Break the class into three (3) groups, with two students set aside; identify one group or three students as “Syrian protesters,” another group of three as the “Syrian government,” and the third group, the remainder of the class, as the “United Nations.” Identify the two set-aside students as “Russia” and “China.” Have the “protesters” and the “government” each group create a Google doc (non-tech alternative: butcher paper) listing their demands for a cessation of violence; have “Russia” and “China” do likewise with an inclination toward the “government’s” position.
At the beginning of class, seat the “United Nations” in the middle of the room. Seat the “protesters” and “government” on opposite sides of the “United Nations.” Place “Russia” and “China” near but not with the “Syrian government.” Have the two sides present their demands to the “United Nations,” with the “protesters” arguing for international intervention -- either sanctions or military force; have “Russia” and “China” make the case against intervention.
Once the two groups and “Russia” and “China” have presented their arguments, have the “United Nations” discuss whether or not to impose sanctions, intervene militarily, or do nothing. The discussion must consider the following:
financial costs involved (sanctions & military intervention)
possible loss of life (military intervention)
possible escalation of violent suppression of dissent (sanctions)
possible aggravation of tensions in the MIddle East (sanctions & military intervention)
possible destabilization of other regimes in the region (sanctions & military intervention)
Follow-up Discussion, “To Intervene or Not to Intervene?”: In whole group, discuss whether or not the international community should intervene in the affairs of independent states? If so, when? And, are the costs worth the benefits?
Assessment: Assess each student’s individual presentation based the rubric below (alternative -- group grade, based on median letter score):
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
Total Average Points
Grade Scale: 5 (A), 4 (B), 3 (C), 2 (D), 1 (F)
Non-tech: butcher paper, colored pens and/or pencils; computer access to Internet and Google suite (Google docs)
sanctions: restrictions on trade and finance designed to punish a country for misbehavior political dissent: open voicing of views that differ from those of the government international community: all the nations of the world working together