Lesson Plan: US Foreign Policy at the Turn of the Millennium

Date: January, 2000

Objectives: The students will

I. identify areas of problems and progress in US foreign policy.

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): Filmstrip: The US In World Affairs: A New Role for the 1970s

A) Introduce this filmstrip by telling the students that it is thirty years old. Students will have to learn about American foreign policy from 1970 to 2000 through their textbook, the Internet, and additional videos and filmstrips.

B) Discuss the following vocabulary terms with the students by having them complete the following matching exercise:


Filmstrip Terms

Short Definitions

  1. Divisive
  2. Dissension
  3. Domestic
  4. Isolationism
  5. Interventionism
  6. Moralistic
  7. Acquisition
  8. Neutral
  9. Disillusioned
  10. Appeasement
  11. Expansionism
  12. Aggression
  13. Nationalism
  14. Cold War
  15. NATO
  16. Armistice
  17. Doctrine
  18. Satellites
  19. Strategic
  20. Ideology
  21. Spheres of Influence
  22. Socialism
  23. Power vacuum
  24. Interests
  25. Priorities
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) Show the filmstrip. Stop the audio when needed to discuss key ideas. 

B) Distribute this worksheet with its fill-in-the-blank questions. Indicate to students that the numbers on the left are frame numbers, so they should watch and listen for the answers as the frame numbers are visible.

C) When the filmstrip is over, 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:

Guided Practice: Understanding Foreign Policy Terminology on the WWW

A) Have students bring up the web page they created called Chapter 21 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 encyclopedia.

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.

George Cassutto's Cyberlearning World

     [Lesson Plan of the Day]     [Cassutto Memorial]    [About the Author]    [Search]    [Civics Lesson Plans]