Day 1-Ground Rules and Ice Breaker



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20th Century Terrorism Course Plan


Day 1-Ground Rules and Ice Breaker


This goal of this class is for students to orient themselves with the course, it’s objectives, and their peers. Expectations for the class will be outlined, and we will all agree to adhere to these expectations by the end of class. This will also be the class in which I will gain an idea of my classes orientation and knowledge level on the subject, which will help me better gear my presentations and depth of questioning in future classes. By the end of this class students will know where one another stand in their knowledge level of the subject. Students will have been exposed to the class objectives and will be oriented in what the expectations for the class are.

No Online Materials Assigned for Class

In-Class Materials

Intro PowerPoint Presentation, Class Syllabi (20 copies), Class Survey handout form (20 copies) Class Agenda



  1. Review of the syllabus (10 minutes)-

    • A review of responsibilities and goals for students

  2. Ground rules for class discussion (10 minutes)-

    • Rules of conduct will be voted on by the class, and standard rules of conduct will be outlined

    • Emphasis will be placed on the classroom as being a safe environment for opinions, but one that will be as objective as possible

  3. Ice Breaker (15 minutes)-

    • Name, Major, Reason for taking class, an interesting fact, and something they’d like to achieve in their lifetime.

  4. Class survey and discussion (15 minutes)-

    • Students will fill out questionnaire asking various questions about terrorism. I will then collect and re-distribute them and then ask students to raise their hands if the relevant answer was selected on their survey, giving everybody an idea of where the class stands.



Day 2-How is Terrorism Defined?

The goal of this course is to communicate the difficulty the global, academic and legal community have in coming to a unified definition of a terrorist. The class will be forced to examine their own interpretations of what a terrorist is through multiple in-class exercises as well as viewing what their peer’s interpretations are. We will examine the reasoning and shortfalls of these interpretations and by the end of class, come to a unified definition what we consider a terrorist and a terrorist group. This will help avoid confusion for the rest of the quarter. This class adds to the greater objective of the class, in that it informs students of how the word “Terrorist” and “Terrorism” are used, which is required for a class that focuses on those subjects. By the end of this class, students will gain an understanding of the difficulty in coming to unified consensus on what “Terrorism” is.



Online Materials Assigned for Class:

Kinnenmot, K. (2016) Britain’s Loose definition of Terrorism is Stoking a Global Crackdown on Dissent. The Guardian

This article talks about the very generalizable definition Britain has for terrorist activity. It goes on to state what the consequences of a “loose” definition of terrorism has for the British populace as well as the international community. It will prepare the students for class discussion on what the repercussion of an all-encompassing legal definition may hold.



In-Class Materials

Terrorist Groups PowerPoint, Definition PowerPoint, pen and paper (student provided)



Class Agenda

  1. Open the course with a discussion about what comes to mind when we think of a terrorist. How is it represented in film and media? (10 minutes)

    • Everyone takes out a sheet of paper and is given 4 minutes to draw something they think represents terrorism

    • The class then puts their pictures up towards the front and everyone looks through it like an art gallery.

    • Class discussion about similarities and differences between pictures and why the pictures might’ve been drawn a certain way.

  2. Show slideshow of different terrorist groups through-out time and in different circumstances to portray how endemic it is to all civilizations and people. (15 minutes)

    • This slideshow will feature 5 groups, the Tamil Tigers, FARC, 19th century European Anarchists, Red Brigade, American Founding Fathers (with a question mark)

    • Branch discussion into whether the founding fathers could be considered terrorists.

  3. Have class discussion of how we would define one under international law, or if there should be a definition under law (5 minutes)

    • Make points that the class suggests on a whiteboard or computer and projector, add and remove points until class arrives to a unified definition they can all agree on. Factors involved will be whether the entity is a non-state actor, or whether property damage alone could constitute a terrorist act.

  4. Students review a list of real headlines and circle which ones they think are terrorism and which ones aren’t. (10 minutes)

    • I will then reveal which ones were classified as terrorism and which ones weren’t, while comparing each headline to the class definition.

  5. PowerPoint presentation displaying how different nations and organizations have defined it with discussion of what the repercussions of each definition is. (10 minutes)

    • PowerPoint will feature the definitions of the CIA, the State Dept., the U.N., and Saudi Arabia. We will compare these definitions to our own made previously.

    • Class will discuss the repercussions of each definition and why the nations chose the wording they chose in their legal definitions.

