by Josie Perry, Choices Teaching Fellow, Rising Sun High School, MD
Whenever I am in need of new resources for my Contemporary World Studies course, my first go-to site is always the Choices website. As I was nearing the end of my unit on Afghanistan, I came across the Costs of War Project in Teaching with the News. The Costs of War Project allows students “to explore the domestic and international costs and consequences of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” The project allows students to go well beyond the financial and human costs of the wars. Students explore statistics on the wars’ impact on the political, social, and economic lives of Americans, Iraqis, Afghans and Pakistanis. The project provides students with a different perspective on war and it highlights how the wars have changed things in those countries as well as in the US.
As this was my first time using the Costs of War Project, I followed the lesson plan provided on the Choices website. Rather than having all students research every topic, I had the students work in cooperative groups to research the various main topics. Each group member was assigned a subtopic from the website and they worked together to prepare a presentation to share with the class. As the groups presented, the class took notes on the graphic organizer provided with the lesson. I used the discussion questions provided within the lesson plan to review with the students what they had learned from the presentations. As a closure activity, after reading “The Alternatives to A Military Response to 9-11,” I had the students respond to the question “Was military action necessary after 9-11?” The Costs of War Project and the accompanying lesson are great teaching tools that I will definitely use again!