Iran






Key Concepts: international relations, nuclear proliferation

Duration: two (2) double-blocks (middle and high school), four (4) class periods (elementary school)

Goal: Students will understand how diplomacy functions with regard to the effort to control nuclear proliferation.

Objective: Students will learn about the Iranian nuclear program and the diplomatic response to the alleged attempts by Iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability.

Essential Question: Can the U.S. stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon?  Should it even try?

Common Core Standards Met: CCR English Language Arts Standards 7-10

21st-Century Skills Employed: Civic Literacy

Procedures

Session One:

 

  • Introduce topic and question, then direct students to read the following online articles:
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  • BBC News: Q&A: Iran nuclear issue (elementary/middle school);
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  • Wikipedia: Iranian nuclear program [Sections 5 & 6] (advanced middle school/high school) and watch the YouTube videos:
  • Making Nuclear Weapons (CNN, external link)

     

  • Break the class into three (3) groups; two of which are balanced in number.  identify one of the balanced groups as “Iranian diplomats” and the other as “American diplomats.”  The third group (composed of five [5] students) will be identified as the “United Nations Security Council.”
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  • Have each group create a Google doc (non-tech: butcher paper alternative), listing the reasons why Iran should or should not be allowed to build a nuclear weapon, and share it with the “Security Council.” 
  • Session Two

     

  • At the beginning of class, seat the “Security Council” at the head of the room.  Seat each team of “diplomats” on either side.  Have the Iranians make their case for acquiring nuclear weapons first, followed by an American rebuttal, followed by an Iranian counter.  (Each student must participate fully in his or her group’s presentation through an individual speaking role.)
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  • Once the two teams have presented their arguments, have the “Security Council” decide the matter.  If Iran is deemed more persuasive, have the “Council” give its consent to an expansion of the Iranian nuclear program; if the Americans are more successful, have the “Council” issue a resolution forbidding further nuclear research and development by Iran..
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  • Follow-up Discussion, “Who Gets to Have a Bomb?”: In whole group, discuss whether or not any nation should have the right to develop a nuclear weapons capacity, even if the rest of the world disagrees.  Drawing on the students in-class experience, discuss the implications of nuclear proliferation on international relations and global security.
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  • Assessment: Assess each student’s individual presentation based the rubric below (alternative -- group grade, based on median letter score):
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    Student’s name: _________________________________________________________  

    Oral Presentation/Debate Grading Rubric


    Component

    Points

    General presentation (fluidity, organization)

    Excellent = 5
    Good = 4
    Average = 3
    Below Average = 2
    None = 1

    Creativity, Originality, and Effort (strength of argument, persuasiveness, collaboration with others)

    Exceptional = 5
    Good = 4
    As expected = 3
    Less than expected = 2
    Not apparent = 1

    Applied Knowledge (use of material and concepts learned)

    Solid application of learned material = 5
    Very good application of learned material = 4
    Adequate application = 3
    Weak application = 2
    No apparent application = 1

    Comprehension (understanding of topic/assignment)

    Excellent comprehension = 5
    Good comprehension = 4
    Average comprehension = 3
    Weak comprehension = 2
    No comprehension = 1

     
    Highest Possible Average Points

     
    5

     
    Total Average Points

     

     
    Letter Grade

     

    Grade Scale: 5 (A), 4 (B), 3 (C), 2 (D), 1 (F)

     

     
    Materials/Resources Required

    Non-tech: butcher paper, colored pens and/or pencils; computer access to Internet and Google suite (Google docs)

    Glossary

    nuclear proliferation: the spread of nuclear weapons technology and nuclear weapons
    nuclear weapon: a weapon using nuclear material (material made up of atoms that can be easily split to release large amounts of explosive energy
    international relations: relations between countries
    diplomacy: the process of opening discussions and maintaining contacts between different countries
    Links

    Iran teaching resources at the Middle East Studies Center.


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