    • Have class vote on whether we think the Terrorist definition is applied to everyone equally throughout the United States. Have class discussion as to why definitions may be applied unequally.

    • Have class vote on a definition from one of organizations reviewed in the class to be followed for the rest of class to avoid different interpretations of the word.


Day 3-History and Prevalence


The objective of this class is to give students the scope of terrorist tactics throughout time and where those tactics have been used as well as get them thinking about where the use of terrorism is headed. This class adds to overall the objective of this course, which is to inform the student on how terrorist tactics have been used and may be used. This class will achieve this objective through a visual analysis of groups in ancient to modern history, an ungraded true/false pop quiz concerning the groups they witnessed in the visual analysis. The class will end with the assigning of the classes’ first assignment. This will contribute to the greater goal of the class, which is to give the students a better understanding of how and where terrorists have operated in the past. By the end of this class, students will be able to trace when and where acts of terrorism were documented and why they occurred.

Online Materials Assigned for Class

Parker, T., & Sitter, N. (2016). The Four Horsemen of Terrorism: It's Not Waves, It's

Strains. Terrorism and Political Violence, 28(2), 202-204


This text gives a great explanation of how and why the use of terrorism changed in the modern era. It goes into detail on the tech, social, political upheaval that contributed to why terrorism was used more and more often.

Hess, J. (2015). The Evolution of Modern Terrorism. Inpublic Safety

Article does a great job of simplifying a prominent theory in Terrorism studies referred to as

“The Four Waves of Modern Terrorism.” This theory is a simplified but adequate way to look at modern terrorism over the last hundred years and will give the students material to engage in discussion during the class session

In-Class Materials

Quiz PowerPoint, Terror Groups PowerPoint, Pen and Paper (Student Provided)





  1. Open with a discussion about how old we believe the use of terrorism is in human history. (10 minutes)

    • We will begin with an ungraded pop quiz, which will ask the students how old civilization is, how old the first constitution is, and how old the use of terrorism is, etc. (per historical records).

    • Hold a discussion on whether students were surprised by the age of terrorist tactics, or if they disagree with the record of the tactics.

  2. True or false class quiz led by powerpoint presentation (5 minutes)

    • Presentation will go over the first known uses of terrorism in a true and false fashion. Each answer will be explained in greater detail after it’s been answered.

  3. Slideshow led discussion of groups from history known for their employment of terror methods. (15 minutes)

    • This slideshow will show depictions and bullets of information for the sicarri Zealots, The Hashashin, the IRA, the KKK, and Boko Haram.

    • This PowerPoint will detail how these organizations gained and lost prominence, and what many of them had in common with each other.

    • The PowerPoint will then detail the rates at terrorism that have occurred and where over time.

  4. Students write how they think terrorism has changed in the last 100 years and how they think terrorism will change in the next 100 (Use, locality, methods, organization, prevalence) (15 minutes)

    • Collect the slips of paper and read aloud the answers, incorporating similarities to the groups and ideas formerly described in the class session.

  5. Presentation on the current prevalence and placement of terrorist activity throug-out the world today. (20 minutes)

Day 4-Terror Organizations, Leaders, and Members


This day will analyze the traditional structures of terrorist organizations and how they persist. By knowing and analyzing the differences between terror organizations and what contributes to those differences, students will be prepared to understand why terrorists commit the acts they commit; which is the focus of the next lesson after this one. The question this course seeks to answer, is how do terror organizations persist? This contributes to the greater goal of this class, which is to better understand terrorist tactics in different contexts. By the end of this class students will be able to analyze how terrorist organizations grow and persist through different theoretical lenses.

Online Materials assigned for Class:

Tucker, P. (2015). Why Join ISIS? How Fighters Respond When You Ask Them. The Atlantic

This article looks at a study done as to why members of ISIS decided to join their organizations. The article writes about the study in a simplified approachable way. In the article the results of the study are reviewed by prominent terrorist researcher Dr. Kruglanski.



(optional) Perliger, A., Koehler-Derrick, G., & Pedahzur, A. (2016). The Gap Between Participation and

Violence: Why We Need to Disaggregate Terrorist ‘Profiles’. International Studies Quarterly

This article reviews structures of terrorist organizations and theories of how individuals of different demographics find positions in terrorist organizations based on their socioeconomic status. It goes into further detail about how such designations may be misleading and generalizing, and a more specific approach may be needed when profiling terrorist groups.



