Debating the U.S. Response to Syria [Fall 2013]

Students will explore, debate, and evaluate multiple perspectives on U.S. policy towards Syria through a role-play activity.

The Conflict in Syria [Fall 2012]

Students work in groups to research the perspectives of a variety of domestic and international actors on the conflict in Syria, understand the effects of the conflict and the possible risks of escalation, and consider the challenges facing the international community as it weighs its response to the conflict.

Following the U.S. Presidential Election [Fall 2012]

In this lesson students track news coverage of the 2012 presidential campaigns and form their own opinion on policy issues and the candidates.

The United States and the Iranian Nuclear Program [Spring 2012]

In this lesson students analyze the issues that frame the current deb In this lesson students analyze the issues that frame the current debate on U.S. policy towards Iran.

The Future of the Middle East: The Arab Spring and the Death of Osama bin Laden [Fall 2011]

Students will consider the impact of Osama bin Laden’s death on different groups of people and discuss the status and future of U.S. counterterrorism policy.

The Arab Spring: One Year On [Fall 2011]

Students will explore the concept of revolution and come up with a class definition for the term, learn about various Arab Spring protest movements in the Middle East and North Africa, and assess the accomplishments of the movements and discuss whether they meet definitions of revolution.

Famine in Somalia [Fall 2011]

In this lesson students will use news sources to explore the crisis in Somalia and consider a variety of factors exacerbating the famine.

Protests, Revolutions, and Democratic Change [Spring 2011]

This free lesson helps students analyze the potential effects of the protests on democracy and stability in the Middle East and North Africa.

After Mubarak: A New Middle East? [Spring 2011]

This free lesson is the second in a series of activities on the recent events in Egypt. It helps students consider the implications of a leadership change in Egypt on the protests for democracy throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Egypt’s Uprising [Spring 2011]

This free lesson introduces students to the protests in Egypt, helps them consider the role of the media, and asks them to analyze the role of the United States in Egyptian politics.

The Global Security Matrix [Fall 2010]

The Global Security Matrix uses text, images, and video to help students explore a broad range of threats as they play out across the layers of the international system.

Pakistan’s Floods Pakistan’s Floods [Fall 2010]

This lesson introduces students to the disaster and encourages them to consider the impact of history, climate vulnerability, and current politics as they attempt to understand the terrible flooding in Pakistan.

Darfur: Violence and the Media [Fall 2010]

In January 2011 the people of southern Sudan will decide in a referendum whether to secede from or remain part of Sudan. In the midst of north-south tensions surrounding the upcoming vote, concern about escalating violence in Darfur has increased.

The Lessons of Iraq [Fall 2010]

In this one-day activity students examine and assess four different perspectives on what lessons the United States should draw from its experience in Iraq. Students assess the validity of these lessons and then consider their implications for other U.S. foreign policy issues.

The Gulf Oil Disaster [Fall 2010]

In this one-day activity students use political cartoons to consider issues raised by the 2010 oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico including impact, accountability, U.S. oil dependency, and energy policy.

 The Haitian Crisis: Thinking Historically  [Spring 2010]

Students are challenged to think beyond the earthquake and consider the role of Haiti’s rich history in the current crisis. Students explore the historical reasons for Haiti’s poverty and its relationship with the United States.

The U.S. in Afghanistan: Analyzing Political Cartoons [Fall 2009]

This lesson allows students to analyze a series of political cartoons to understand different viewpoints on U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.

U.S. Policy in Afghanistan [Fall 2009]

Afghanistan is one of the most daunting challenges facing the United States. President Obama and his advisors are reassessing U.S. policies in Afghanistan, a task complicated by a flawed presidential election. In this free two-day lesson, students debate three possible options for U.S. policy in Afghanistan and articulate their own views on the issue.

Crisis in Zimbabwe [Fall 2009]

Student explore and deliberate about the international response to Zimbabwe’s crisis and assess possible consequences.

Dangerous Music [Spring 2009]

Choices Program has developed the lesson Dangerous Music to help students explore the effects of drug violence on Culiacán, a city in northwestern Mexico, and on popular songs known as narcocorridos. The lesson is built around a video from Foreign Exchange and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

A Nuclear North Korea? [Spring 2009]

In this free online lesson students view videos from our Scholars Online video library and think critically about the issues surrounding North Korea and nuclear weapons.

Looking at the Tank Man: The 20th Anniversary of Tiananmen [Spring 2009]

In this free one-day lesson, students analyze an image from June 5, 1989 from multiple perspectives and consider the effect that censorship can have on the understanding of an event.

Interrogation Tactics in the News [Spring 2009]

On April 22, 2009 The New York Times reported on the CIA’s adoption of the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) program as an interrogation technique. Stories on this topic are headlining major media sources around the country and the world. The documentary film, Torturing Democracy, tells the inside story of how the U.S. government adopted these techniques as official policy in the aftermath of 9/11. The Choices Program has developed an accompanying study guide to this film as well as a media literacy activity to help students think critically about this complicated and politically-charged issue.

