Questions, Role Plays, and Vocabulary Development
By Laura Greenwald, The Paul H. Nitze School
of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of The Johns Hopkins University
in Washington, DC
This lesson plan is most appropriate for U.S. History/Government
or World History classes. It not only focuses on the current debate on Iraq, but
it also encourages students to examine America's new security strategy in the
post-Cold War era.
analysis of President Bush's U.N. speech and discussion of the NewsHour report:
The Iraq Debate, students will enhance their critical thinking skills and ability
to understand the key points of the debate on Iraq, compare and contrast attitudes,
and formulate their own opinions on the topic. Students will also have the opportunity
to develop their vocabulary and writing skills.
to National Standards
lesson consists of four parts, which can be used separately or together:
America's National Security Strategy:
Students will become familiar with the topic by reviewing pre-listening
discussion questions. Students will express their views on containment,
deterrence, and preemption. Teachers should encourage background research
on the subject.
Main Themes: After listening to the video, students will analyze the main
themes of President Bush's U.N. speech and express opinions on key issues of the
debate. Students will then compare and contrast attitudes of interviewees during
the NewsHour roundtable discussion.
After choosing a country, students will write a reaction statement to President
Bush's U.N. speech. Students should conduct background research on their countries
of choice before writing their statements. Next, students will work in small teams,
acting as members of President Bush's National Security Council. They will write
policy recommendations, advising President Bush on America's national security
· Vocabulary Practice: Students
will complete three exercises for review of vocabulary.
America's National Security Strategy Procedure:
students in small groups of three or four before the class joins together in a
larger discussion. Each student should receive a handout
with the pre-listening discussion questions. Students should have access to a
of President Bush's U.N. speech. Ask students to write short answers to the
pre-listening discussion questions based on their small group interaction. Join
the class together for a larger discussion and sharing of ideas. (These questions
may also serve as essay questions for homework).
Understanding Main Themes, Viewing Activities
for The Iraq Debate:
Procedure: Join the class for viewing of the background
report and NewsHour round-table discussion. Each student should receive a
with the discussion questions. First, place students in small discussion groups
so they can share ideas about the main themes, compare and contrast attitudes,
and express opinions on key issues. Students should write short answers to the
discussion questions based on the small group interaction. Then, moderate a larger
For the first role-play, ask students to choose a country to represent
at the U.N. Students will write a statement in reaction to President
Bush's U.N. speech and will present their statements to the class.
Encourage students to conduct background research on their countries
so they can accurately present their countries' position on Iraq. In
the second role-play, students will work in small teams, acting as National
Security Advisors to President Bush. Students should write at least
four policy recommendations entitled, "U.S. National Security Priorities
for the 21st Century." At least one recommendation should address
U.S. policy towards Iraq.
Representative) Imagine that you are a representative to the U.N. from
a country of your choice (e.g., United Kingdom, France, Russia, Turkey,
or China). Prepare a short statement expressing your reaction to President
Bush's U.N. speech. Include your views on what you think the U.N.'s role
should be in resolving tension over Iraq. Discuss your ideas on the
best strategy for dealing with the Iraqi regime.
Security Council) Imagine that you are members of President Bush's National
Security Council. Write at least four policy recommendations on U.S. national
security priorities in the 21st Century. Then, debate the pros and cons
of military action in Iraq. What recommendations would you make regarding
U.S. policy towards Iraq? The White House Web site is a useful source:
Procedure: The vocabulary activities may precede or follow the viewing
of the NewsHour report: The Iraq Debate. Pass out the vocab
handout. In the first exercise, ask students to read the excerpts
from report; excerpts are provided so students may study new vocabulary
in context. For each excerpt, students should write synonyms for the
underlined vocabulary words or expressions. In the other two exercises,
students will match vocabulary words with definitions and write their
own sentences. Encourage students to study vocabulary in context; i.e.,
focus attention on how the vocabulary words are used in the NewsHour
Exercise 1 - Choosing Synonyms
following excerpts from the NewsHour report. Based on the context of
the sentences, write synonyms for the underlined vocabulary words.
KOFI ANNAN: "I urge Iraq to comply with its obligations
- for the sake of its own people, and for the sake
of world order. If Iraq's defiance continues, the Security
Council must face its responsibilities."
KOFI ANNAN: "Individual states may defend themselves, by striking
back at terrorist groups and the countries that harbor
or support them. But only concerted vigilance and
cooperation among all states, with constant, systematic exchange of
information, offers any real hope of denying terrorists their opportunities."
BUSH: "And our greatest fear is that terrorists will find a shortcut
to their mad ambitions when an outlaw regime supplies
them with the technologies to kill on a massive scale."
BUSH: "Last year, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights found that
Iraq continues to commit extremely grave violations of
human rights and that the regime's repression is all-pervasive."
LEHRER: "Secretary Brown, how you would describe the bottom-line
message of what the president was saying today?"
McHENRY: "I think the president did a very good job of telling
us what we know. And that is, that Saddam Hussein is a pretty unsavory
character, has been in the past, is now -- likely to be in the future."
Exercise 2 - Matching
Match the following vocabulary words or expressions
with definitions below.
1. vigilance _____
2. to comply (compliance) _____
3. to defy (defiance) _____
4. to harbor _____
5. pervasive _____
6. indispensable _____
7. sake _____
8. outlaw _____
10. grave _____
11. reckless _____
12. prelude _____
13. bottom line _____
14. to invoke _____
15. unsavory _____
grapple with _____
A. to call for with earnest desire
B. absolutely necessary
D. to protect or shelter
adhere to; to observe
F. spreading through every part of; all-encompassing
G. a person or object that appears threatening and powerful but is neither (translation
from Chinese tsuh lao fu)
H. watchfulness; alertness
K. to renounce faith in; to refuse boldly
M. the essential point or end result
N. introduction; groundwork
O. solemn; serious
Exercise 3 - Write your own sentences
Ask students to write their own sentences using the vocabulary words/expressions.
to National Standards:
National Council for the Social Studies Global Connections IX:
conditions and motivations that contribute to conflict, cooperation
and interdependence among groups, societies and nations;
the relationships and tensions between national sovereignty and global
interests, in matters such as territory, economic development, nuclear
and other weapons, use of natural resources, and human rights concerns;
or formulate policy statements demonstrating an understanding of concerns,
standards, issues and conflicts related to universal human rights;
Describe and evaluate the role of international and multinational organizations
in the global arena.
Author Laura Greenwald teaches English for International
Relations at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
(SAIS) of The Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC. She has a
Master's Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from
the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a Master's Degree
in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University SAIS. She has
a B.A. in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University.
To find out more about opportunities to contribute
to this site, contact Leah Clapman at email@example.com