama's reform plan as well as a description of that plan. Discussion questions call for critical thinking about language, factual, and substantive issues.

SHOULD ASSAULT WEAPONS BE BANNED? (5/13/09) Student readings review the origins of the AK-47, the 10-year federal ban on assault weapons, President Obama's views on guns, and the NRA's political clout. Discussion questions and an inquiry-oriented plan for "constructive controversy" follow.

HOW ORGANIC IS ORGANIC FOOD? (5/6/09) What is organic food exactly? Student activities include two readings, a quiz, a writing assignment and suggestions for further inquiry.

SCHOOL REFORM CONTROVERSY (4/29/09) Student readings address the chief issues in today's reform efforts, obstacles to reform, and critical views of mainstream school reform. Discussion questions and suggestions for student inquiries and writing follow.

TORTURE MEMOS & THE RULE OF LAW (4/27/09) A student reading includes excerpts from recently released memos on 'interrogation techniques' approved by the Bush administration; a second reading quotes President Obama's statement on the issue. Discussion questions and writing and citizenship activities follow.

GREEN INITIATIVES to Combat Climate Change (4/15/09) Student readings describe the scientific controversy over "tipping points," the Obama-Biden energy program, and plans to green the Empire State Building. Following the readings are suggestions for student-led green initiatives for Earth Day - or any other day.

Obama's strategy in AFGHANISTAN & PAKISTAN, with a DBQ (4/8/09) An introduction and two student readings discuss the president's view of the Afghanistan/Pakistan connection and what he thinks must be done in both countries. A companion Document-Based Question (DBQ) exercise asks students to consider and write about competing views of the president's strategy.

VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 1965, THEN & NOW (4/1/09) One student reading traces the orgins of the Voting Rights Act; a second discusses the recent Supreme Court decision limiting the Act's scope when it comes to drawing voter district lines.

FOOD BANKS FACE SURGING DEMAND (3/31/09) As millions of people lose their jobs, food banks are scrambling to meet the need. A student reading is followed by some suggestions for how students might help.

SUSPECTED TERRORISTS: The Bush Legacy & Obama's Response (3/18/09) Two student readings examine the Bush administration's detention of 'enemy combatants' and how the new administration is handling the issue.

AIG: Should Taxpayers Bail Out an 'Irresponsible' Company? (3/11/09) A student reading focuses on the housing boom and bust, why AIG foundered and why taxpayers are propping it up. Discussion questions and a suggested fish bowl discussion follow.

THE PENTAGON: A Budgetary 'Train Wreck'? (3/4/09) Student readings offer an overview of the defense budget and the Pentagon; explore the issues surrounding production of the F22; and discuss the military-industrial-congressional complex. Discussion questions follow. The accompanying DBQ exercise is described below.

DBQ: PENTAGON SPENDING. (3/4/09) In this Document-Based Question exercise, students consider and write an essay about competing views on defense spending.

Jonathan Schell: A TANGLE OF CRISES (2/25/09) A summary of Schell's essay describing the interconnected crises we face and their commonalities is followed by suggestions for discussion, inquiry, critical thinking and writing.

ECONOMIC CRISIS & THE PLAN FOR RECOVERY (2/18/09) Student readings and discussion questions address the the origins and impact of the economic crisis and President Obama's recovery plan.

STUDENT ACTION ON THE ECONOMIC CRISIS (2/10/09) How can teachers help their students understand and take action on problems stemming from the economic crisis? We propose a process for encouraging active student citizenship.

MONEY IN POLITICS: Earmarks & Revolving Doors (2/4/09) Student readings explore such practices as gift-giving, earmarks, and a revolving door that swings among people in government, the military and private industry. Discussion questions and possibilities for inquiry and active citizenship follow.

PRESIDENT OBAMA & AMERICA'S 3 CRISES (1/28/09) President Obama's inauguration address offered a continuing teachable moment for examining key issues facing the nation. A student reading including speech excerpts is followed by questions for discussion and inquiry.

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S INAUGURAL ADDRESS: An Effective Speech? (1/20/09) In this classroom lesson, students consider President Obama's inaugural address as a speech and in the context of past inaugural addresses.

LESSONS ON THE INAUGURATION for grades K-12 (posted 1/13/09) Our 15-page PDF booklet includes student readings and interactive lessons about the inauguration, Obama's inaugural speech, the challenges facing the new administration, and the inaugurals of presidents Lincoln and Roosevelt.

GOODBYE NEWSPAPERS? (1/14/09) A student dialogue and two readings examine the declining readership of newspapers, especially among young people.

LESSONS ON THE INAUGURATION for grades K-12 (posted 1/13/09) Our 15-page PDF booklet includes student readings and interactive lessons about the inauguration, Obama's inaugural speech, the challenges facing the new administration, and the inaugurals of presidents Lincoln and Roosevelt.

ISRAELIS & PALESTINIANS: 'A Clash between Right and Right' (updated 1/26/08) Student readings examine the current Gaza situation and other major issues; the U.S.-Israel alliance; and how President Obama might address the conflict. Discussion questions, inquiry suggestions, and a writing assignment follow.

GAY COUPLES & CIVIL RIGHTS (1/7/09) A student reading offers conflicting views on gay marriage, which became an inauguration issue when Barack Obama selected Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the invocation. A second reading discusses some major practical differences between civil union and marriage.

FDR and Barack Obama: Leading the Nation through Hard Times (12/30/08) Two student readings summarize the condition of the country as Roosevelt was inaugurated and highlight the New Deal. A third reading summarizes the situation in the U.S. today and Obama's economic recovery plan. Discussion questions and suggestions for further exploration follow.

MUMBAI ATTACK: Why South Asia Matters to America (12/17/08) Student readings and discussion questions address some basic questions about the attackand describe the interconnected problems in South Asia that will confront President Obama, including the conflict over Kashmir and the war against the Taliban.

'RESTORING THE RULE OF LAW' (11/25/08) Has the Bush administration flouted the rule of law through such actions as torture and unlawful detention of suspects? If so, what will the new president and Congress do about it? Three student readings and activities explore the issue.

What will President Obama do about THE GLOBAL WARMING TIME BOMB? (11/19/08) Student readings examining this crisis and President-elect Obama's plans to combat it are followed by discussion questions, subjects for inquiry, citizenship activities, and ideas for student follow-up after Obama is inaugurated.

What will President Obama do about AFGHANISTAN & PAKISTAN? (11/12/08) An opening exercise is followed by student readings on Afghanistan's "downward spiral" and Pakistan's involvement; limitations of an American military solution; and elements of a regional approach.

What will President Obama do about AMERICA'S ECONOMIC NIGHTMARE? (11/5/08) The new president-elect faces many challenges. Two student readings outline the economic crisis and Obama's prescriptions for addressing it. Discussion questions follow.

VOTE 2008: CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES ABOUT THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION for grades K-12 (10/27/08) This 20-page PDF booklet includes lively classroom activities to get students thinking, learning and talking. Grades K-1, grades 2-5, grades 4-8, and grades 6-12.

