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An advanced, well-developed lesson plan on US Foreign Policy in the 1970s and at the turn of the new millennium


Social Studies  


9, 10, 11, 12  

Title – US Foreign Policy in the 1970s and at the Turn of the Millennium
By – George Cassutto
Subject – Social Studies, New Years
Grade Level – 9-12
Lesson Plan: US Foreign Policy in the 1970s and at the Turn of the Millennium

Date: January, 2000

Objectives: The students will

I. Identify areas of problems and progress in US foreign policy 30 years ago and today.

II. Outline solutions that students recommend for the US to follow in dealing with foreign relations.

III. Identify the key events in American foreign policy during American history, especially during the 20th century.

Opening Activity (Anticipatory Set): Challenges facing the World in the year 2000

A) Display the following question for students to respond to in brainstorm fashion:

1) List some of the problems facing the world as the new millennium begins.

2) In a brainstorm session, do not evaluate student responses. List students responses during a three to five minute session on
an overhead or the board.

3) Have students rank the problems in order of importance.

4) Then ask the question: “which of these problems present the greatest challenge to the United States?”

5) Have students break into partner pairs. Assign each group one of the problems listed.

Have the partner pairs develop a plan for the United States in dealing with the problem. Students should write a one or two
paragraph response outlining the plan they are proposing. Students can present their proposal as though the students were
members of the President’s cabinet. The teacher can role-play the position of the President and listen as students present their plans.

Main Activity (Instructional Input): Worksheet: The US In World Affairs: A New Role for the 1970s

A) Introduce this worksheet by having the students imagine it is 1970. (Later, students will learn about American foreign
policy from 1970 to 2000 through their textbook, the Internet, and additional videos and filmstrips in subsequent lessons).

B) Discuss the following vocabulary terms with the students by having them complete the following matching exercise. Students can use the on-line dictionary at or a traditional dictionary to complete the activity.

Vocabulary Terms for the 1970s and Beyond (Answers correspond to terms in groups of five)


14.Cold War


21.Spheres of Influence
23.Power vacuum

A) At home within the US
B) Something that causes division
C) A policy of not getting involved in world affairs
D) A policy of intervening in the affairs of other nations.
E) Disagreeing with a policy or government
A) Not taking sides between warring factions
B) Getting a hold of land, materials
C) Saddened, no longer optimistic
D) Taking action based on what’s wrong and right.
E) Giving in to a bully to avoid a fight.
A) Taking over other nations to enlarge one’s own.
B) Using military force to gain power.
C) North Atlantic Treaty Org., a US-led alliance.
D) The war of ideas between Communism and Democracy
E) Extreme pride in one’s nation or government.
A) A body of ideas that makes up a belief system.
B) Dealing with nuclear forces of nations.
C) Nations forced to follow the policies of stronger nations.
D) A set of policies that controls the actions of a government.
E) A cease-fire; the end of fighting before a treaty is signed.
A) An area where a certain nation has a high level of power.
B) The belief that the government must control the economy to create peace among citizens.
C) A situation where no nation or government has control over events.
D) The things that are important to a nation or people.
E) The order in which a people or nation place things which are important to them.

Check For Understanding:

A) Have students complete this worksheet


B) After reviewing these questions, have the students create a chart that shows the similarities and differences between
American foreign policy at the start of the 1970s and at the start of the new millennium. Some answers may include:

End of the Cold War.
No more bipolar struggle between superpowers and ideologies.
The Soviet Union no longer exists.
Eastern Europe is no longer Communist.
Vietnam is Communist but has relations with the US
China has embraced capitalism but not democracy.
Cuba’s Castro still enemy of the US.
US still provides aid to underdeveloped nations.
UN plays much more of a peacekeeping role.
Conflicts have become regional and based on ethnic hatreds.
Peace in the Middle East still holding.
Terrorism still serious threat.
Nations much more tied together through technology.

Other answers are possible.

Guided Practice: Understanding Foreign Policy Terminology on the WWW

A) Have students bring up the student-created web page on foreign policy vocabulary .

B) Divide the students into groups of three or four and assign each group one or two terms to investigate.

C) Have them visit the web page linked to the term they have been assigned. Have them answer the following questions in
writing and present the information to the class:

1.What was the term and website you visited?
2.How does the term relate to American foreign policy?
3.Please define the term as part of your answer.
4.Is there a historical event related to the topic? If so, what is the event?
5.What is the policy of the United States regarding the topic you found?
6.What is the future of this topic for the US?
7.Please present any interesting facts that you can see on the first page or two of the website.

Homework (Independent Practice): Foreign Policy Research

A) Assign the students one of the areas of American foreign policy they must research by using the Internet, library or

B) Have students write a short paper or essay outlining the past events and foreign policy decisions of the US in that area.

1) Cuba
2) South Africa
3) China and Taiwan
4) East Timor
5) Yugoslavia
6) Iraq
7) Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
8) India-Pakistan Conflict
9) Iran
10) Japan

Wrap-Up Activity (Closure):

A) Have students develop a web page that describes the problems and their recommendation for the area they researched.
Students should include a map of their subject and show where in the world their topic can be found.

B) Have students present their web page and post it on the school’s website under the title “American Foreign Policy:
Yesterday and Tomorrow”

Evaluation: The lesson will be evaluated by:

I. The accuracy of student’s written responses;

II. Student’s scores on future tests and quizzes.

Get the worksheet .
Get the foreign policy vocabulary sheet .

E-Mail George !

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