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September 4, 2013

Lesson Plan: An Attack on Syria – What Would You Do?

By Katie Gould, PBS NewsHour Extra Teacher Resource Producer

Subjects

Social studies, Government & Civics, Syria,

Estimated Time

One 90 minute class

Grade Level

7-12

Warm Up Activity

Understanding Contemporary  U.S. – International Relations
  1. Does the world view the United States favorably or unfavorably? Hand out page 1 of “Does the world view the United States favorably or unfavorably?” worksheet to students and have them fill out the table.
  2. Once they are finished hand out page 2 of “Does the world view the United States favorably or unfavorably?” worksheet and let them check their answers.
  3. As a class discuss the following questions and then give students time to write down their own answers. You may want to use the interactive image map of the data
    • After looking at the table on the next page, do you see any relationships between countries whose majority of the population view the U.S. unfavorably?
    • What kinds of events and reasons might these countries have for not liking the U.S.?
  4. As a class read the “Background on Contemporary U.S. Conflicts” to learn more about the recent international conflicts the U.S. has participated in.
  5. With a partner ask students to verbally analyze the success of the U.S. intervention and decide whether we should or should not have become involved, citing specific evidence from the text.  Then open the discussion up to the entire class and have student pairs share their answers until the class has reached a consensus on success or lack of in the different interventions.

Main Activity

Understanding the Conflict in Syria and Finding a Solution to the Civil War
  1. Show students a map of Syria so students know where it is located in the world. You may use the one provided in the materials section of this lesson
  2. Play the trailer for “Frontline: Syria Behind the Lines Preview” for the students.
  3. Put students into groups of three and give them the “Syria Jigsaw” handout. Have each student read one article and then have them share with each other what they learned from their article.
Simulation: What would you do?
  1. Place the students in groups of eight and pass out the “Hypothetical Situation” hand out.  Assign each student a role to play in their debate (see bulleted list on the handout)and tell to keep in mind their role when they make their decision.  Hand out the “Lesson Plan For and Against limited strikes Wapo article” and have each student read it to themselves.  Give them time to decide what they would do (strike or not strike), and come up with three reasons for their decision.
  2. Have students share their decision and reasoning to their group. Their goal is to come up with a decision that everyone agrees on, and they should debate each other until they have come up with a unilateral decision.  At the end of time have each group share out if they were able to come to a decision and if so what it was.  If not have them explain why they could not come to a decision.
  3. On their own have students complete the questions on the “Hypothetical Situation” hand out.
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  • Common Core Standards

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    Relevant National Standards:
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.7.1 Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.1 Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.7.8 Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.8 Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses).
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.7.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.7.4 Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with pertinent descriptions, facts, details, and examples; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.8.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.8.4 Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.

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