Nobel Prize-Winner Ahtisaari: 'EVERY CONFLICT CAN BE SOLVED' (10/29/08) A student reading and questions on the work of this former president of Finland and accomplished mediator.

Election 2008: THE ISSUE OF RACE (10/22/08) Language used at some McCain/Palin rallies has raised questions about racial bias in the 2008 presidential election. A student reading is followed by discussion questions and a student activity.

ENGAGING YOUR CLASS THROUGH GROUPWORK (10/22/08) Educator Alan Shapiro summarizes nine different techniques teachers can use to encourage constructive interaction among students using small groups.

Election 2008: 5 KEY ISSUES (10/15/08) A student reading provides brief samples of the opposing views of Senators McCain and Obama on five major issues--the economy, Iraq, healthcare, schools and energy--and is followed by suggestions for student inquiry and a class exercise.

Election 2008: THE SECOND DEBATE -- FINANCIAL CRISIS (10/8/08) Excerpts from the debate are followed by questions and an exercise in which students try to answer complex questions in two minutes.

Financial Crisis: BAILOUT OR RESCUE? (10/8/08) Student readings explain some of the events leading up to the crisis as well as reactions to it from citizens and politicians. A DBQ asks students to consider and compare opinions on the issue.

Election 2008: THE FIRST DEBATE -- IRAN, IRAQ & AFGHANISTAN (10/1/08) In their first debate, Senators McCain and Obama discussed their views on policy toward Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Three student readings offer excerpts from the candidates and commentary on them. Discussion questions follow.

Election 2008: FINANCIAL CRISIS (9/24/08) Two student readings aim to clarify some aspects of the developing crisis, what federal officials are doing about it, and how the presidential candidates view it. Discussion questions and other activities follow.

Election 2008: INEQUALITY IN AMERICA (9/17/08) As Election Day approaches, the economy is a top voter concern. Four student readings focus on economic troubles and the growing wealth gap; the accuracy of presidential candidate TV ads; and the candidates' economic proposals.

THE SECOND AMENDMENT & GUNS (8/19/08) Two student readings explore the Supreme Court's recent ruling and its interpretation of the "right to bear arms."

The New FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE ACT: A Threat to American Freedom? (8/19/08) Two student readings review the history of FISA and new legislation that allows continued warrantless surveillance of Americans.

Presidential Election 2008: OIL ADDICTION, THE ECONOMY & THE PLANET (7/29/08) Three student readings address our oil addiction and its serious consequences for individuals, the American economy and our planet--and how one small community in Denmark ended its oil addiction. Discussion questions, activities and suggested student inquiries follow.

Presidential Election 2008: YOUNG VOTERS ARE 'STOKED,' BUT ARE THEY INFORMED? (7/16/08) An overview of young people's growing political involvement is followed by a student questionnaire that gauges how informed students are, suggestions for student inquiry, and a listing of online resources.

Presidential Election 2008: 5 ISSUES THE CANDIDATES WON'T TOUCH (7/1/08) Despite a nonstop presidential campaign, the candidates have failed to seriously address some critical issues. A student reading is followed by question-asking, question-analyzing, and discussion.

THE SUPREME COURT, HABEAS CORPUS & GUANTANAMO (6/25/08) The Supreme Court decision granting habeas corpus rights to Guantanamo prisoners is an opportunity to help students understand the importance of those rights and why granting them to non-citizens is controversial.

BIG PROBLEMS AT 3 FEDERAL AGENCIES (6/11/08) Student readings about critical problems at the Federal Election Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency are followed by discussion questions, suggestions for further inquiry, writing assignments & citizenship activities.

Presidential Election 2008: THE SUPREME COURT (6/4/08) Selecting Supreme Court nominees is one of a president's most consequential actions. Three student readings consider Court interpretations of constitutional principles; the impact of social conditions on Court rulings; and what the current presidential candidates have said about Supreme Court appointments.

Presidential Election 2008: FIXING THE U.S. HEALTHCARE SYSTEM (5/21/08) Three student readings explore problems with our healthcare system; candidate proposals for reform; and healthcare systems in other industrialized nations.

WHAT CAN STUDENTS DO ABOUT THE CATASTROPHE IN CHINA? (5/21/08) The huge earthquake that ravaged China on May 12 buried thousands of schoolchildren. American students may have a special interest in acting to help young survivors in China.

WHAT CAN STUDENTS DO ABOUT THE CATASTROPHE IN MYANMAR? (5/14/08) A brief student reading about the recent devastating cyclone is followed by suggestions for translating students' compassion into action.

THE SEAN BELL CASE (5/7/08) NYC police were found not guity in the shooting of an unarmed young man, setting off protests. Three student readings explore conflicting accounts of the shooting, reactions to the verdict, and opinions from differing perspectives. Suggestions for discussion, inquiry and a "constructive controversy" exercise follow.

OPENING A DIALOGUE: How people in Muslim countries view the U.S. & how people in the U.S. view Muslims (4/23/08) Students are invited to think critically about these complex issues through poll questions, brief case studies, and a critical thinking exercise.

THE CONSTITUTION, WAR CRIMES & GUANTANAMO JUSTICE (4/16/08) Release of a Justice Department memo raises anew the issue of how the U.S. treats terrorist suspects.Two students readings are followed by discussion questions and other student activities.

CUBA & THE U.S. (4/9/08) Castro's resignation has provoked new consideration of the Cuba-U.S. relationship. Two student readings examine the history, the role of Cuban-Americans, the human rights issue, and the stands of the 2008 presidential candidates.

A MORE PERFECT UNION: Examining Senator Obama's Speech (3/26/08) Extended excerpts from Senator Obama's speech on race are followed by questions for classroom discussion, as well as additional suggestions for class dialogue, writing, and inquiry.

Exploring Race & Racism through OBAMA'S SPEECH ON RACE (3/19/08) Senator Barack Obama's March 18, 2008, speech is a teachable moment for issues of race, racism, and race relations in the United States. Here, suggestions for classroom discussion and inquiry based on a reading or viewing of Obama's speech.

IRAQ: The Surge & Power Struggles (3/12/08) Four student readings and an introductory questionnaire expore the effects of the surge and the state of Iraq today. Student activities follow.

Presidential Election 2008 ROLEPLAY: THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL (2/27/08) A lively game demonstrates how disparate interest groups, with their money and clout, can influence a candidate's platform and viability.

Presidential Election 2008: THINKING CRITICALLY ABOUT A CHOICE FOR PRESIDENT (2/27/08) The believing game and the doubting game can help students go beyond debate to dialogue and analysis when considering the 2008 presidential candidates.

Presidential Election 2008: HILLRAISERS, McCAIN 100s & PUBLIC CAMPAIGN FUNDING (2/20/08) This election has raised many questions about the role of money in our political system. One student reading focuses on "bundling" and how it encourages corruption. Another considers the need for reform, detailing one proposal now before Congress. Discussion questions, subjects for inquiry, and suggested citizenship activities follow.

Presidential Election 2008: WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT NUCLEAR WEAPONS? (2/13/08) An introductory quiz is followed by a student reading on what the candidates have said about nuclear weapons proliferation. A second student reading explores author Jonathan Schell's latest thinking on the issue.

