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Putting It All Together


Through the following activities students will explore international as well as local conflicts and discuss conflict resolution.

Activity 1: Rebellion­­Then and Now
Ask students to use U.S. history textbooks to make a list of reasons the colonists rebelled against the British government. Then, ask them to use newspapers, magazines, or news reports to make a list of countries that have recently undergone or are currently undergoing a revolution or change in government. Have the class choose one of these countries. Then divide the students into two groups, and have one group defend the government before the revolution and the other group present reasons why the rebels want change. Ask students from both groups if they find any parallels between America’s revolution and what is happening in the world today. Then hold a general classroom discussion about the effectiveness of revolutions as a way to settle serious issues. Ask for other ways. What factors do people need to consider in deciding on the most appropriate--or necessary--course of action to resolve differences?

Activity 2: Community Issues
Explain to students that throughout American history there have been issues that have divided the country­­slavery; the need for a strong central government versus the rights of individual states; women’s suffrage; desegregation; and relatively recent conflicts such as the Vietnam War, to name just a few. Discuss with them the difference between issues that people simply cannot agree on and issues so serious that they polarize people into fighting camps. Ask students to investigate their own community to find out if there was a significant issue, recent or long ago, that united or divided the local citizens. Then have them work together to prepare a classroom report about this event based on the following questions: What was the issue or problem involved? (If the event was one that divided the community, state both sides of the issue. If it was one that united the community, state who represented the opposite side.) Why was it important to the community? What was the outcome of the event? How was this arrived at? What were the effects of the outcome on the community? Finally, discuss other ways in which the problem could have been solved.

 

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