Lesson Plan

Modern Conflict - Terrorism

Learning and Objective:

The students will analyze the differences between typical warfare and terrorism by investigating and discussing the reality of today’s warfare through critically viewing videos and reading articles.

TEKS Alignment
15(B)  explain how citizenship practices, public policies, and decision making may be influenced by cultural beliefs; and
15(C)  compare different points of view on geographic issues.
16 (B)  give examples of ways various groups of people view cultures, places, and regions differently; and
23 (C)  use a problem-solving process to identify a problem, gather information, list and consider options, consider advantages and disadvantages, choose and implement a solution, and evaluate the effectiveness of the solution; a


Show a clip of the 9/11 attack destroying the World Trade Center in NY.  Ask the students if they remember where they were at the time, and/ or what they were thinking.   Then, ask them if in light of recent terrorist attacks, do they think the face of war has changed since WWII?


Activity 1: A Terrorist Attack Has Happened

The students will choose a card at random as they walk into the classroom.  Each card will have a character/profession description, such as 24 year old soldier, 43 year old doctor, 15 year old student, etc.  After viewing and discussing their description for a moment they will again choose a card.  The teacher will explain that there was a terror attack in Austin, TX.  They will get a new card (chosen at random) that tells where they were at the time of the attack.
As a class they will discuss quickly the impact on every person.  Teacher should emphasize that even the people who were not at the scene were still affected in some way.  Once they have those cards they will split into groups, each will have one civilian who was killed in an attack.  There will be a list of questions to help guide a discussion within the small group.
After they discuss as a group, they will share with the rest of the class their thoughts from the discussion.  Then, the teacher will ask if which terror attacks they know of in real life.  After writing them down as the students say them, the teacher can ask them about details of some recent attacks like the Mumbai attack or 9/11. 

Activity 2: How Terrorists Work

The teacher will repeat some of the questions from the discussion guide about how to react to a terrorist attack and see if the students now answer the questions differently at all.

The students will then read an article on the recent attack in Mumbai. After reading the article, the class will go over some details of the attack and the teacher will ask questions such as why did they attack the hotels in Mumbai and the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and flights in the U.S.   Once the class has had a discussion about the reasons behind this type of warfare (political, personal, religious) and the differences between targets in terrorism and typical warfare the teacher will ask if after reading this and remembering 9/11 they have any different views on terrorism.  The teacher will ask again some questions from the original discussion questions preferably from sections 2-4.

Assessment and Closure

Show multiple videos about terror attacks in Israel from Israeli and Palestinian perspectives.  Discuss the importance of point of view when concerning terror attacks.  Then ask leave them with the question of “Has the face of warfare changed since WWII??”

Assessment would be a short one page reflection writing assignment focusing on any part of the lesson they found interesting.  The students should address the above question at some point and can use the discussion guide questions as well.

Questions for Discussion

1.    Did this impact you? How?
a.    Was anyone you know hurt or killed?
b.    Does it make you question your safety in Austin?
c.    Did this change the way you live your daily life at all?
d.    Did you ever think something like this could happen in Austin, or to you and your family?

2.    Is this just part of war?
a.    Do you think this is different from soldiers fighting in a war? If so, why?
b.    What is the difference between a soldier and a civilian?
c.    How is it different when a civilian is killed in an attack than when a soldier is killed in combat?

3.    Why would someone use terrorism?
a.    Are there any situations where terrorism is justified?
b.    If people are oppressed should they be able to attack using terror?

4.    What actions should be taken after a terror attack?
a.    How has the U.S. taken action after 9/11?
b.    Do you think these actions were appropriate? Necessary?
c.    What could/should the U.S. have done differently?


Article on Mumbai


Video Clip of 9/11 for Introduction


Video of Terrorist Attack in Jerusalem, Israel


Video of Israel Entering Gaza

Character Cards and Situation Cards (class size 20)