MILITARY SPENDING & THE MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL-CONGRESSIONAL COMPLEX (2/6/08) Three student readings and a quiz explore why the complex developed, how it operates, and some of its consequences. Discussion questions and opportunities for further inquiry and citizenship activities follow.

Presidential Election 2008: MAKING DECISIONS ABOUT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES (for grades 4-6) (1/30/08) Four 45-minute lessons engage students in considering what qualities they might look for in a political candidate; how to get information about candidates; and how they and the adults in their lives decide whom to vote for.

ECONOMIC ANXIETY: Lost homes, lost jobs, debt & dropping markets (1/23/08) Student readings describe how the mortgage crisis affects real people and why; the domino effect of sub-prime mortgage loans; and economic stimulus proposals. Discussion questions and inquiry activities follow.

Presidential Election 2008: MISLEADING FACTS & VAGUE OPINIONS (1/23/08) How do you pick a candidate? Statements from four candidates on major issues are followed by discussion questions, an exercise on recognizing factual statements and opinions, and suggestions for student inquiry.

NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND (1/16/08) Because this federal law has personal meanings for students, it is an excellent subject for independent and small-group inquiries. Two student readings outline the law's major provisions, the Bush administration's defense of it, and criticisms.

DEATH FROM A DISTANCE (1/9/08) Three student readings include conflicting accounts of air attacks by the U.S. military and by survivors; media coverage of the attacks; and a brief overview of the growing lethality of air assaults since World War I and the devastating effect on civilians.

Presidential Election 2008: POLITICS & RELIGION (1/3/08) The role of religion in politics has become a controversial 2008 election issue. Following an introductory quiz, three student readings address the Constitution and the founders on religion, presidential candidates' speeches on faith and politics, and the appropriateness of religious questions directed to candidates.

THE U.S. & IRAN (updated 12/11/07) Student readings explore the complex relationship between the U.S. & Iran, including controversy stemming from the recent finding that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program.

Presidential Election 2008: OUR BROKEN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM (12/5/07) Students are invited to examine the candidates' recent 'debate' over giving undocumented immigrants driver's licenses; learn some facts about immigration; and consider an historical commentary. Discussion questions and a suggested inquiry into a new immigration policy follow.

THE MISSING CLASS (11/28/07) America's low-income "missing class" is the subject of one student reading; another reading explores proposals to help these Americans enter the middle class. Ideas for further inquiry follow.

Presidential Election 2008: HORSE RACE (11/21/07) A student questionnaire, two readings, and discussion questions explore media coverage of the 2008 election, including The Project for Excellence in Journalism's finding that almost two-thirds of coverage is devoted to the campaign's horse race aspects.

Presidential Election 2008: COMBATING TERRORISTS (11/14/07) Three readings help students consider the president's "war on terror" strategy, statements by Bush's critics, and what constitutes torture. Discussion questions and other student activities follow.

THE CONGRESSIONAL EARMARK (11/7/07) Two student readings examine the practice of earmarking in bills and the connection between earmark spending and political campaign cash.

BLACKWATER USA: Is the U.S. Privatizing War? (10/31/07) The private security firm Blackwater USA made headlines when its contractors killed 17 civilians in Baghdad. That event, its background, and consequences are the subjects of two student readings, discussion questions, and suggestions for student inquiries and citizenship.

Presidential Power: EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE (10/24/07) The Bush administration and Congress have been on a "collision course" over executive privilege. A student reading explores the issue; a fish bowl activity gives students a chance to discuss it. See our collection of lessons on presidential power below.

Presidential Election 2008: PROCESS & PROBLEMS. (10/17/07) A student reading reviews major steps in the campaign process and such issues as the money race, fairness, and problems with the new voting machines. Suggested discussion questions and other activities follow.

SHOULD THE U.S. OCCUPATION OF IRAQ CONTINUE? (10/17/07) A document-based lesson by educator Alan Singer asks students to consider Bush's arguments and opposing views.

A TEACHABLE MOMENT ON CLIMATE CHANGE

The awarding of the Nobel Prize to Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes this a great moment to study global warming and climate change with students. Below, a new student reading and discussion questions on the Nobel Prize--and all our offerings on the topic of climate change.

GORE & UN PANEL WIN NOBEL for Work on Climate Change (10/16/07) A student reading deals with the Nobel Prize award, including a few of the basic facts and a view of what can and should be done.

ENERGY & THE ENVIRONMENT: What Can We Do? includes an array of action opportunities for students.

PAYING FOR CLIMATE CHANGE offers an overview of a British government study and an IPCC February 2007 report on climate change.

YOUTH ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE includes additional action opportunities and also lists useful websites. A relatively new one is the Alliance for Climate Protection, an organization founded last year by Al Gore: www.climateprotect.org

PROBLEMS AT THE PUMP provides basic information about oil, gas and the U.S.

THE UNPLEASANT NEWS ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING includes a number of quotes from scientists about global warming, information on is being done about it and a suggested approach to launching a student project.

 

The Presidential Campaign: THE RACE FOR MONEY (10/10/07) This inquiry activity invites students to explore the central role of money in the 2008 election.

RACE, THE 14TH AMENDMENT & OUR SCHOOLS: The Supreme Court Rules (10/10/07) What constitutes racial discrimination in our schools? The Supreme Court considered competing answers to this question in its June 2007 ruling. Two student readings examine the issue and its historical background, including Brown v. Board of Education and the 14th Amendment.

JENA AND ITS 'TREE OF IGNORANCE' (10/3/07) The controversy at Louisiana's Jena High School offers a teachable moment for students to examine America's racial issues. A student reading presents an overview of the Jena events and comments by whites and blacks who live there. Suggested student activities include a microlab and subjects for further inquiry.

IRAQ & THE U.S.: Autumn 2007 (9/19/07) Students consider official testimony and reports measuring the progress--or lack of it--in Iraq.

ENERGY & THE ENVIRONMENT: What can we do? (9/12/07) Through a series of engaging activities, students learn basic facts about climate change and consider what we can do about it.

 

ON PRESIDENTIAL POWER

As the 2008 election approaches, we explore the use and abuse of presidential power in a series of classroom lessons.

Presidential Power: EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE (10/24/07) The Bush administration and Congress have been on a "collision course" over executive privilege. A student reading explores the issue; a fish bowl activity gives students a chance to discuss it. See our collection of lessons on presidential power below.

Presidential Power: ITS USE & ABUSE (updated 9/24/07) What did the framers say about presidential power and why? How would the presidential candidates use this power?

Presidential Power: THE CONTROVERSIAL PROTECT AMERICA ACT (9/26/07) The Bush administration's secret surveillance program, launched soon after 9/11, is the source of a lasting controversy, including a fight over the Protect America Act. Two student readings explore the issue.

Presidential Power: GUANTANAMO'S 'ENEMY COMBATANTS' (9/4/07) Three student readings explore background on Guantanamo, the use of presidential power, the legal and physical treatment of detainees, and the facility's future. Discussion questions and other suggested activities follow.

