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Lesson Plans
Developed by Michael Lassiter, Highland Park High/Middle School

Core Questions & Lesson Plans
Students should be able to answer these questions by studying any of the case studies.

  1. How do people define citizenship or nationality in the times of government crisis? To what degree does political instability affect the common person?
  2. What are the economic impacts (both positive and negative) of domestic conflict or civil war on the average citizen? What are some of the survival strategies used to deal with these impacts?
  3. How do the five themes of geography (location, place, human & environmental interaction, movement, and region formation) shape the decisions made by citizens during conflict or civil war?
  4. How do conflicts or civil wars affect religious institutions and the religious beliefs of the average man or woman?
  5. What is the history of power sharing between ethnic groups or social classes in the country affected by conflict or civil war? How do values and attitudes toward ethnicity, social class, and nationality change during civil war? What factors have an effect on these changes?

Teachers are urged to assess the following:

  1. Can students make multiple comparisons or contrasts between conflicts using P.E.E.R.S. analysis? [P-political, E-economic, E-environmental (geographical or ecological), R-religious, S-societal] This is a very useful tool for analyzing historical events.
  2. How do students demonstrate empathy in their verbal and written responses during the PEERS analysis?

Skill Based

  • Role Playing
  • Essay Writing
  • Critical Thinking
  • Analysis and Synthesis of Information
  • Researching
  • Debate Skills
  • Internet Use
  • Presentation Skills (Public Speaking)

Knowledge Based

  1. Define: nationalism, ethnicity, identity, civil war, history (textual and oral), sovereignty, religion, culture, country, nation, nation-state.
  2. Identify some civil wars and conflicts that have been unresolved in modern times.
    For example: Vietnam, Nigeria, Lebanon, Yugoslavia, Ireland, Colombia, etc.
  3. Explain how civil war impacts the common person.
  4. Analyze the effects of conflict on identity using PEERS.
  5. Synthesize the understanding of the impact of civil war or conflict on the common person by developing empathy for the various decisions they have to make.

The country case studies provide the local perspectives of five fictional individuals from around the world at particularly critical times in their nation's history through their journals, letters, and speeches. Each Lesson Plan Case Study includes a fictional primary document based on extensive research, a multimedia slideshow, vocabulary and discussion questions, and resources for further study. Colombia and Kosovo were written by students. Lebanon, Nigeria, and Vietnam were written by the module's author. As your students read the accounts, have them evaluate all of the factors that influence these individuals' decisions and lifestyles. At the conclusion of each account, your students will be faced with a decision to make about the character's immediate future. Your students will have to defend their decisions for these individuals based on their understanding of who the characters are in regards to their nation, religion, family, job, or some other aspect of their lives. Which of these factors are most important to your students? To their family? The module will be expanded in the future to include other countries as well.

Lesson Plans

  Colombia includes a speech given by Lola Motrika to convince Colombian farmers to convert their coca crops to legitimate and productive food crops.

Lesson Plans | Case Study
  Kosovo includes a speech delivered by Krista Armanzi, a UNHCR worker, who attempts to persuade Albanian Kosovar refugees to return to Albania.

Lesson Plans | Case Study | Historical Simulation
  Lebanon includes select journal entries of a leather tannery owner, Daud Khouri, from southern Lebanon, whose sons become deeply involved in the 1975 Lebanese civil war and the establishment of the Lebanese Front.

Lesson Plans | Case Study
  Nigeria includes a speech given by a tin miner, Weke Okujagu from Jos, who has been assigned to recruit workers away from oil rich land controlled by Shell and Chevron after the government execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa, a respected political activist, in 1995.

Lesson Plans | Case Study
  Vietnam includes a letter written by Dinh Mai-Ly, the daughter of a rice farmer in South Vietnam, whose brother joins the National Liberation Front in 1960 and later on the Vietminh to fight for North Vietnam against the United States and South Vietnam.

Lesson Plans | Case Study | Environmental Destruction of Vietnam Lesson

Lesson Plans for Cross-Cultural Comparison,
Extended Research, & Role-Playing Simulations

To improve global literacy, try having your students make a comparison of the civil wars and conflicts above using maps and a chart to prepare for an essay based on your discussions of these case studies.
Lesson Plan

If you would like to pursue a research project using the core questions as guidelines for your students to write historical fiction like the case studies, try this lesson plan for an extended project.
Lesson Plan

Students will enjoy role-playing the characters they created in their research projects in this Model UN Simulation.
Lesson Plan

To learn more about the influence of Civil Wars on our global society, click on the links below:
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