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For Teachers: Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan #2
Afghanistan: A Rich History

LESSON LENGTH: 2 class periods
SUBJECT AREA: World History

OBJECTIVES: Students will

  • learn about events in Afghanistan in the 1980s and 1990s;

  • discuss the role of the international community in the rise of the Taliban to power; and

  • consider what can be learned from our country's involvement in Afghanistan.


  •  Paper and pencils

  • Computer with Internet access

  • Newsprint and markers

  • Newspaper and magazine articles on Afghanistan's recent history (optional)

1. Begin the lesson by asking students what they know about Afghanistan's recent history. You may ask what the Taliban is and if they know why this group rose to power. Are they aware that the former Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan? Do they know any details of the United States' policy toward Afghanistan prior to the events of September 11, 2001?

2. Tell students that during this lesson, they are going to pretend to be foreign policy advisors to the U.S. Department of State. They have been asked to write a paper on the following three questions:

  • What happened in Afghanistan under Taliban rule?

  • What can we learn from the U.S. policy in Afghanistan during the 1990s? What do you think our current policy should be, especially in light of events of September 11 and the most recent war in Afghanistan

3. Divide students into three groups. Have each group focus on one question. The Web sites listed below include information on each of these topics. Students also can refer to the videotape for more information and on newspaper and magazine articles for details about developments in Afghanistan.

4.  Give students enough time in class to conduct their research. Have each group prepare a short paper in response to its question.
5.  After all the groups have completed their research, have each group present its paper. Write down key  points from each paper on a sheet of newsprint.
6.  Ask for volunteers from each group to create a class policy report on Afghanistan together. They can use the key points from the class discussion as the basis for their report.
7.  Conclude the lesson by having the volunteers share their report with the class. Then ask other students for their comments. Encourage them to discuss what was learned from the U.S. policy in Afghanistan and what can be done differently to help prevent catastrophic events in the future.

Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.

  • Three points: Students completed their research carefully and thoroughly, worked cooperatively with their group to write a draft of the report, and actively participated in class discussions.
  • Two points: Students completed their research, worked somewhat cooperatively with their group to write a draft of the report, and participated somewhat actively in class discussions.
  • One point: Students did not complete their research, did not work cooperatively with their group to write a draft of the report, and participated minimally in class discussions.
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