Presidential Power: THE SIGNING STATEMENT (6/27/07) Two student readings examine the "signing statements" Bush has attached to various pieces of legislation, including the the Detainee Treatment Act. Are they constitutional?

Presidential Power: EAVESDROPPING, TERRORISM & AMERICAN FREEDOMS (6/27/07) Are our telephone calls and e-mails part of the secret surveillance program inaugurated by President Bush after 9/11? Two student readings and several suggested activities explore the controversy over presidential authority to eavesdrop.

Presidential Power: EXTRAORDINARY RENDITIONS & SECRET PRISONS (7/11/07) Two student readings consider the controversy over charges that the U.S. is sending terrorism suspects to other countries where they are held in secret prisons and sometimes tortured. Discussion questions follow.

BONG HITS 4 JESUS: Student Rights & the Supreme Court (updated 7/11/07) A preliminary exercise aims to provoke student interest in the Morse v. Frederick student freedom of speech case. Two student readings, discussion questions, and a student roleplay follow.

THE IMMIGRATION DEBATE & A DBQ (5/30/07) After an overview of the immigration bill now before Congress, a Document-Based Question activity offers multiple points of view on the bill. Discussion questions and an essay assignment follow.

WHAT HAPPENS INSIDE PRISON (5/23/07) Three student readings offer a case study of what happened to one mentally ill prisoner; a summary of a critical report on America's prisons; and some additional facts and figures. Discussion questions, a writing assignment, subjects for further inquiry and suggestions for citizenship activities follow.

MEDIA BIGOTRY: South Park, Chris Rock, Rush Limbaugh, The Notorious B.I.G., Da Ali G. Show, Larry David & Others (5/16/07) The controversy over Don Imus opened a discussion that deserves students' consideration. A student reading offers samples from TV, radio, the record industry and other media outlets that raise questions about racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and Islamophobia in the media. A Document-Based Question-type writing assignment follows.

WANTED: EDUCATED GLOBAL CITIZENS (5/2/07) Brief student readings on a child in southern Ethiopia, teenage girls in Guatemala and Pakistan, and refugees in Darfur examine global poverty, what is being done about it, and why we should care.

INTERPRETING THE IMUS FIRESTORM (4/17/07) The controversy over the ex-radio host's comments is an opportunity to consider racism and sexism in our society. Two student readings with suggestions for discussion, writing & further inquiry.

IS THE LAW STACKED AGAINST UNIONS? Student Reading & a DBQ. (4/4/07) The proposed Employee Free Choice Act makes this a teachable moment for students: why is union membership declining in this country? Is organizing too difficult? A document-based question exercise follows.

CREATING A COOPERATIVE WORLD (3/21/07) Three readings, all based on Jonathan Schell's book The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People, invite students to learn about, discuss, and act upon ideas for a cooperative and more peaceful world.

VIETNAM, IRAQ & 'A CITY UPON A HILL' (3/7/07) Two student readings examine, compare, and provide commentary on the U.S. wars in Vietnam and Iraq. Suggested discussion questions, writing assignments, and subjects for inquiry encourage students to explore opposing viewpoints.

THE LIBBY CASE (updated 3/7/07) Two student readings examine issues surrounding the indictment, trial and conviction of Lewis Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff. Following the readings are suggestions for student discussion and continuing attention to future developments.

DIVIDED WAR POWERS: The President & the Congress (2/27/07) The debate on Iraq has created an important teachable moment about who has the power to make war under the U.S.'s system of government. Three students readings explore the issues.

The DEATH PENALTY (2/13/07) Three student readings open up new avenues for discussion and inquiry. A concluding activity proposes student inquiry into arguments for and against capital punishment through internet investigation and a "constructive controversy."

ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES: Is Your Vote Counted? (2/7/07) Student readings explore problems with these machines in the 2006 election and proposals for reform. Suggestions for inquiry and citizenship follow.

A SINGLE PAYER HEALTH INSURANCE SYSTEM FOR THE U.S.? (12/13/06) Many are fervently for, others are fervently against national health insurance. Student readings provide a critical overview of the U.S. health care system and discuss the pros and cons of national health insurance. A DBQ exercise and activities follow.

PAYING FOR CLIMATE CHANGE (12/6/06) updated 2/20/07 A new report on the economic impact of global warming is the basis for student readings, discussion, and activities.

NEW ORLEANS & PRESIDENT BUSH'S PROMISES (11/22/06) After Hurricane Katrina, President Bush spoke of America's "duty to confront this poverty with bold action." A student reading offers a report card on this effort and suggests student responses.

YOUNG VOTERS: A Force in Politics (11/15/06) This November, young voters went to the polls in the largest numbers in 20 years. A student reading is followed by discussion questions.

NURTURING THE PEACEMAKERS IN OUR STUDENTS: A Guide to Writing & Speaking Out About Issues of Peace and War (11/8/06) Alan Shapiro reviews the new book by teacher Chris Weber

2006 Nobel Peace Prize Winner: POTENTIAL OF THE POOR (10/31/06) Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus shows how much one person can do to address a huge problem like poverty. A student reading summarizes Yunus' work and leads to suggestions for student action on an issue that concerns them.

2006 Election Issue: TERRORISM (10/25/06) Terrorism and its relationship to the Iraq war is the most potent issue in the 2006 elections. A student reading presents Republican and Democratic opinions on the subject, as well as those of U.S. intelligence agencies.

A CONTROVERSIAL NEW LAW FOR TERROR SUSPECTS (10/18/06) The new Military Commissions Act raises basic constitutional issues as well as questions about U.S. compliance with the Geneva Conventions. Two student activities and two readings provide information about the act and critics' responses to it.

2006 Election Issue: THE ECONOMY (10/4/06) Three student readings offer information and perspectives on young people and the economy, how people feel about their economic situation, and controversy over interpreting economic statistics. Discussion questions and suggestions for further inquiry follow.

JUNK POLITICS (9/6/06) Students read and discuss a critical article about U.S. politics in light of the upcoming elections.

JUST THE FACTS (8/30/06) Florida's new education law declares, "American history shall be viewed as factual, not as constructed." Student readings, a quiz and suggested activities help students consider this law and a case study: two differing historical accounts of the U.S.-Mexico War.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT POLITICS? (8/28//06) A student questionnaire, poll results, and an excerpt from a high school student's prize-winning essay called "We Don't Believe in Politics" aim to open up discussion about what your students really think about politics.

THINKING CRITICALLY ABOUT INTERNET SOURCES (8/28//06). An introduction to some the skills students need to use the internet critically.

ELECTION TROUBLES: Gerrymandering, DREs & the Money Chase (7/26//06) The 2006 mid-term elections present an excellent opportunity to examine some major issues related to voting in the U.S. Three students readings are followed by suggestions for further student inquiry, reform proposals, and possible citizenship activities.

CITIZENS WHO 'MAKE THEMSELVES USEFUL' (6/28/06) Active citizenship involves more than voting. Here, a few activist organizations are briefly profiled for students; questions and other suggested classroom activities follow.

