The United States, Iran, and Western Asia (a one-week mini-unit)
This lesson could be used in a government/civics course, a U.S. history course, or a world history/global studies course. Grades 9-12, but more accessible for upper grades.
Standards correlation: Common Core Standards—Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies 6-12: Grades 9-10: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8. Grades 11-12: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9.
Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at AIPAC (video clip),
Bret Stephens: "(How) Should Israel Bomb Iran?” (WSJ article, see attachments)
Kenneth M. Pollack “Sliding toward a War with Iran” (CBS News)
Tom Engelhardt: "Iran Through the Looking Glass" (TomDispatch & HNN)
Michael Rubin: "Tehran's Nuclear Endgame" (National Review)
Barry Rubin: “Only Half of the Story: The Iran Crisis and Israeli Nukes”
Map of the Middle East
Reading guides for all readings; note-taking guides for debate preparation; teacher backgrounder.
Introduction (Bell Ringer):
Essential question: What policy should the United States adopt regarding Iran’s presumed nuclear ambitions?
First, each article group (or groups—depending on class size, more than one group can read and discuss the same article) convenes to discuss responses to the reading guide. Then the groups are jigsawed to explain and discuss all four articles. Distribute a new note-taking guide for students to record insights, information, and questions. (I have included a guide for the Bret Stephens Wall Street Journal piece, since his arguments will be useful to some groups. Students can fill it in to refer to as they plan their debate arguments.) Encourage students to make use of the backgrounder’s information as well.
Summary/enrichment: Assign an essay explaining which policy each student regards as the best, supported by logical use of specific evidence.
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