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Kim's Nuclear Gamble
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Post-Viewing Lesson Plans

The Negotiations

  • A Note to Teachers

  • Pre-Viewing Lesson Plans
  • What Brought Us to this Place?
  • Learning About Nuclear Weapons

  • Viewing the Documentary

    Post-Viewing Lesson Plans
  • Negotiations
  • Going Further: Oral Histories
  • Additional Resources

  • Student Assignment Sheets
  • Key Dates/Events in U.S.-North Korea Relations
  • Learning About Nuclear Weapons
  • Preparing to Negotiate
  • Charting Escalation
  • Lesson Objectives

    In this lesson students will:

    • Review and apply the information they have learned from watching the documentary and from Activities One and Two
    • Plan a negotiating strategy along with other members of their group (with each group representing either the U.S. or North Korea)
    • Negotiate an agreement that limits or stops nuclear development in North Korea AND addresses some of the basic human needs North Koreans face.

    Note: If your school participates in Model United Nations, club members or the club sponsor would be good resources for negotiation strategies. Information about starting a Model United Nations Club is at: http://www.unausa.org/programs/modelun.htm

    Materials Needed

    • Computers with Internet access
    • Student Assignment Sheet: Preparing to Negotiate
    • Student Assignment Sheet: Charting Escalation

    Time Needed

    Approximately 90 minutes (45 minutes to prepare in groups and complete the Assignment Sheet, 45 minutes to meet in negotiations)


    A. Divide students into two groups to prepare for negotiations. One group will represent North Korea and the second group will represent the United States. Hand out Student Assignment Sheet to help students organize their thoughts.

    Group#1: This group will use the following Web sites to assemble as much information as possible about the culture and politics of North Korea and the North Korean position regarding nuclear weapons. (Note: Remind students of media literacy issues here. Since North Korea's Web sites are highly controlled, we simply cannot find some information we would like to know.)

    Note: The North Korean Web sites do not mention the pervasive famine that has plagued the country and its people. Some sites that do discuss famine are: http://www.usip.org/pubs/specialreports/sr990802.html, which gives an overview of the politics of famine, and http://www.visual-artists-guild.org/VAG/Events/Famine/NiteLine01.html, which focuses on one family's dramatic story.

    Group #2: This group will assemble as much information as possible about the U.S. position using the following Web sites.

    B. The groups representing North Korea and the U.S. will meet separately to explore their positions (using information from the documentary and from the Web sites); to identify their respective long and short-term needs, interests, fears, and/or concerns; and to brainstorm ideas and resources for a potential agreement. For the purposes of this exercise, students should use the terms positions and interests as follows
    Positions: a statement of what a person or country wants
    Interests: underlying needs or why the person or country wants something

    Note: At this point, teachers might introduce the following ways of handling conflict, asking each group to consider what means might be acceptable to them during their negotiations. Students who are part of the school's peer mediation team might also be leaders here. "Five Ways to Handle Conflict," below, comes from a training program designed for high school peer mediation teams by Community Mediation Services, Inc, (http://www.adr-cms.org/)

    Five Ways to Handle Conflict:
    Compromise: two parties work to figure out a solution wherein they both give up something as well as get something
    Confrontation: two parties engage in verbal argument or physical conflict
    Accommodation: one party allows the other party to have its way, even though it means disregarding its own needs.
    Avoidance: one party chooses to avoid or neglect the problem they have with the other party.
    Collaboration: two parties state a problem to one another and work through to a mutual solution.

    C. Each side will choose three spokespersons. Other students will be advisors, who must submit at least two written notes or comments to their spokespersons during the negotiations. The spokespersons will then negotiate. Hand out Student Assignment Sheet: Charting Escalation to help students chart the progress of the negotiations.

    Method of Assessment

    1. After the negotiations, discuss students' reactions to the negotiating process and their findings on the issues that escalated or de-escalated them.
    2. Each student must write a two-page persuasive essay in the form of a letter to either Kim Jong Il or to President George Bush addressing the following issues and advising the leaders how to proceed:
      • Where is this conflict going?
      • What are some possible outcomes?
      • How should they avoid further escalation?

    Supplementary Activities

    History teachers whose students may have been studying World War II and the Cold War may want to take this opportunity to have several students prepare a brief review of factors leading to the Cold War. For teachers whose curriculum has not yet reached this period in history, a brief overview with a focus on Yalta and the Cuban missile crisis is available at: http://www.ibiblio.org/expo/soviet.exhibit/coldwar.html

    A more complete Cold War site, with links to key events for each decade from the 1940s to the 1990s is at: http://www.coldwar.org/.

    More able students might find grappling with the February 2003 opinion piece, "Coping With North Korea," interesting.

    Going Further

    Oral Histories: Veterans and Korean Americans

    Many communities may have veterans of the Korean War, Koreans adopted by American families, Korean immigrants or descendants of immigrants living in their midst. Ask students to find (through local chapters of Veterans of Foreign Wars or through churches and community groups) some veterans who are willing to talk about their experiences in Korea or other community members with background or ties to Korea.

    The following Web site contains a U.S. map with links to chapters of the Korean War Veterans Association for each state: http://www.kwva.org/chapters.html

    Before sending students off to interview veterans or Korean-Americans, brainstorm with them to discover what they might want to ask, and how they might proceed to find out about the veterans' experiences, or the lives of Korean immigrants or adoptees. Come up with a list of at least six questions they might ask.

    The Scholastic Web site at: http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/writing/prepare.asp?topic= has a short introduction to how to start doing interviews for oral histories.

    Additional Resources

    How to Deal with North Korea
    This article from Foreign Affairs offers suggestions on how the U.S. should handle the current conflict:

    First Person Plural
    This documentary tells the story of a young Korean girl adopted by an American family. In 1966, Deann Borshay Liem was adopted by an American family and was sent from Korea to her new home. Growing up in California, the memory of her birth family was nearly obliterated until recurring dreams lead Borshay Liem to discover the truth: her Korean mother was very much alive. Bravely uniting her biological and adoptive families, Borshay Liem's heartfelt journey makes First Person Plural a poignant essay on family, loss, and the reconciling of two identities.

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