The Insurgency

About the Film:

With access to insurgent leaders, this FRONTLINE investigation tells the story of the diverse groups that make up the resistance movement in Iraq, exploring their roots and their incubation in the days after the coalition invasion of 2003. The program goes on to examine the complex and sometimes seemingly counterproductive positions taken by the various factions, including Baath Party members, Saddam loyalists, Sunni, Shi'a, Al Qaeda, and nationalists. Throughout, "The Insurgency" asks: Can these forces hold out longer than the U.S. resolve? Will the divergent groups merge to form a united front against the occupation? What effect will the recent Iraqi elections have on the insurgents' efforts? What effect will their actions have on the future of democracy in Iraq?

Watching the Film:

Teachers can either assign the film for viewing as homework or show the film in class. Suggested discussion questions are provided. The lessons and activities in this guide can be used in the classroom without having viewed the film.

A Note to Teachers:

For classes in social studies, language arts, current events, and history; Grade level 9th - 12th. The lesson plan examines the insurgency in Iraq and, through a debate format, invites students to consider the next course of action for U.S. policy. The lesson can be used in its entirety or teachers can select individual activities to accommodate instructional time and student abilities.

Discussion Questions:

This guide includes a list of questions for students to discuss after viewing The Insurgency.

Featured Lesson Plan:

"The Insurgency in Iraq: A Quandary for the United States"
Students will become familiar with:

Additional Lesson Ideas:

A Comprehensive View of The Insurgent Groups
Students examine the different insurgent groups and hypothesize about how these groups may or may not assimilate into a democratic Iraq.

Different Perspectives
Students compare how Western and Islamic news sources report on the insurgency and the development of democracy in Iraq.

Public Forum
Students organize a public forum that focuses on withdrawing troops from Iraq.

Additional Resources:

An annotated list of relevant Web sites and articles.

Purchasing the Film:

"The Insurgency" can be purchased from Shop PBS for Teachers. Also, teachers and students can watch the film streamed in its entirety on FRONTLINE's Web site: http://www.pbs.org/frontline/insurgency/


This teacher's guide was developed by Simone Bloom Nathan of Media Education Consultants. It was written by Greg Timmons, curriculum writer and educational consultant. Advisers were Ellen Greenblatt, University High School, San Francisco, and Patricia Grimmer, educational consultant.