CORPORATE CRIMES & PRISON SENTENCES (6/14/06) A brief summary of recent criminal investigations of corporations and their leaders, with special attention to Enron executives Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling.

ENERGY DEBATE: Oil, Nuclear & the Alternatives (5/3/06) An overview of interlocking energy issues: The growing demand for oil and its effect on U.S. foreign policy; global warming and the need to reduce oil consumption; and the renewed push for nuclear energy and alternative energy sources.

CHERNOBYL & THE NUCLEAR POWER CONTROVERSY (4/19/06) Student readings explore the Chernobyl meltdown 20 years ago and the pros and cons of nuclear power; discussion questions and suggestions for further inquiry follow.

SHOULD UNDOCUMENTED WORKERS HAVE A SHOT AT THE AMERICAN DREAM? (4/06, updated 11/06) Four readings and activities invite students to learn about and debate immigration policy and devise their own legislation to address the issue.

THINKING IS QUESTIONING (4/5/06) Thought-provoking reading and exercises for teachers and students on the importance of good questions.

ON THE LINE: The future of New Orleans & the Gulf Coast (3/29/06) Grassroots organizations of Katrina survivors want a voice in deciding the future of the Gulf Coast after the hurricane. Here, a reading on the rebuilding debate followed by suggestions for continuing inquiry and discussion.

NEW ORLEANS & THE GULF COAST Six Months After Katrina (3/21/06) Two student readings offer an overview of the problems and what is being done about them. Included are suggestions for independent and small-group inquiry projects and information about opportunities for volunteer work.

Special series of classroom activities:
ALL ABOUT THE NEWS

BUSH, SECRECY & THE PRESS (3/8/06) Three student readings describe the government's system of classifying documents and Bush's attitudes and policies toward the press and the flow of information.

THE NEWS & THE BOTTOM LINE Most Americans get their news from sources owned by profit-driven media conglomerates. Three student readings (with discussion questions) examine the impact of the bottom line on the news business.

NEWS SOURCES: Questions & Issues Three brief student readings (with suggestions for discussion) focus on the use of unnamed and potentially unreliable sources and journalists' need to protect sources.

WHAT IS NEWS, AND HOW IMPORTANT IS IT? Original quotes and discussion questions to open a class exploration of media issues.

NEWS, NATIONAL SECURITY & DEMOCRACY Two student readings provide background and explore issues surrounding the recent newspaper leaks on Bush administration policies. Discussion questions follow.

 


THE K STREET STRATEGY The power of special interest money funneled through K Street lobbying firms--and the revolving door between these firms and federal officials--affect the lives of every American. Three student readings (followed by questions & suggested activities) show the process at work.

THE INTELLIGENT DESIGN DEBATEA brief reading and discussion questions focus on the Dover, Pennsylvania, school board's effort to introduce the idea of "intelligent design" as a complement to evolutionary theory, and the resulting federal court case.

YOUTH ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE Young people can make a difference in tackling global warming. A student reading provides a brief overview of the climate change problem. An annotated list of activist organizations and websites follows.

SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SAMUEL ALITO? Two student readings provide information about the Constitution, the Supreme Court, and Judge Alito, including four brief case studies of his appeals court decisions. A student quiz and suggestions for small-group and class-wide discussion engage students in considering the issues.

THE LIBBY CASE Two student readings examine issues surrounding the indictment of Lewis Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff. Following the readings are suggestions for student discussion and continuing attention to future developments.

PROBLEMS AT THE PUMP (with a DBQ) A student reading explores why gas prices are rising. A Document-Based Question has students consider competing views on what to do about it.

REPORTING THE NEWS: Inquiry in a Social Studies or English ClassAfter a brief reading and a sampling of news reports, students consider the role of bias and opinion in the news.

EXAMINING THE TAX CUTS: Inquiry in a Math or Social Studies Class An overview of income tax laws and the accompanying chart provide the basis for student inquiry into who benefited most from the Bush tax cuts. The questions and assignment that follow test students' ability to read a statistical chart and draw conclusions from it.

THE CLASS & RACE DIVIDE IN NEW ORLEANS & IN AMERICA Hurricane Katrina has created a teachable moment on issues of race, class, and inequality. In three student readings we present a rich array of original material, followed by suggested classroom activities.

THE LESSONS OF KATRINA A current events assignment, poem, and questions for the high school classroom, contributed by three NYC educators.

THE SUPREME COURT AND A NEW CHIEF JUSTICE
The sudden opening of two positions on the Supreme Court offers a teachable moment: What is the role of the court in American life? A 2-part student reading explores the nomination of Judge John Roberts to be chief justice, historical background on the court, and debate over how the courts should interpret the constitution.

HURRICANE KATRINA CATASTROPHE A reading, discussion questions and citizenship activities aim to help high school students consider the Gulf Coast disaster. Could some of the suffering and loss have been prevented?

YOU AND THE MILITARY
As controversy grows over military recruitment in high schools, we offer a set of rigorous, inquiry-oriented and student-friendly readings and activities that explore many aspects of the military, the draft, and the war:

--Who's in the military & why do they join?
--
Should you join the military?
--How does the Army recruit?
--
Recruiters meet resistance
--
Two soldiers, two mothers
--
The volunteer army
--
Is America a nation at war?
--
DBQ: Should there be a draft?
--Additional classroom activities

THINKING ABOUT PATRIOTISM & DBQ
- Thinking About Patriotism. This lesson, including a student survey, a reading using original documents, and suggestions for discussion, invites students to consider what it means to be a patriot in the United States.
- DBQ
. Original documents, questions, and a Document-Based Question, plus suggestions for follow up.

THE PATRIOT ACT, TERRORISM & THE BILL OF RIGHTS An opening exercise and two readings offer students an opportunity to learn about the Patriot Act and to grapple with some of its controversial provisions.

THE UNPLEASANT NEWS ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING updated 2/20/07 Three readings for high school students include background information and quotes addressing such questions as: What causes global warming? What is being done about it? What else needs to be done? Questions for discussion and suggestions for student inquiry and citizenship activities follow.

SEPARATION OF CHURCH & STATE: Four Case Studies Now is a teachable moment for study and discussion of the First Amendment and the religiously tinged politics of our time. Here, a quiz, a short history of the First Amendment, four case studies and suggested classroom activities.

FREEDOM: The Views of President Bush & Others In his second inaugural speech, the president described his view of "the force of human freedom." Here. students consider the president's speech and a critique of it by sociologist Orlando Patterson, as well as statements about freedom over the centuries. Questions and suggested class activities follow.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS: Why Do They Come? What Should the U.S. Do About Them? Three readings for high school students explore why immigrants come to the U.S. and competing views about their place in America. Questions and suggested activities follow.

THE SOCIAL SECURITY CONTROVERSY AND A DBQ A two-part reading for high school students offers an overview of the origins of Social Security and its major elements, how its finances work, problems, and proposals for reform. The DBQ (document-based question) that follows can be used as practice for such standardized tests as the New York State history Regents examination, or for class discussion.