In-Class Materials: Pen and Paper (Student Provided), Terror in the World Today PowerPoint, Modern Terror PowerPoint, Paper Prompts for exercise, Terror Leaders Powerpoint. Class Agenda

  1. Quick write: Name at least one terrorist group. Explain where they operate, who they are affiliated with, and why they are operating in that area. Have 5 people share what group they thought of and why they chose that group to write about. (10 minutes).

    • We’ll review why everyone chose the same or different groups and how they heard/learned of that group.

  2. PowerPoint led discussion with the class about terror groups operating in the world today (10 minutes).

    • Discussion will focus on three groups, ISIS, FARC, and Al-Qaeda. Comparisons of their structures, leaders, ideology’s will be discussed. Class breaks up into small groups and write the factors outside the terrorist groups that contributed to their forming and persistence, such as water scarcity. Answered will be turned in and will be discussed.

  3. Documentary segment on Chechen rebels (10 minutes)

    • Segment discusses the ethnic, political, and religious factors that contributed to the rise of the Chechen rebels.

    • PowerPoint quiz on the video just watched, with each question serving as a platform for discussion of the relevant subjects that contribute to the forming of a radical organization, such as geo-political factors.

  4. Powerpoint presentation on a few other modern groups (5 minutes).

    • Groups discussed will be the Uighurs and IRA

    • Class will be questioned as to how to categorize these groups, of if it is even possible to categorize these groups.

  5. Class discussion of why people join terror organizations and employ terror tactics (15 minutes).

    • Class will be asked why they personally think people join terrorist organizations.

    • Their answers will be used as platforms for many of the theories used in academia to describe why people commit act of terrorism, such as Moghadam’s “Staircase to Terrorism” theory.

    • Discuss the concept of radicalization and how it could occur, likewise whether it or not the term radicalization is a legitimate term to be applied to someone.

  6. Discussion of why terror groups rise and fall led by (20 minutes)

    • Class receives two separate prompts, but are unaware of the second prompt. One asks for reasons why corporations rise and fall and the second prompt asks why terror organizations rise and fall.

    • I will collect the answers after 5 minutes and will then compare the answers on the whiteboard. I will then ask the class to tell me the differences between these organizations traits for success and failure. We will analyze the differences and similarities between the two prompt answers, and discuss whether the answer would be different if it was a government, NGO, or street gang.

6. Discussion on the role of leaders in Terrorist Groups (10 minutes, tentative)

 Powerpoint quiz in which students are shown pictures of terrorist leaders prominent in history and are asked if they can be recognized. Used as a platform to discuss the role of leaders in groups and consider the effects of their decisions and media image.




Day 5-How Terrorists terrorize


The objective of this class session is for students to know the major methods of terrorist attack and the reasoning behind those methods of attack. This will be done with the viewing of an online film of a terrorist attack interspersed with interviews with the victims. Students will analyze the attack and how it might have been carried out through class discussion. The lesson will then have students consider how methods of terrorist tactics have changed over the last hundred years and how these tactics may change a hundred years into the future. This lesson relates to the grander of objective of furthering student understanding of terrorist operations. It serves as a good primer for the next lesson, which discusses the results of terrorist attacks. By the end of this class, students will be better oriented in understanding how and why attacks occur in the fashion that they do.

Online Materials Assigned for Class:

Types of Terrorist Incidents- Terrorism-Research

This article serves as a basic on various modes of attack that are prominently used by various terrorist organizations. It will better prepare students for class discussion on how and why terrorist use the methods of attack that they use.



Burke, J. (2016) How the Changing Media is Changing Terrorism. The Guardian

This article goes into detail of the various way terror organizations manipulate and utilize social and mass media. The author analyzes the various uses over time and in the present. It’s important that any discussion on terrorist methods should be educated by the growing emphasis on utilizing social media platforms and 24 news networks. Facts and ideas from the article will be used to educated the class activities and discussion.



In-Class Materials:

30-minute segment of Dispatches-Beslan (2006) (YouTube video), Psych Theories PowerPoint, and successful/unsuccessful attack PowerPoint, Prompts 1 and 2 on small slips of paper Class agenda



  1. Documentary segment on Beslan School attack (10 minutes)

    • Discussion with the class about certain aspects of the film, such as why the Chechen rebels took the school hostage, what effect it had on the community and country, what outcomes could it lead to, and why would the Chechen rebels commit such a heinous act?

