America Responds
Rescue workers raising the flag
Grieving man
Rescue workers
President and Mrs. Bush
Classroom Resources
Conflicting Views

Grade Level: Elementary (2-5)
Estimated Time: Three 1/2 hour class periods; one homework assignment
Lesson Overview:
Use political maps of the world to provide geographical knowledge of Afghanistan, the United States of America, and other relevant countries. Learn the history of Afghanistan and the Taliban as they relate to U.S. foreign policy and actions. Using conflict resolution skills, brainstorm possible solutions to the conflict between the United States, Afghanistan, and the Taliban. Write an opinion paper on possible solutions.

Related National Standards from McREL:

  • Knows the location of school, home, neighborhood, community, state, and country
  • Understands the spatial organization of places through such concepts as location, distance, direction, scale, movement, and region
  • Knows examples of world conflict or cooperation (e.g., countries in trade pacts, areas of the world with refugee problems)
  • Knows how and why people compete for control of Earth's surface (e.g., ethnic or national differences, desire for political control, economic inequalities)
  • Understands selected attributes and historical developments of societies in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe
  • Writes in a variety of forms or genres (e.g., picture books, friendly letters, stories, poems, information pieces, invitations, personal experience narratives, messages, responses to literature)
  • Writes expressive compositions (e.g., expresses ideas, reflections, and observations; uses an individual, authentic voice; uses narrative strategies, relevant details, and ideas that enable the reader to imagine the world of the event or experience)


  • World, U.S., and Afghanistan maps
  • Historical Information
  • Paper, pen/pencil, art supplies
  • Venn Diagram or Chart
  1. Use maps and globes to locate the United States of America, Afghanistan, and its neighboring countries. Online maps:
    World Map:
    Map of Afghanistan:
    Map of the United States with inset of the National Capital area:

  2. Have students color and label a map of the world. Label the students immediate locality and state to provide further perspective of where current events are happening in relation to self.
    World Map To Color:

  3. Educators can gather and present historical information on countries and factions that relate to current events. Students can participate in a discussion of these current events as they relate to policy, country, local community, and self. (Presentation of information should vary as appropriate for student grade level and age.)
    Information on:
    U.S. State Department/Defense Deptartment:
    Links to information on the U.S. Counterterrorism policy, a State Department Kids Page,and current foreign affairs highlights.
    The official site of the U.S. Department of Defense offers up to date information on current events in the DoD and American Forces.
    Creation, history, and general information for kids on the U.S. Department of Defense and related agencies.
    A profile of Afghanistan geared towards elementary students. Links to other appropriate articles such as information on Osama bin Laden, maps of the Pentagon and World Trade Centers, and a time line of events.
    The Taliban:
    Includes detailed information on the formation of the Taliban, how the Taliban acquired weapons, and the ongoing Afghanistan civil war.
    General Demographic, Historical, and Cultural Information:
    World Map:Click on Browse Britannica's World Atlas: The World

  4. Compare political views of the United States with those of Afghanistan and the Taliban. Post views on a chart or Venn Diagram with potential and current conflict areas highlighted. Discuss how the government structures of each country or faction differ, and how that relates to the political views. Discuss possible solutions to the current conflict, and why these solutions may or may not work. Is war the only solution? Why or why not? Emphasize conflict resolution skills while brainstorming solutions.

  5. Homework(optional): Have students write an opinion (persuasive) essay on one of these solutions. (Essays could be from one paragraph to multiple pages depending on grade level.)

Student understanding should be assessed through:

  • contribution to class discussion
  • successful completion of world map
  • successful completion of opinion essay

PBS Primetime Coverage
PBS provided nightly coverage and analysis of the terrorist attacks on the United States with "America Responds."

Key PBS Resources:

Online NewsHour
Ongoing coverage and analysis.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Helping children cope.