WAL-MART AND ITS CRITICS Readings and activities encourage students to explore the chain's amazing success and the controversy surrounding its policies in the U.S. and abroad.

STUDENT ACTION ON THE TSUNAMI CATASTROPHE Many students feel moved by the suffering of the tsunami victims. These materials help students translate feelings into action.

OIL & THE BELL-SHAPED CURVE Most Americans are "energy illiterate." These lessons for high school students promote energy literacy, especially about oil. We begin with a student energy quiz, followed by three readings and suggested classroom activities.

Should there be a Draft? A DBQ & Background ReadingRumors are circulating that the military draft may be reinstituted, creating anxiety for young people. This classroom activity stimulates classroom debate and helps students practice for social studies Regents exams. The activity includes a brief history of the draft followed by a "document-based question" or DBQ, with arguments for and against a draft.

What's Happening to the American Dream? Readings and activities to help high school students better understand the growing gap between rich and pooróand consider the issue in light of this year's presidential election.
Easier-reading version of What's Happening to the American Dream?

Making TV News Roleplays, research and readings spur students to explore how election news stories are presented and why.

GLOBALIZATION: Free Trade & Fair Trade, Jobs & Justice
Five readings and classroom suggestions for high school students on:
-- The Many Meanings of Globalization
-- Must Globalization Mean Sweatshop Labor?
-- NAFTA, Outsourcing and American Jobs
-- Making Globalization Work for Everyone

Follow the Money A resource unit for high school students on deficits, taxes, and the "military-industrial-Congressional complex"

Affirmative Action and the Courts
In the wake of the Supreme Court's recent historic ruling on the University of Michigan's affirmative action program, we offer four lessons and a rich assortment of original source materials.

Analyzing the Enron Debacle A short reading and questions to discuss and debate.

Campaign Finance Reform
Activity and reading on soft money and hardball politics.

The Controversial Bush Energy Program
An opening activity, four student readings, and a set of teaching strategies on the complex and interrelated energy and environmental problems facing the US

Countering Bias Against Arab American, Muslim and South Asian Students
Suggestions for educators

Guns and the Constitution
What right, if any, "to keep and bear" arms does the Constitution guarantee individuals? What right, if any, does Congress have to regulate them?

Infectious Greed: Corporate Chicanery & White-Collar Crime
Readings and activities on WorldCom, the profitable world of stock options, and other financial shenanigansóand what Congress & the President are doing about it.

 

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION 2004 SERIES

#19: Should the U.S. Junk Its Electoral System?
#18: Questioning the Polls
#17: Fact-Checking the Candidates:Bush-Kerry Debate #1
#16: Debating the Debaters
#15: The Terrorism Issue
#14: Making TV News
#13: The Language of Politics
#12: Politigabble
#11: National Security
#10): Globalization: Free Trade & Fair Trade, Jobs & Justice-- The Many Meanings of Globalization
-- Must Globalization Mean Sweatshop Labor?
-- NAFTA, Outsourcing and American Jobs
-- The Candidates on Free Trade & Fair Trade, Jobs & Justice
--
Making Globalization Work for Everyone
#9: Analyzing the Attack Ads
#8: Five Presidents' Calls for War
#7: Weapons of Mass Destruction
#6: The American Dream / Abbreviated, easier-reading version of The American Dream
#5: The Iraq Issue
#4: The Impact of Campaign Spending
#3: Young People & Voting
#2: From Start to Finish
#1: Introductions

Teachers' Forum: How do you Teach about the Election?

 


WAR, PEACE, TERRORISM & OTHER GLOBAL ISSUES:

Obama's strategy in AFGHANISTAN & PAKISTAN, with a DBQ (4/8/09) An introduction and two student readings discuss the president's view of the Afghanistan/Pakistan connection and what he thinks must be done in both countries. A companion Document-Based Question (DBQ) exercise asks students to consider and write about competing views of the president's strategy.

MUMBAI ATTACK: Why South Asia Matters to America (12/17/08) Student readings and discussion questions address some basic questions about the attackand describe the interconnected problems in South Asia that will confront President Obama, including the conflict over Kashmir and the war against the Taliban.

Election 2008: THE FIRST DEBATE -- IRAN, IRAQ & AFGHANISTAN (10/1/08) In their first debate, Senators McCain and Obama discussed their views on policy toward Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Three student readings offer excerpts from the candidates and commentary on them. Discussion questions follow.

CHINA, RISING (9/10/08) The summer Olympics provide an opening for exploring China's rapid expansion and its implications for Americans. Discussion questions follow four student readings.

THE SUPREME COURT, HABEAS CORPUS & GUANTANAMO (6/25/08) The Supreme Court decision granting habeas corpus rights to Guantanamo prisoners is an opportunity to help students understand the importance of those rights and why granting them to non-citizens is controversial.

WHAT CAN STUDENTS DO ABOUT THE CATASTROPHE IN CHINA? (5/21/08) The huge earthquake that ravaged China on May 12 buried thousands of schoolchildren. American students may have a special interest in acting to help young survivors in China.

WHAT CAN STUDENTS DO ABOUT THE CATASTROPHE IN MYANMAR? (5/14/08) A brief student reading about the recent devastating cyclone is followed by suggestions for translating students' compassion into action.

OPENING A DIALOGUE: How people in Muslim countries view the U.S. & how people in the U.S. view Muslims (4/23/08) Students are invited to think critically about these complex issues through poll questions, brief case studies, and a critical thinking exercise.

CUBA & THE U.S. (4/9/08) Castro's resignation has provoked new consideration of the Cuba-U.S. relationship. Two student readings examine the history, the role of Cuban-Americans, the human rights issue, and the stands of the 2008 presidential candidates.

The Politics of Numia: A POST-COLONIAL ROLEPLAY (3/12/08) This engaging activity has students play the role of political parties (each with its own constituency, resources and objectives) trying to form a coalition government in the fictional African nation of Numia.

PAKISTAN: Unstable U.S. Ally (3/5/08) Pakistan, a nuclear power that has been a haven for al Qaeda, is now in flux. Three student readings offer a brief primer on Pakistan's often violent history and its relationship with the U.S. Discussion questions and subjects for further inquiry follow.

Presidential Election 2008: WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT NUCLEAR WEAPONS? (2/13/08) An introductory quiz is followed by a student reading on what the candidates have said about nuclear weapons proliferation. A second student reading explores author Jonathan Schell's latest thinking on the issue.

DEATH FROM A DISTANCE (1/9/07) Three student readings include conflicting accounts of air attacks by the U.S. military and by survivors; media coverage of the attacks; and a brief overview of the growing lethality of air assaults since World War I and the devastating effect on civilians.

Presidential Election 2008: THE U.S. & IRAN (11/21/07) Student readings explore the complex relationship between the U.S. & Iraq. Students will consider many views, including those of the leading presidential candidates.

Presidential Election 2008: COMBATING TERRORISTS (11/14/07) Three readings help students consider the president's "war on terror" strategy, statements by Bush's critics, and what constitutes torture. Discussion questions and other student activities follow.

