Teaching with the News

Lessons Plans on Foreign Policy from the Choices Program
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The Choices Program’s Teaching with the News initiative provides online curriculum materials and ideas to connect the content of the classroom to the headlines in the news. Its lesson plans cover a range of foreign policy and international issues, from analyzing U.S. efforts to combat terrorism to exploring policy alternatives for relations with Iran.

We have selected four Teaching with the News lesson plans. You can find the full set here. Pair the lesson plans with related YES! articles to show your students a different approach to media coverage: positive journalism. Explore how different stories about the same issue can change our perception of the world.

GO TO TEACHING MATERIALS AND EXPLORE RELATED YES! STORIES FOR EACH ACTIVITY:
:: U.S. Role in the World
:: The U.S. and Iran: Confronting Policy Alternatives
:: Conflict in Iraq: Confronting Policy Alternatives
:: Nuclear Weapons: What Should Our Policy Be?


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U.S. Role in the World

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We are in a period of heightened public debate in the United States concerning America’s role in the world. What do we think? What issues are of most concern to us? What kind of world do we want in the 21st century?

This lesson plan explores four distinct alternatives—or futures—that frame the current debate on the U.S. role in the world.



 

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The U.S. and Iran: Confronting Policy Alternatives

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News about the U.S. relationship with Iran and Iran’s uranium enrichment program appears frequently in the headlines these days. The Bush administration, as well as many other leaders around the world, worry that Iran may be preparing to build nuclear weapons. Iran claims it is only developing nuclear power, which it has a right to do under international law.

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.


 

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Conflict in Iraq: Confronting Policy Alternatives

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An important debate is taking place in the United States concerning U.S. policy on Iraq. This is not a new debate. Some would date it back to the pre-war period in 2002 through early 2003. Others would begin with the discussion prior to the first Gulf War in 1991. At this point in the conflict, discussion is focused on the question of the U.S. presence in Iraq. What is our purpose? Who should be involved in solutions? Are U.S. 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?

Conflict in Iraq: Confronting Policy Alternatives is an interactive lesson plan that engages students in consideration of divergent policy alternatives concerning Iraq.


 

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Nuclear Weapons: What Should Our Policy Be?

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Today, the world faces many complex challenges. We can see the results of terrorism, environmental issues, and disease, yet for most of us nuclear weapons remain out of sight and out of mind. For many, the abstract theories and jargon that surround nuclear weapons combined with the nearly unimaginable consequences make thinking about the challenges of nuclear weapons difficult.

In this interactive lesson plan, three policy options have been framed to help students think about divergent policy alternatives, each driven by different underlying values, each with merits and trade-offs. This one-week curriculum unit gives students the tools they need to wrestle with the questions that surround the future of nuclear weapons.


 

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Teaching with the News is one of several teaching resources tailored to secondary educators by the Choices Program at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies. Choices is non-partisan in its approach to contested international issues and is committed to providing opportunities for students to weigh all sides of an issue and listen to the views of others before coming to their own decisions.

A complement to Teaching with the News is Scholars Online, which brings university scholars into secondary level classrooms. Each video discusses a specific question and includes graphics to help students better understand the scholar’s answer to the question.

Find out more about their lesson plans to complement your teaching on current issues. You can also sign up for their free newsletter.

 


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