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Roots of Terrorism
teachers guide

Classroom Activities

Activity 1: The Roots of Hatred

  • Strategies for Discussion
  • Program Descriptions
  • Credits and Acknowledgments

  • Background
  • Key Events
  • Select Individuals by Program
  • Key Organizations
  • Maps of the Region
  • Country Briefings
  • "Basic Facts About Islam"

  • Classroom Activities
  • Activity 1: Roots of Hatred
  • Activity 2: Defining Terrorism
  • Activity 3: Defining an Ally
  • Activity 4: Views of bin Laden
  • Activity 5: U.N. Simulations
  • Activity 6: Making Connections
  • Activity 7: Media and Perception
  • Activity 8: Debates, Discussion Questions, and Writing Prompts
  • Activity 9: How Are You Being Represented?

  • Resources
    Where to go on the Web for more information

    This activity can be used with any of the FRONTLINE programs related to terrorism.

    This activity will provide students with an opportunity to:

    • Examine the roots, outcomes, and ongoing causes of Islamic fundamentalist violence.

    • Consider the impact of ongoing poverty, racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, militarism, and the availability of weapons on religious expression, nationalism, and struggles for political power.

    • Practice listening skills and note-taking.


    Prior to showing FRONTLINE, distribute blank copies of this "tree" to each student. Direct students to use the sheet to take notes as they watch the program(s), filling in each root of terrorism they identify and each outcome of terrorism on a leaf. You might follow up by asking students what things "fertilize" the tree. Students should be encouraged to share their trees.

    Depending on the program or clip you choose to view, students may encounter any or all of the following roots of terrorism:

    • Anti-Semitism
    • Cold War politics
    • Militarism
    • Money / poverty
    • Oil
    • Political power
    • Racism
    • Religion / fundamentalism
    • Sexism
    • War on drugs

    Related Web Materials

    FRONTLINE: Roots of Terrorism
    Includes extended interviews, corollary readings, recommended links and resources, and other background materials.

    United Nations
    Includes the text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
    Includes transcripts of relevant interviews.

    Related Curriculum Standards

    22. Understands how the world is organized politically into nation-states, how nation-states interact with one another, and issues surrounding U.S. foreign policy

    23. Understands the impact of significant political and nonpolitical developments on the United States and other nations

    11. Understands the patterns and networks of economic interdependence on Earth's surface

    13. Understands the forces of cooperation and conflict that shape the divisions of Earth's surface

    Historical understanding
    1. Understands and knows how to analyze chronological relationships and patterns

    Thinking and reasoning
    2. Understands and applies basic principles of logic and reasoning

    Language arts
    8. Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes

    9. Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media

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