BLACKWATER USA: Is the U.S. Privatizing War? (10/31/07) The private security firm Blackwater USA made headlines when its contractors killed 17 civilians in Baghdad. That event, its background, and consequences are the subjects of two student readings, discussion questions, and suggestions for student inquiries and citizenship.

SHOULD THE U.S. OCCUPATION OF IRAQ CONTINUE? (10/17/07) A document-based lesson by educator Alan Singer asks students to consider Bush's arguments and opposing views.

IRAQ & THE U.S.: Autumn 2007 (9/19/07) Students consider official testimony and reports measuring the progress--or lack of it--in Iraq.

NORTHERN IRELAND: 'Peace Never Just Happens' (6/12/07) Northern Ireland has finally moved to shared leadership and peace. But why did it take so long? Student readings summarize the struggle and how peace was finally achieved. Suggestions for discussion, writing, and further inquiry follow.

CREATING A COOPERATIVE WORLD (3/21/07) Three readings, all based on Jonathan Schell's book The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People, invite students to learn about, discuss, and act upon ideas for a cooperative and more peaceful world.

VIETNAM, IRAQ & 'A CITY UPON A HILL' (3/7/07) Two student readings examine, compare, and provide commentary on the U.S. wars in Vietnam and Iraq. Suggested discussion questions, writing assignments, and subjects for inquiry encourage students to explore opposing viewpoints.

AFGHANISTAN: THE RETURN OF THE TALIBAN & HEROIN (1/10/07) Three student readings examine the growing instability of Afghanistan.

THE SUNNI-SHIITE CONFLICT (1/10/07) One student reading describes the growing sectarian violence in Iraq; a second offers background on the historic split between Sunnis and Shiites.

IRAQ: 'A Grave & Deteriorating Situation' What should the U.S. do in Iraq? A student reading offers an overview of the five most discussed strategies, issues associated with each, and suggestions for class activities and student inquiry.

DBQ: WHAT FUELS TERRORISM? A document-based question exercise has students examine differing views on what motivates terrorism by Islamic fundamentalists.

IRAQI CIVILIAN DEATHS: A Statistical & Political Controversy A reading followed by an inquiry exercise invites student scrutiny of four different estimates of Iraqi civilian deaths.

2006 Election Issue: TERRORISM Terrorism and its relationship to the Iraq war is the most potent issue in the 2006 elections. A student reading presents Republican and Democratic opinions on the subject, as well as those of U.S. intelligence agencies.

GENOCIDE IN DARFUR, INACTION IN THE SECURITY COUNCIL A decade ago the world largely turned its back as an estimated 800,000 people were murdered in Rwanda. Today, genocide is occurring in Sudan's western region of Darfur. Here, student readings, questions for discussion and suggestions for student action.

2006 ELECTION ISSUE: IRAQ Student readings provide an overview of the Iraq situation from multiple perspectives, reports of public opinion polls about the war, and political arguments on what the U.S. should do. Discussion questions and classroom activities follow. ABRIDGED & EASIER READING VERSION

HUMANITARIANS in Action & in DangerA student reading discusses the dangers faced by organizations providing humanitarian aid in Lebanon, Congo, Darfur, Sri Lanka, and Gaza. Discussion questions, suggestions for further inquiry and citizenship activities follow.

A Sourcebook & Study Guide for High School & College Classrooms: TORTURE AND WAR CRIMES: THE U.S. RECORD IN DOCUMENTS Have U.S. forces violated international law in their treatment of prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan, & Guantanamo? Has that treatment amounted to torture or war crimes? If so, who should be held responsible? Here, we assemble a wide collection of excerpts from original materials to use as a basis for student exploration.

The Torture Issue (with a DBQ) A student reading includes examples of U.S. treatment of prisoners as revealed in investigations and excerpts from the Geneva Convention and UN Convention Against Torture. A DBQ (document-based question) includes diverse points of view on the efficacy and morality of torture.

WORKING ON WMD: Inquiry in a science or social studies class These classroom activities encourage students to inquire into the values conflict over nuclear weapons.

WAS THE U.S. MISLED INTO THE WAR ON IRAQ? A Resource & Study Guide for HS & College A student reading includes statements from President Bush addressing this question, followed by original documents that support or contradict his claims.

THE UNITED NATIONS AT 60 The UN's 60th birthday on October 24 offers an opportunity for students to learn about the organization's history and to consider some problems it faces.

IRAQ: A CONSTITUTION & EVERYDAY LIFE (WITH A DBQ) One student reading explores the new document, which Iraqis will vote up or down on October 15; another presents information on everyday life in Iraq. A Document-Based Question (DBQ) has students consider different perspectives on the state of Iraq today.

TRUTH & THE IRAQ WAR IN DOCUMENTS A leaked report from a British cabinet meeting raises grave questions about how and why the Iraq War was launched. A student reading includes quotes from the leaked document, from the Bush administration, and from Congress.

Study Guides: THE LIBRARIAN OF BASRA and ALIA'S MISSION: SAVING THE BOOKS OF IRAQ These two recent children's books (grades K-12) present a positive opportunity to open up discussions of the Iraq war with students. Both tell the story of Alia Muhammed Baker, the chief librarian of Basra, Iraq, who saved 30,000 books from Basra's library before it burned during the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

IRAQ: SHIITES, SUNNIS, KURDS, AMERICANS & PROBLEMS Iraq, with its newly elected government, faces new opportunities and problems. We provide two readings for high school students. The first provides a capsule overview of Iraq; the second summarizes major problems that face the country now. Discussion questions and suggestions for student activities follow.

WEB RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS ABOUT THE IRAQ WAR A brief compilation of websites offering opinion, analysis, news and other material helpful in promoting inquiry in your classroom.

BLOODY IRAQ & ITS FUTURE
This two-part lesson, with readings and, in Part II, suggested classroom activities, is aimed at helping students consider and develop opinions on the war in Iraq.
Part I: What Is Going Right and What Is Going Wrong?
Part II: How to Get Out?

IRAQ WAR COVERAGE:

Correspondents as Targets: DBQ This document-based question exercise uses quotes from journalists about the challenges of reporting from Iraq as the basis for a student essay and discussion.
Reporting Civilian Deaths: DBQ & Reading A document-based question exercise and reading on the difficulty of assessing Iraqi civilian casualties.
Background Reading Readings and discussion questions explore such topics as what it means to be "embedded" and how the media covered the pulling down of Saddam Hussein's statue and the attack on Fallujah.

American Misconceptions about the War on Iraq
Most Americans have major misconceptions about the war. A questionnaire, readings & activities help students explore the facts.

Thinking About Terrorism
What gives rise to terrorism? A set of student readings explore this difficult question with profiles of two terrorists and information about their motivations and beliefs.

Five Presidents' Calls for War
Why do presidents go to war? Students read about how five U.S. presidents justified wars with Mexico, Spain, Vietnam, Grenada and Iraq, then consider the merits of their arguments.

Inaccurate Intelligence, Critical Thinking, the Bush Administration & Iraq
Excerpts from the Senate Intelligence Committee report on faulty intelligence on Iraq begin this set of readings and assignments. Help your high school students hone their own critical thinking skills as they explore what went wrong in the lead-up to the Iraq War.

