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Research Project on the Impact of Civil War and Conflict on the Common Person
Developed by Michael Lassiter, Highland Park High/Middle School

Theme and Core Questions:

  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?

Overview: In this research project, students will use their knowledge from one of the civil war case countries to create a character. They will create a resume and cover letter for this character to apply to a UN agency. Students will conduct research to create a presentation to class that matches the character and the function of the agency.

Time Required: 5 to 10 class periods or 225 to 450 minutes, plus 2 to 4 weeks for completion of research assignment.

Suggested Grade Levels: Grades 8 – 12

Interdisciplinary Applications: Social Studies and Literature

NJ Core Content Standards: 6.2, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6

Instructional Objectives:

  1. Identify some civil wars or conflicts that have been unresolved in modern times. For example: Vietnam, Nigeria, Lebanon, Yugoslavia, Ireland, Colombia, etc.

  2. Describe how civil war impacts the common person.

  3. Analyze the effects of conflict on identity using PEERS.

  4. 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.

Strategies: (Length of classtime used can vary depending on the proportion of assignments done as classwork or homework.)

  1. Students create a character using the cultural profile research forms.
    - Students evaluate their own cultural identity on the form.
    - Students create a fictional yet plausible character from one of the countries studied along the same rubrics.

  2. Students create a cover letter and resume to apply to one UN agency.
    - The teacher should present and explain the UN system’s structure of agencies.
    - Students choose which agency they want their character to apply to.
    - Using the resume guidelines, students create a resume for their character.
    - Using the cover letter guidelines, students create a cover letter for their character to the agency they chose.

  3. Students research for presentations.
    - Building on the character they developed and their character’s role in the UN system, students should develop a fictional primary document (speeches, letters, journals, emails or other creative projects might also be acceptable) which is factually and culturally accurate.
    - The document should be designed to recognize the problems created by a real event in the character’s country and how these problems could have been or should have been addressed.
    - Students should use research guidelines in developing their project.
    - 2 to 4 weeks may be allowed to prepare a final presentation and report.

  4. Students present their documents(speeches, letters, journals, or other) to class in the form of PowerPoint presentations or some other visual format.

Materials: Cultural profile research forms for creating a character Cover letter and resume guidelines United Nations System structure chart Research paper and presentation guidelines and rubrics.

Resources should be adapted to fit the teacher's time alloted and grading criteria:

Assessment: Cover letter and resume of created character rubric

Research report (speech, letters or other) and presentation rubrics



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