India: Conflicts Within [Spring 2009]

Choices has developed lesson plans to accompany the Pulitzer Center’s Global Gateway on India.

India and Pakistan in the Wake of the Mumbai Attacks [Fall 2008]

Today, India and Pakistan face each other with hostility and suspicion heightened by the terror attacks in Mumbai. Both countries have nuclear weapons. Some experts think that the nuclear face-off between India and Pakistan makes the region the most dangerous place in the world. How has it come to this? Resources are provided to help students understand the historical context of the forces at play in the region today.

Globalization and the Economic Crisis [Fall 2008]

News of a global economic crisis has dominated the headlines in recent months. Reports of the effects of this crisis come from as far as Iceland, Japan, and Brazil, with reports of unemployment rates spiking across the world. But the roots of this crisis are in the U.S. economy. In this one-day lesson, students explore a series of political cartoons and consider the relationship between globalization and the economic crisis.

Water Wars: Lesson Plans [November 2008]

While Americans fret over rising gas prices and global tension over oil, the world’s poor are struggling to secure access to another, even more basic resource. Choices has developed lesson plans to accompany the Pulitzer Center’s Global Gateway on Water Wars.

Russia and Georgia: Conflict and War Russia [Fall 2008]

The violence and war in Georgia has brought the U.S. relationship with Russia back to the front pages and rekindled an important debate. How should the United States view Russia? How do Russian policies affect the United States? What policies should the United States follow to manage its relationship with Russia? Russia’s Transformation: Challenges for U.S. Policy provides background and lessons that can help your students make sense of the news and explain why American leaders are paying close attention to the conflict.

Events in Taiwan, Tibet, and China [Spring 2008]

Events in Taiwan, Tibet, and China are in the news. In and around Tibet, protests against the Chinese government have been met with a crackdown from Chinese security forces. The violence in Tibet has escalated to levels not seen in twenty years, and influenced the spring 2008 presidential elections in Taiwan. China on the World Stage: Weighing the U.S. Response (2008 edition) provides background on these issues, including an extensive lesson plan on the relationship among China, Taiwan, and the United States. These resources can help your students make sense of the news and explain why American leaders are paying close attention to the conflicts.

Conflict in Iraq: Confronting Policy Alternatives [Spring 2008]

Conflict in Iraq: Confronting Policy Alternatives engages students in consideration of a balanced range of views on the question of U.S. policy in Iraq. What is our purpose? Who should be involved in solutions? Are our troop levels right? How long should U.S. troops stay? What does this mean for the larger question of America’s role in the world today?

Castro’s Legacy and the Future of Cuba [Spring 2008]

On February 19, 2008, Fidel Castro announced to Cuba and to the world that he would not be a candidate for Cuba’s presidency. In this lesson students will explore the reaction to Fidel Castro’s decision, categorize competing perspectives on Castro and the future of Cuba, and consider the international response to Castro’s resignation and assess possible consequences.

The U.S. and Iran: Confronting Policy Alternatives [Fall 2007]

News about the U.S. relationship with Iran and Iran’s uranium enrichment program appears frequently in the headlines these days. There is much debate about how to respond to this issue. The U.S. and Iran: Confronting Policy Alternatives is an interactive lesson plan that engages students in consideration of divergent policy alternatives concerning U.S. policy on Iran.

Conflict in Iraq: Confronting Policy Alternatives [Spring 2007]

Students consider of a balanced range of views on the question of U.S. policy in Iraq. What is our purpose? Who should be involved in solutions? Are our troop levels right? How long should U.S. troops stay? What does this mean for the larger question of America’s role in the world today? The material is available at no charge from the Choices web site.

Violence in Darfur, Sudan [Spring 2007]

Sudan has been embroiled in internal conflicts since independence in 1956. Most recently, a violent conflict between the central government and several opposition groups has devastated Darfur, the westernmost region of Sudan.

Are We Winning the Global War on Terror? [Fall 2006]

Students consider whether and how the United States can determine the success or failure of our efforts to combat terrorism.

The U.S. in Iraq: Confronting Policy Alternatives [Fall 2006]

The U.S. in Iraq: Confronting Policy Alternatives engages students in consideration of a balanced range of views on the question of the U.S. presence in Iraq. What is our purpose? How long should we stay? The material is available at no charge from the Choices web site.

U.S. Immigration Policy: What should we do? [Spring 2006]

The Senate and House of Representatives are considering changes to current immigration law that will fundamentally change the rules on immigration. U.S. Immigration Policy: What should we do? enables students to consider U.S. immigration policy within the context of long-term goals for the country. This 2-day lesson is available at no charge from the Choices web site.

Nuclear Weapons: What Should Our Policy Be? [Spring 2006]

Nuclear Weapons: What Should Our Policy Be? engages students in consideration of a balanced range of views on the questions that surround the future of nuclear weapons.