  2. Discussion as to how plans made by terror organizations are carried out. (10 minutes)

    • Branch from former discussion into new discussion of how a terror group would carry out a plan from its inception to its implementation, specifically the Beslan School Attack.

  3. PowerPoint presentation on different psychological theories used to explain why sane people can engage in such violent uninhibited behavior, such as Bandura’s theory of disengagement. (10 minutes)

    • Class will vote on which theory they find most convincing.

  4. How methods of attack have changed over the past 100 years (10 minutes)

    • Students are given a list of methods of attack and a timeline, they must match the attack method with the point on the timeline in which they believe the method was used, such as self-immolation with dynamite, and commando use tactics.

  5. Discussion led by PowerPoint on what is considered a successful and unsuccessful attack. (10 minutes).

    • Discussion on what tactics have been most successful at different time periods and why these methods were considered successful


Day 6-Effects of Terrorism


The objective of this class session is to orient the student with all the physical and non-psychical damages associated with terrorism. This will be done by first watching testimony from some of the greatest sufferers of the recognized terrorist groups. The class will then learn more in detail about the effects through a PowerPoint slideshow. Using the information, they had just learned, the students will be asked to come up with a unique effect terrorism may have that no one notices or acknowledges. From there, the class will look at where attacks have been prevalent throughout time and will analyze why these trends might have occurred in the past as well as why they occur today. This class adds to the greater objective of the course, which is to better understand terrorists and their operations. By the end of this class, students will be made aware of damages seen and unseen by terrorist activity.

Online Materials Assigned for Class:

Rudoren, J. (2016) 2 Weeks, 8 Terror Attacks, 247 Victims: How we Learned Their Stories. New York Times

This class discusses many aspects of terrorism, but up until this point has failed to give proper attention to the human suffering and consequences involved in terrorism. This article is meant to make the student aware to the realities of the human suffering that stem from terrorist acts. This article does an adequate job of showing the human cost associated with all the numbers, theories, and opinions the course has gone over until this point.



In-Class Materials:

Victims of ISIS (youtube video), Effects of Terrorism PowerPoint, Stats of Terror Powerpoint, Pen and Paper (Class Provided) Class Agenda:



  1. Collection of paper 1 (3 minutes)

  2. Documentary segment on victims of ISIS (15 minutes)

    • Class discussion on all the effects on the lives of the people we saw in the video. How were their governments, communities, families affected by this conflict?

  3. PowerPoint led discussion on the various ways in which Terrorism effects individuals, communities, economies, and public policy (20 minutes)

    • Students are challenged to think of the most obscure yet plausible way terrorism may affect something else, be it a continent, a family, a business, or an individual. They write this on a slip of paper and I will read them aloud and have the class vote on how plausible we think each one is.

  4. Discussion on Terrorist attacks through-out history and how these attacks have affected global human society (10 minutes)

    • Powerpoint led discussion that looks at the general grand cost of terrorism through different moments in time, visualized in graphs.

    • Class discusses how these costs stem from terrorist behavior or if terrorist behavior is even the cause of these costs in the first place.

    • Is Terrorism cyclical?


Day 7-Methods to Combat Terrorism


The objective of this class session is inform students of the dominant forms of counter-terrorism used and their results throughout time. To this end, the class will review different counterterrorism measures throughout time and their results. They will then be asked to analyze the pros and cons of new technologies being used to face new threats in terrorism. Using the pro/con info, the class will come together in groups to decide upon the best counter terrorism options for a predetermined region. The region will be handed out on random slips of paper. By the end of this class, students will be made of the different counter-terrorism options available as well as their cons and pros. They’ll also be informed of the criteria required for the assignment.

Online Materials Assigned for Class:

Renaldi, A., (2016) Indonesia’s Anti-Terrorism Efforts are Falling Short. Vice News

This article goes into detail on several of the counter measures used by the Indonesian government in combating its violent extremists. This article is meant to give students an idea of how several counter-terrorism measures are implemented in the real world and see what the results and opinions are of those measures are.



Wagner, D. & Bell, J. (2012). What Israeli Airport Security Teaches the World. International Policy Digest

Article is effective as it will expand students minds to different counter terrorism measures possible. This article specifically will serve as a good resource for the second paper of the class. It details different methods used at one of the highest targeted areas in the world, Ben Guron airport in Israel. Will also serve as good discussion material for the class session.



(Optional) O’neill, A. (2016) Solutions to Counter Terrorism. The Politic

This article serves as another resource for the students to draw upon while working on their second paper. Like the Wagner and Bell Article, it details several counter-terrorism measures used at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels.



