Roots of the Conflict
Materials: PDF reproducible: Roots of the Conflict
Curriculum Connections: reading a time line, history
Objective: Students will explore the history of America's conflict with Iraq, using a time line dating back to Saddam Hussein's rise to power.
Getting Ready: Point out to students that the friction between the United States and Iraq did not happen overnight. In fact, trouble has been brewing for well over a decade. Before starting this time line activity, have students brainstorm what they already know about the conflict. Why does the U.S. consider Iraq a threat?
What to Do:
- Distribute the reproducible and read the time line entries together. Have students answer the questions that follow the time line.
- Ask students if they remember any of the important events that happened during their lifetimes, or if they know anyone who served in the Persian Gulf War/Operation Desert Storm. Discuss.
- To provide context for the historical period covered by the time line, invite students to create new time lines of other events that happened during this period. Events may be related to inventions, sports, government, or even students' own lives. Have students juxtapose the new time line with the one on the reproducible.
[Answers to PDF: 1. Five years; 2. 24 years; 3. 1988; 4. It provided weapons to Iraq; 5. To help free Kuwait, the small nation Iraq had just taken over; 6. In that year, Iraq refused to allow weapons inspections; 7. The U.S. worries that Iraq is making weapons of mass destruction and that it is allying itself with terrorists.]
Read a Pie Chart
Materials: PDF reproducible: Read a Pie Chart
Curriculum Connections: reading a pie chart, understanding cause and effect, current events, economics/supply and demand
Objective: By identifying the major oil-producing parts of the world, students will understand why trouble with Iraq can cause escalating oil and gas prices here in the United States.
- As a class, read the online article on escalating gas prices. Explain that many factors can cause fuel prices to fluctuate. One factor is an anticipated drop in supply. That is, if people suspect that war with Iraq will make Arab nations less willing to sell oil to the United States in the near future, oil becomes more valuable and more costly. (The crude oil produced by these and other nations is refined to make heating oil, gasoline, and other fuels.)
- To demonstrate supply and demand, have a bag of candy available to distribute to the classbut make sure you have about five pieces fewer than you need for the whole class. Begin offering a candy to each student for one imaginary dollar apiece. As you work your way through the bag, announce when supply is beginning to look short. Ask students what might happen if you were dealing with real money and real transactions. Ask: Would the remaining buyers be willing to pay more to ensure that they got some of the scarce product? Would the seller (you) charge more to make up the profit lost to the shortage? How does the picture change when the item involved is not candy but oila product necessary to our way of life? Without oil, Americans could not get to work, heat their homes, etc.
- Distribute the reproducible and review how a pie chart provides information. Point out that each "slice" of the pie represents part of a whole. In this case, the whole is the world's total oil reserves. Explain that oil reserves are quantities of crude oil that are "recoverable." That means this oil can be retrieved and refined for use as heating oil, gasoline, etc.
- As students read the chart, invite them to find each specified country and continent on a world map.
- Check and discuss students' answers to the multiple-choice questions.
- Using ideas mentioned in the online article as well as their own research, have students discuss ways we could be less dependent on the Middle East and other nations for our energy needs. How could students help their families conserve energy?
Extension Activity: Point out that people's fears about oil prices have roots in history. Back in the 1970s, Arab nations enacted an oil embargo. In response to war in the Middle East and America's support of Israel, they refused to sell oil to our nation. As a result, supply was short and prices skyrocketed. (Most experts do not foresee a full-scale embargo happening again, since most oil-producing nations need to keep selling their oil to keep their economies going.) Read about this period in history together, or have students interview their parents and grandparents about their memories of gas lines and energy conservation.
[Answers to PDF: 1. C; 2. B; 3. C; 4. A; 5. B; 6. B; 7. C. Bonus: Saudi Arabia has about 250,000,000,000 barrels; Iraq has about 100,000,000,000 barrels; The U.S. and Canada together have about 30,000,000,000 barrels.]
What's the Main Idea?
Materials: PDF reproducible: What's the Main Idea?
Curriculum Connections: understanding main ideas and supporting details, current events
Objective: By identifying the main ideas and supporting details in several online news stories about the conflict with Iraq, students will better understand the latest developments and hone reading comprehension skills.
Getting Ready: Set aside time for students to read at least a handful of the online stories in this News In-depth report. Instruct students to pay special attention to the main idea and supporting details as they read. (Students may wish to take notes as they read.) Review the difference between a main idea and detail, and point out that main ideas are often not explicitly stated. Using one story as a model, help students identify the unstated main idea by asking the questions, "What is this story mostly about?" or "What single message does the writer want me to understand?"
What to Do:
- Distribute the reproducible and have students tackle the main idea summaries on their own.
- Divide students into small groups and have them compare the main ideas and supporting details they identified on the worksheet. Ask students to present the main ideas to the class and to tell if the main idea was stated or unstated. If the main idea was stated, students should show where in the story they located the central idea. Also ask students to decide if some details are more relevant to the main idea than others.