North Korea and Nuclear Weapons [Spring 2006]

The six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program have resulted in a tentative agreement. This promises to be the beginning of a long and challenging process. North Korea and Nuclear Weapons engages students in consideration of the range of options that continue to face policymakers. The material is available at no charge from the Choices web site.

Multiparty Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo [Spring 2006]

The Democratic Republic of Congo has been plagued by violence and misrule for most of its existence, yet many in the United States are unaware of the country’s history. The historic election in the DRC has the potential to bring stability to the region and strengthen Africa’s place in the international community. Colonialism in the Congo: Conquest, Conflict, and Commerce engages students in the history of precolonial Congo and European imperialism in the area and helps them to connect this history to the present.

Iraq: The Challenge of Securing the Peace [Spring 2005]

Iraq: The Challenge of Securing the Peace (Spring 2005) Critical questions about Iraq’s future and about the U.S. role in the region have risen to the top of the American agenda. Iraq: The Challenge of Securing the Peace is an online lesson plan that engages students in consideration of a balanced range of views on how the situation in Iraq should be handled and then asks them to articulate their own considered judgment on what U.S. policy should be. The material is available at no charge from the Choices web site. This online resource was replaced in fall 2005 by Iraq: What’s Ahead and in fall 2006 by The U.S. in Iraq: Confronting Policy Alternatives.

Considering Genocide in Sudan [Spring 2005]

Recent news articles highlight an on-going civil war in Sudan that has been raging for more than 20 years. What is taking place in Sudan today is characterized as government-sponsored ethnic cleansing by some, genocide by others. This online lesson is available at no charge from the Choices web site.

The Tsunami Disaster: Putting it in the Context of Foreign Aid [Spring 2005]

The tragic events surrounding the tsunami disaster in Asia have brought the question of foreign assistance to the front burner. What kind of aid should be provided and how much are topics discussed on a daily basis as the world moves to cope with this terrible tragedy.

Terrorism: How Should We Respond? [Fall 2004]

This online lesson plan invites students to explore four divergent policy options on the question of how the United States should respond to terrorism and then to articulate their own considered perspective. This 2-day lesson is available at no charge from the Choices web site.

Global Environment: Considering U.S. Policy [Spring 2004]

Climate change is a central focus of policy discussions in the U.S. and around the world. What should U.S. policy be concerning global environmental issues? This 2-day lesson plan invites students to explore four divergent policy options and then to articulate their own views. This online resource is available free from the Choices web site.

Responding to Terrorism [Spring 2004]

The terrible tragedy in Spain provides sharp reminders that the United States and the world are still threatened by terrorism.

Iraq After War: The Challenge of Securing the Peace [Spring 2004]

One year after the war in Iraq, critical questions about Iraq’s future remain. Iraq After War: The Challenge of Securing the Peace engages students in consideration of a balanced range of views on how the post-war period in Iraq should be handled and then asks them to articulate their own considered judgment on what U.S. policy should be. The material is available at no charge from the Choices web site.

U.S. Role in the World [Fall 2003]

U.S. Role in the World An important debate is taking place in the United States concerning America’s role in the world today.The U.S. Role in the World includes a lesson plan involving discussion of four distinct alternatives – or Futures – that frame the current debate. This activity features an online student ballot that allows your students’ opinions to be included in a nationally distributed report.

Two Years Later: Teaching about Terrorism [Fall 2003]

The second anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon has provided an opportunity to consider the challenges presented by the issue of international terrorism. Updated in fall 2003, the curriculum unit Responding to Terrorism: Challenges for Democracy helps students explore the threats to the United States, the motivations of terrorists, and the challenges for our international and domestic response.

Teaching about Terrorism [Spring 2003]

The terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia the death of more Americans provide a sharp reminder that the United States is still threatened by terrorism. Simulations in American cities of radiological or biological attacks remind us that the threat is real and of immediate concern.The curriculum unit Responding to Terrorism: Challenges for Democracy helps students explore the threats to the United States, the motivations of terrorists, and the challenges for our international and domestic response.

Crisis with Iraq [Fall 2002]

A lesson plan and set of policy options that was developed to engage students in the issue of Iraq prior to war. The materials engage students in consideration of a balanced range of views and then ask them to articulate their own considered judgment on the issue.

Attack on the United States [Fall 2001]

In the weeks following the September 11 attacks, the Choices Education Program posted a framework of policy options to help teachers and students address the issues raised by these attacks in a construction manner in classrooms. To assist students in understanding the issues, Choices asked several of the Watson Institute researchers to respond to a series of questions.

Teaching about Terrorism – Scholar Interviews [Fall 2001]

A series of interviews conducted with Watson Institute researchers in the weeks following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Students and teachers may find these interviews helpful as they consider the issues addressed in our full unit, Responding to Terrorism: Challenges for Democracy.

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