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Supplemental Materials

Supplemental Materials includes online resources to accompany the printed unit, links to resources on other sites, and a list of recommended print resources.

Scholars Online Videos

These short videos, produced by the Choices Program, bring university scholars into secondary level classrooms. They can be used alongside printed curriculum materials.

Middle East

The Middle East in Transition: Questions for U.S. Policy

2nd Edition. August 2013.


The United States' need for oil, relationship with Israel, and worries about Iran's nuclear program make the Middle East a critical area of U.S. involvement. In 2011, new developments began reshaping the U.S. role in the Middle East. In what has become known as the Arab Spring, protests and revolts have challenged governments across the region. Long-time U.S. allies, including the governments of Egypt and Tunisia, were overthrown by mass demonstrations. A civil war rages in Syria and threatens to spill over borders. The long-term effects of these events remain to be seen, as does the U.S. relationship to evolving Middle East politics.

The Middle East in Transition: Questions for U.S. Policy analyzes the mix of interests and values that have drawn the United States into the region. This unit asks students to consider the principles behind the U.S. presence in the Middle East and consider the effect of the Arab Spring on the U.S. role in the Middle East.


The readings prepare students to analyze the policy choices facing the United States. Part I surveys the history of U.S. involvement in the Middle East through the Persian Gulf War. Part II examines the Arab Spring, regional and international security, and other critical issues facing the Middle East today.

The Choices Role Play

The four policy options are designed to help students clarify their thoughts and, ultimately, articulate their own views. Each option is grounded in a clearly defined philosophy about the U.S. role in the world and the U.S. relationship to the Middle East.


The Iranian Revolution
Students form hypotheses about the causes of the Iranian revolution by exploring significant events in Iranian history.

Political Geography of the Middle East
Using historical maps that show border changes, students analyze the geography of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Partition of Palestine
Students tackle the difficult task of partitioning Palestine in 1947 using contemporaneous data.

Views From the Middle East
In small groups, students role-play a summit in which Middle East leaders share their goals and concerns.

Middle Eastern Literature
Students read excerpts from four short stories and assess the interplay between literature, politics, and culture in the Middle East.

The Four Options
Working cooperatively to present different policy options to an undecided group of senators, students clarify and evaluate alternative U.S. polices toward the region.

Weighing Recommendations for U.S. Policy
Armed with historical knowledge and a sense of their own values, students deliberate the options presented. They articulate their own coherent recommendations for U.S. policy and defend their views in a letter to a newspaper or a member of Congress. Finally, students test their recommendations in hypothetical crises.