PLAN:IRAN IN 2004
By Lara Maupin, former social studies teacher and student government adviser at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia
Subjects: comparative government, world cultures, world religions class or current events
Estimated time of completion: This lesson is intended to take two class periods.
On February 20, 2004 controversial parliamentary elections were held in Iran. Reformer urged Iranians to boycott the elections, while conservatives urged them to go to the polls. In this lesson, your students will examine the historical, political, and societal causes of the tension between reformers and conservatives in Iran as well as other current issues such as whether or not Iran is likely to become a nuclear power. This lesson is especially relevant in a comparative government, world cultures, or world religions class but may be used in any social studies class in which current events are discussed.
1. Introduction: Give your students some background on the 2004 parliamentary elections in Iran.
In the 2000 elections, large voter turnout enabled reformers to take control of parliament. Since then, there has been much tension between reformers such as the president and the majority in parliament and conservatives such as the supreme leader and those in oversight groups who have the final say in most policy matters. Conservatives want to maintain strict Islamic control and are opposed to greater openness with the West. In January, the conservative Guardian Council disqualified 3,600 of 8,000 parliamentary candidates. Most of those disqualified were more liberal candidates supportive of Western-style democratic reforms and liberalization. The Guardian Council reinstated a third of the barred candidates as a result of pressure from the president. Still, hundreds of candidates withdrew and over 100 sitting members of parliament resigned in protest. The president threatened to cancel the elections.
your students read the LEAD
STORY on the February 20 elections:
2. Group Activity: Iran Jigsaw: Divide students into groups of four. Explain that each of them will become the "expert" for their group on one of the following aspects of Iran: History, Government, Society, and Nuclear Program. Have students decide who will take each topic within their groups. Give students the HANDOUT. Provide them with the following sources.
Allow students time to research their assigned topics using the articles and links provided in order to complete their portions of the handout. You may wish to allow students working on the same topics to work together in pairs or small "expert groups." Each original "home group" of four then comes back together so that each "expert" can teach the other group members about their topics by going over the answers to their assigned portions of the handout. Students complete the handout together in this way. You may wish to go over the handout when students have finished and/or collect it.
Homework: Further research: Have students select one of the following topics
to learn more about for homework. Ask them to bring a one-page summary of what
they learned to class to share.
Conclusions / Analysis:
resources for teachers
The View from Iran
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