- Grades: 6–8, 9–12
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It may seem like yesterday that our nation was on edge, waiting for an announcement of war with Iraq. Now the war is over, Saddam Hussein has been removed from power, and the people of Iraq are struggling to rebuild their war-torn land. A lot has happened in a few short months, and this Special Report will help you and your students put it all in perspective.
The mini-lessons that follow focus on three key areas: In Lesson 1, students will work at understanding the key points (or "main ideas") of the recent current events. In Lesson 2, they will use a crossword puzzle to identify important details in the news, and in Lesson 3, they will get a look at the historical context of the tensions with Iraq.
What's the Big Idea?
Materials: PDF reproducible: What's the Big Idea?
Curriculum Connections: understanding main ideas and supporting details, current events
Objective: By identifying the main ideas and supporting details in several online news stories about the conflict with Iraq, students will better understand the latest developments and hone reading comprehension skills.
Getting Ready: Set aside time for students to read at least a handful of the online stories in this Special Report. Instruct students to pay special attention to main idea and supporting details as they read. (Students may wish to take notes as they read.) Review the difference between a main idea and detail, and point out that main ideas are often not explicitly stated. Using one story as a model, help students identify the unstated main idea by asking the questions, "What is this story mostly about?" or "What single message does the writer want me to understand?"
What to Do:
- Distribute the reproducible and have students tackle the main idea summaries on their own.
- Divide students into small groups and have them compare the main ideas and supporting details they identified on the worksheet. Ask students to present the main ideas to the class and to tell if the main idea was stated or unstated. If the main idea was stated, students should show where in the story they located the central idea. Also ask students to decide if some details are more relevant to the main idea than others.
Find the Facts
Materials: PDF reproducible: Find the Facts
Curriculum Connections: understanding details, understanding vocabulary, finding information
Objective: By using this online issue to complete a current-events crossword puzzle about Iraq, students will synthesize and review the information they have learned.
- Have students read the online issue about Iraq and become familiar with where to find different kinds of information. (As students work the crossword, they will need to revisit the stories to access specific details.)
What to Do:
- Distribute the reproducible and review how a crossword puzzle works. If you'd like, explain that students can revisit the stories to find the answers.
- For fun, you might want to turn the activity into a scavenger hunt and see who can find the information fastest.
- Review the answers with the class, inviting students to explain where they found each answer. Hone research skills by demonstrating how section headings and headlines provide clues to a section's or story's contents. For example, to find out Iraq's richest resource or national language, students might click on "The Country of Iraq."
[Answers to PDF: ACROSS 1. Water; 3, Baghdad; 6. Constitution; 8. Oil; 9. Ba'ath; 10. Dinar; 12. Holidays; 13. Museum. DOWN 2. Arabic; 4. Muslims; 5. Zoo; 7. Unknown to No One; 11. Bremer.]
Roots of the Conflict
Materials: PDF reproducible: Roots of the Conflict
Curriculum Connections: reading a time line, history
Objective: Students will explore the history of America's conflict with Iraq using a time line dating back to Saddam Hussein's rise to power.
Getting Ready: Point out to students that the friction between the United States and Iraq did not happen overnight. In fact, trouble has been brewing for well over a decade. Before starting this time line activity, have students brainstorm what they already know about the conflict. Why did the U.S. consider Iraq a threat?
What to Do:
- Distribute the reproducible and read the time line entries together. Have students answer the questions that follow the time line.
- Ask if students remember any of the important events that happened during their lifetimes or if they know anyone who served in the Persian Gulf War or most recent war in Iraq. Discuss.
- To provide context for the historical period covered by the time line, invite students to create new time lines of other events that happened during this period. Events may be related to inventions, sports, government, or even students' own lives. Have students juxtapose the new time line with the one on the reproducible.
[Answers to PDF: 1. Five years; 2. 24 years; 3. 1988; 4. It provided weapons to Iraq; 5. In order to help free Kuwait, the small nation Iraq had just taken over; 6. In that year, Iraq refused to allow weapons inspections; 7. The U.S. wanted to find weapons of mass destruction and remove Saddam Hussein from power.]