American Treatment of Iraqi & Afghan Prisoners: Who is to Blame? Two readings and accompanying activities explore whether the torture of prisoners is the result of a few individuals acting alone or of broader government decisions.

American Treatment of Iraqi & Afghan Prisoners: An Introduction
The international scandal has raised profound questions for the citizens of our country. Our introductory lesson on the prisoner torture issue includes a student reading and opening and concluding exercises.

The Power of Nonviolent Action: South Africa & Poland
In this time of war, a rich set of readings and activities on the history and power of peaceful resistance.

Postwar Afghanistan: Problems, Dangers, Costs
Background reading and activities to help students make sense of the latest news.

The Postwar Iraq Debate: Readings & Activities for HS Students
Two readings on recent developments in Iraq,esti Bush administration policies, and domestic and international reactions to themóplus suggons for classroom activities.

Rebuilding Iraq: Problems and Questions
An overview that gives special attention to Iraq's oil industry, and suggestions for discussion and study of Iraq's future and the US's leadership and credibility.

A Democratic Iraq: 3 Lessons for High School Students
A look at the basic elements of democracy and freedom and how they have developedóand at the effort to introduce democracy and freedom in Iraq.

Investigating Terrorism: 3 Lessons
Students consider a range of opinions about what "terrorism" is and what is behind terrorist acts such as the September 11 attacks.

Civil Liberties & National Security: Are They in Conflict?
Several brief case studies that raise questions about civil liberties in the wake of 9/11, followed by suggestions for classroom discussion.

Civil Liberties & Terrorism
Readings and activities on wartime threats to civil liberties, the history of such threats, and the Constitutional basis for civil liberties.

Iraq: A Postwar Student Survey
Questions and information to help students consider the conflict.

Iraq & the U.S.: The Road to War
Readings and activities explore diverse points of view.

Iraq & the U.S.: The Road to War (for easier reading)
Readings and activities explore diverse points of view.

Islam and the West
A meaty overview and suggestions for study to help students broaden their knowledge of Islam's past and present, and the U.S.'s role.

Language and the Iraq War
Readings (including an abridged dictionary of the war) and activities to encourage critical thinking.

War and the Media: A Resource Unit
Students develop skills and understandings to make them more critical readers, listeners and viewers.


THE MIDDLE EAST:
ISRAELIS & PALESTINIANS: 'A Clash between Right and Right' (updated 1/12/08) Student readings examine the current Gaza situation and other major issues; the U.S.-Israel alliance; and how President Obama might address the conflict. Discussion questions, inquiry suggestions, and a writing assignment follow.
MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT: A CIVILIAN CATASTROPHEThe outbreak of war between Israel and Hezbollah means disaster for civilians. Four student readings consider civilian losses now and historically.
Israelis vs. Palestinians: New Leaders & Old ProblemsThree student readings (with guidelines for classroom discussion) provide a succinct overview of basic Israeli-Palestinian issues and new developments in this old conflict.
Shirin Ebadi: Nobel Peace Prize Winner
A reading and activities on the Iranian human rights activist and her beliefs about Islam, democracy, human rights, and U.S. foreign policy.

A Road Map for Israelis and Palestinians: A Resource Unit
Readings and activities to help students explore the conflicting views, history, and possibilities for peace among Palestinians and Israelis.

Israel, the Palestinians, and the United States
Students examine differing interpretations of the same events; write and interpret history; ask and analyze questions; and consider further inquiry.
Oil: Saudi Arabia, the U.S. & Osama bin Laden
Three lessons on the U.S.'s dependence on oil, its relationship with Saudi Arabia, and the bin Laden connection.
The Current Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Three lessons on recent events in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

NUCLEAR WEAPONS & RELATED ISSUES:
Presidential Election 2008: WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT NUCLEAR WEAPONS? (2/13/08) An introductory quiz is followed by a student reading on what the candidates have said about nuclear weapons proliferation. A second student reading explores author Jonathan Schell's latest thinking on the issue.
THE SPREAD OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS Nuclear weapons have been in the news recently. Three student readings provide context and explore the U.S.-India deal and the controversy over Iran's nuclear program.
CHERNOBYL & THE NUCLEAR POWER CONTROVERSY Student readings explore the Chernobyl meltdown 20 years ago and the pros and cons of nuclear power; discussion questions and suggestions for further inquiry follow.
Practice Document-Based Question Exercise:
NUCLEAR WEAPONS & WORLD SECURITY

This DBQ exercise can help students practice for standardized tests such as the New York State Regents Exam. To prepare students for the exercise, consider conducting the "Nuclear Nightmares and Nuclear Security" lesson on this website.
Nuclear Nightmares & Nuclear Security
People from both sides of the political spectrum agree that the spread of nuclear weapons is the greatest threat we face. What do we do about it?
Three readings and activities help students explore the options.
Practice DBQs. Help your students prepare for the NY Regents Exam with these document-based question exercises modeled closely on the format used in the exam:
Nuclear Weapons & Our Future
Four brief readings and suggestions for engaging students on why we have nuclear weapons and what to do about them.

North Korea, the US and the Nuclear Threat
Readings and activities on the history of the U.S.-North Korea relationship & the current tension over nuclear weapons.

Weapons of Mass Destruction: A Resource Unit
A substantive reader and activity guide on chemical, biological & nuclear weapons

Distorting Armageddon
A critique of the PBS miniseries on nuclear weapons.

Missile Defense
Readings and activities to help students consider and debate the pros and cons.

Nuclear Weapons Controversy
3 lessons to help students learn about and debate the history of nuclear weapons policy, up to the Bush administration.

Nuclear Weapons Issues (for easier reading)
Activities and readings to help students develop a minimal literacy on nuclear weapons issues and to give them a chance to discuss and consider their opinions on nuclear issues.



TEACHING STRATEGIES:

GETTING TO KNOW YOU: Classroom Activities for Starting Off the School Year (9/3/08) This 28-page PDF booklet includes great activities to get your class (grades preK-12) off to a good start in the new school year.

TEACHING SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (4/25/07) Suggestions for guiding students through a class project on an issue they care about--including a student activity that shines a light on group process.

Studying a Poem: Inquiry in an English Class An inquiry approach to reading a poem focuses not on text questions but on student questions.

The Microlab
These small-group discussions can help students grapple with tough and emotional issues.

Listening Circles
This simple process gives young peopleóand adults-óa chance to express their feelings about events of the day.
Teaching on Controversial Issues
Nine all-purpose guidelines to keep in mind.
Teaching Critical Thinking: The Believing Game & the Doubting Game
These two processes offer us an opportunity to think rigorously without polarization and to embrace contradictions that normally divide us.
The Essential Skill of Crap Detecting
Students can practice the art using today's news.
Teaching Politics & the Politics of Teaching
There's no escaping it: Teaching is a political act.

The Plagiarism Perplex
The world wide web is the greatest resource for student plagiarism since the creation of the encyclopedia, writes Alan Shapiro. What's a teacher to do?

 

  


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