Lesson Plan: US Government: Foreign Policy (Part 1)


Objectives: The students will

I. Define the term foreign policy as well additional terminology related to this topic.

II. outline the goals of US foreign policy through the history of the republic.

III. discuss some of the trends and changes in American foreign policy.
Warm Up Activity (Anticipatory Set): Vocabulary

A) Have the students review the terms found on page 545 of Government in America.

B) Have the students use their own written definitions to complete the following matching exercise:

Terms to Know Possible Definitions
  1. Superpower

  2. Nonaligned

  3. Balance of Power

  4. Arms Race

  5. Neutrality: http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/H/1994/ch9_p1.htm

  6. Isolationism: http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/H/1994/ch4_p9.htm

  7. The Monroe Doctrine: http://www.northpark.edu/acad/history/

  8. The Roosevelt Corollary: http://web-cr02.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/amex/

  9. The Soviet Bloc

  10. Containment: http://nunic.nu.edu/~dcunning/gs/HIS320/unit3/

  11. The Cold War: http://home.cdsnet.net/~howard/ and Check Out CNN's
    Special: The Cold War at http://cnn.com/SPECIALS/cold.war/

  12. Domino Theory http://athensnews.dolnet.gr/athnews.dat/98-02-20/grknews/grvp.htm

  13. Summit Meeting

  14. Detente http://school.discovery.com/fall97/programs/

  15. Interventionism


A) The policy of not taking sides between warring nations and staying clear of alliances.

B) Avoiding unnecessary involvement in world affairs.

C) The two nations that controlled nuclear weapons and led a major alliance during the Cold War.

D) Nations that remained independent of both NATO and the Warsaw Pact alliances.

E) A goal of a policy designed to prevent sudden shifts in global power that could lead to war.

F) It warned European powers to stay out of the affairs of the western hemisphere.

G) It stated the US had the power to intervene in the affairs of any Latin American nation.

H) Territory controlled by the Soviet Union and forced under communist control after WW2.

I) The belief that if one nation fell to communism, the rest of the nations in that region would fall too.

J) Any high level discussion between leaders of two nations or alliances. The first of these was held in 1955 between Eisenhower and Bulganin of the USSR.

K) American foreign policy at the turn of the 20th century, which called for American control of lesser developed peoples such as the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam

L) A military competition between nations that strives to develop the best military technology, especially in the area of nuclear weapons.

M) The period of competition between the US and the USSR where actual fighting was replaced with a battle involving diplomacy, ideology, and espionage.

N) One of the US foreign policy goals during the Cold war was to prevent the spread of communism to other nations. Winston Churchill supported this in his 1946 "Iron Curtain" speech.

Main Activity (Instructional Input): Learning stations on Chapter 20: American Foreign Policy

A) Divide the class into six groups (of four students if possible).

B) Distribute the following worksheets to ALL students:

C) Have students complete both documents and review them thoroughly.

D) In folders for each, place about 10 copies of the following worksheets: (All relate to section one of chapter 20)

E) Assign each worksheet to one group as the "expert group" for that worksheet. The expert group must complete all questions on the worksheet. This includes comprehension questions #1-3 and Critical Thinking #4 & 5. Students should take out six separate sheets of notebook paper and label one for each separate worksheet. They should number the answer sheets as follows:

F) Have students rotate through all the worksheets completing only the comprehension questions for worksheets that they are not assigned as the expert group.

G) After all groups have completed both non-expert group and expert-group worksheets, have the members of each group break up and teach the other groups their responses to the Critical Thinking questions.

H) Non-expert group members are allowed to take notes on student responses.

Check For Understanding: Oral Review of Worksheet Responses

A) After all students have rotated through the teaching/note-taking process, have students exchange papers and review answers orally.

B) Have students correct only the comprehension questions.

C) Have groups present their responses to the Critical Thinking Questions. Give credit to all students for having made any reasonable attempt at completing the Critical Thinking section based on the responses of the expert group.

D) Collect all written work completed by the students.

Homework (Independent Practice): Maps on Regions of the World

A) Distribute maps on

B) Have students label each map clearly with nation and capital names.

C) Review each map using an overhead transparency version of the map.

D) Discuss the recent history of the region and identify how each major nation relates to American foreign policy.

E) Assign one or more nations to each student or to student groups. Have the students answer the following questions about each nation:

1) Is the nation: A US ally, former Warsaw Pact ally or non-aligned?
2) Has the nation in question been the center of news reports in the last decade or several years?
3) How does the nation in question relate to the national interests or security of the Unites States?
4) What is the political structure of the current government in that nation?
5) What is the economy of the nation like? Command? Mixed? market? What products does it export?

Wrap-Up Activity (Closure): Class Presentations

A) Have the students give an oral presentation or create a multimedia presentation/web site using the Internet or CD ROMs on the nation they researched.

B) Students should develop their own quizzes (5-10 questions on overhead) as well to give to the students after they present their information.

Evaluation: The lesson will be evaluated by:

I. the accuracy of student's written responses;

II. student's scores on future tests and quizzes.

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