Scholastic presents four interactive activities from MSNBC that offer students a comprehensive understanding of complicated world events, not only from the headlines of the present day but also from the pages of American history.
Each interactive features concise, informative text supported by easy-to-navigate maps and diagrams that guide students through examples of international diplomacy and the efforts of world leaders struggling between the desire for peace and the necessity of war. Incorporated into your class studies, these interactives are certain to provide students with a greater insight into a variety of subjects in the social studies curriculum.
The Social Studies Interactive home page is divided into two areas:
This project is suitable for students in grades 612. See Lesson Planning Suggestions below for a prescribed plan on using Social Studies Interactives with your students.
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Several assessment components are embedded in this lesson plan. Targeted skills are listed in the Learning Objectives. An assessment Rubric assesses student proficiency with the Social Studies Interactive project.
When starting a current events unit on the situation in Iraq, give students a background on what it means to rebuild a country after a war. How does the U.N. Oil for Food program work? Why is it hard to control looters? This interactive guides students through the issues facing the United States in rebuilding Iraq. A narrative explains the issues but also asks students to make decisions on how they would react if faced with certain situations. The interactive also includes references to past nation building like Japan post World War II.
Simulation: Be a Baggage Screener
When talking about current events and our nation's security, engage students by tackling the issue of airport security with this interactive. Students confront the challenges facing today's most basic airport security when they take over a shift as a baggage screener. For two minutes, their job is to scan actual X-ray images of carry-on luggage for suspicious objects, weapons, or anything that may be dangerous. They are graded on their performance at the end of their shift.
Pearl Harbor: An Interactive Experience
When starting a unit on World War II, guide students to this interactive and explore America's entry into the war. Revisit the attack on Pearl Harbor through animated maps and recordings of actual eyewitness accounts by US servicemen who experienced those infamous early hours of December 7, 1941. How effectively did the Japanese use the element of surprise? Students analyze clues gathered by American Naval Intelligence that might have warned US forces that the attack was coming. They can then consider why these clues went unnoticed by military leaders.
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This project aids students in meeting national standards in several
This project aids students in meeting national standards in several curriculum areas.Reading/Language Arts
The Social Studies Interactives are intended to enhance your social studies and current events curriculum. You can therefore follow the same general lesson plan for each of the four interactives featured:
Introduce the subject of your lesson and explain to students that they will be exploring a certain interactive that is related to your lesson.
Direct students through the interactive with guided questions. A few examples:
Explore the Issues: Big Picture with Iraq
If you have one to three days:
To extend this lesson, assign students different interactives either as individuals or in small groups. Direct them with guided questions and have them discuss the results within their small groups. Then, return to the larger class and have each group present the interactive and their findings to the entire class.
If you have one to five days:
Introduce the interactive in the format above for the first day. To extend the project, use the interactive as the basis for a research assignment or oral report.
Either assign, or have students select, a particular facet or detail featured in an interactive for example, a disputed issue between international parties, or the role of the United Nations in a specific world event. Students can use Scholastic News Online, Scholastic Classroom magazines, the library, and the Internet to collect more information on their subject. Encourage students to use facts from both the past and the present to support their own opinions on the state of world affairs today.
Once the papers are written they can be presented in class. They can also be used as the basis for a class debate a model UN Security Council, for example.
If you have longer:
If you have more time, have students go through all of the Social Studies Interactives using the lesson plan above. As students complete each interactive, encourage them to look for common themes on diplomacy and the role of the United States in world affairs. Have them analyze and discuss how subjects covered in one interactive affect subjects covered in another. What are some of the most complex issues facing international leaders in the world today?
As a final project, students can present a book of their research papers on each of the interactive subjects.
How do a society's artists depict war? From Egyptian hieroglyphics to Picasso's "Guernica," examples of art portraying both the heroism and the ravages of battle can be found around the world and throughout the course of history. How do these artworks reflect the times in which they were created? Have students choose a known work of art that relates to war or the fallout of war. Encourage them to gather background information on the artist and his/her reasons for producing that particular work. Was it a commission to promote a military action, or was it a protest against one? And did the artwork have any affect on the society's understanding of that military action?
Security in today's busiest airports depends on state-of-the-art devices to seek out potential dangers to airline passengers. From X-ray scanners to metal detectors, we find examples of advancing technology also in hubs for ground transportation. So what is the science behind this technology? Divide your class into groups and assign to each group a particular machine or device. Using either the library or the Internet, have each group research the basic science at work, for example, in the metal-detector wand typically used by security guards. How do metals trigger off the device's alarm? Is this same technology used in other areas besides security? If possible, students can also gather information on the inventors of the device and under what circumstances this technology was first put into use.
Nobel Prize-winning author Naguib Mafouz is only one of a number of contemporary writers at work in today's Middle East. In prose and poetry, authors in countries like Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Iran offer a unique perspective on the life behind events in that troubled region of the world. Assign students a selection of reading from a Middle Eastern author. Encourage them to look for examples of the culture of the region and the characteristics of life described that might inform an understanding of current events. Students can also research the authors they are reading to learn about their thoughts concerning the affairs of the region. How are those thoughts expressed in their writing? Students can then write essays addressing these and other questions.
Samir and Yonatan
Encyclopedia of the United States at War
NY Times: A Nation Challenged
The Journal of Ben Uchida
Early Sunday Morning
Decisions, Decisions 5.0 Building a Nation