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Roots of Terrorism
teachers guide

Pre-Viewing Lesson Plans

Reviewing Events

  • A Note to Teachers

  • Pre-Viewing Lesson Plans
  • Examining Primary Documents
  • Reviewing Events

  • Post-Viewing Lesson Plans
  • Analyzing Information
  • Media Messages
  • Considering Sources

  • Internet Resources

    Student Assignment Sheets

    Glossary and Identifications

    Lesson Objectives:

    In this lesson students will:

    • Identify some of the individuals and terrorist groups in the documentary.
    • Define the main terms.
    • Examine the historical background of terrorism.
    • Analyze the U.S. government's goals in the war on terrorism.
    • Review the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on Washington D.C., and New York.
    • Locate the areas visited by the FRONTLINE reporters.

    Materials needed:


    1. Prior to viewing the film, hand out the student assignment sheet and ask students: What do you know about the war on terrorism? To evaluate this have the students answer the following questions on a sheet of paper:

    • When did the war start?
    • Who started the war?
    • What goals has President Bush identified for fighting terrorism?
    • What are the sources of your information?
    • What would you like to know more about?

    2. Give students a few minutes to list their responses and then conduct a classroom discussion.

    3. Give the students the Glossary and Identifications sheet. The students should read this prior to viewing the documentary.

    4. View the documentary "In Search of Al Qaeda." Have the students take notes as they watch, with special attention to the questions in #1. Teachers may want to stop the video periodically for discussion or clarification.

    5. After watching the documentary ask the students to answer the same questions used prior to viewing the documentary.

    • Have their answers changed? If so, how?
    • Is there only one answer to these questions?

    6. For additional information, students could look at information on http://www.awesomelibrary.org/. This has an excellent search engine and includes a number of good links. This site is very dense and will require additional time in the lesson plan if you use it. As an alternative, use the backgrounder from the Federation of American Scientists that can be found at http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/terror.htm. It provides an extensive number of resources on terrorism and terrorist acts both before and after Sept. 11.

    Method of Evaluation:

    1. Participation in classroom discussion.
    2. Completion of the map activities and map test (if not done in the Examining Primary Documents lesson.)
    3. Completion of the student assignment sheet "What Do You Know About Terrorism?" for both pre-viewing and post-viewing.

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