In-Class Materials:

Counter Terror and Results PowerPoint, Class Paper instruction PowerPoint, Region Prompts for counter-terror plan exercise, Pen and Paper (Provided by Class).



Class Agenda:

  1. PowerPoint led discussion on past methods use to deal with terrorist attacks on primary, secondary, and tertiary levels (15 minutes)

    • PowerPoint will focus on methods used in chronological order and class will be asked why they believe these measures were taken in the time and place they were in. For example, implantation of draconic strategies in highly populated areas.

  2. The results of the methods discussed in the last section (10 minutes)

    • The second part of the PowerPoint will focus on the results of the counterterrorism measures in terms of the success they achieved in meeting their goals, their costs, and their social implications.

  3. Role of technology and growth of state surveillance (20 minutes)

    • Class will voice pros and cons of increased modes of surveillance in society, answers will be added on the white board.

    • The class will then decide what they think is the best way to counter terrorism, using the technologies listed on the board with their pros and cons contributed by other students.

    • Students will gather in groups and decide upon the best counter terrorism plan for a region that is picked out beforehand by me

    • Each group will present their counter terrorism measures

    • I will inform the students to make sure that they’ve taken adequate notes in this activity, as it will be highly related to their next assignment.

  4. Explanation of Class assignment (5 minutes)

    • Each student is assigned random a region such as Nigeria, Serbia, Japan, United

States in a certain time period, such the 1920’s, 1970’s, and 2000’s. They are then to develop a counter-terrorism plan for that region, and then argue for why they believe these tactics will be effective. For this assignment, students must use sources from the reading as well as credible outside sources. (5 minutes)


Day 8- Sept.11 Attack and Aftermath


The objective of this class session is to communicate the gravity of the impact 9/11 had for not just counter-terrorism operations, but the world in general. This will be done through class assessment of the attack’s success. The class will then view footage of the attack to be shown the reactions of the populace who were present and their visceral relations. The emotionally heavy nature of the footage will serve as a good platform to better understand the national reaction to the attack and discuss it. The lesson contributes to the greater objective of the class in having students synthesize what they have learned through analyzing one of the largest terrorist attacks to date using information they have learned from previous classes.

Online Materials Assigned for Class:

Villimez, J. (2011). 9/11 to Now: Ways We Have Changed. PBS Newshour

This article categorizes and summarizes all the damages that resulted from the 9/11 attacks, and how these damages affect the U.S. Today. It will give students an idea of the unique ways in which an attack may cause new social dynamics that could not be foreseen before the attack, such changes to language. This article will prepare students for class discussion and will cause them to consider aspects of the class session before coming into the classroom.



In-Class Materials:

102 minutes that changed the world (youtube video), Effects of 9/11 Powerpoint, Pen and Paper (Student Provided).



Class Agenda:

  1. Class discussion of whether 9/11 was the most successful terrorist attack in modern history. (5 minutes)

    • Based on the reading for the class, students discuss in groups whether they think the 9/11 attack was the most successful terrorist attack to date.

    • Class discussion about what each group spoke about

  2. Documentary segment of 102 minutes that changed the world (30 minutes)

    • After segment is over, each class member will hand in a slip of paper stating whether they changed their opinion from the last section.

  3. PowerPoint led discussion on how the event has affected the world in terms of public policy, social interactions, and public opinion (10 minutes)

    • Class discussion about new law which enables 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Family, and the potential benefits and repercussions of such a law are

  4. What the event meant to us personally (5 minutes)

    • Members of the class will volunteer their personal thoughts on the issue and how it has affected the world they live in.

Day 9- ISIS and Beyond (Paper Due)


The objective of the course is to make students aware and thoughtful of the way in which terrorism is used today compared with how it’s been used in the past. Students will synthesize what they have learned from past courses to create a plausible prediction of how and why terrorist tactics may change based on how terrorism changed throughout time up until this point. This class offers the students an opportunity to take stock of everything they’ve learned and combine it to create their own unique informed perspective about terrorism. This class adds to the greater objective of the course in that students will learn how to apply class concepts to real world situations.

Online Materials Assigned for Class:

(2015). Water scarcity a contributing cause of wars, terrorism in Middle East, North Africa. Homeland Security Newswire

This article details how environmental factors, specifically water scarcity and desertification, have contributed to a greater occurrence of terrorism in North Africa and the Middle East. This article is assigned to get the students thinking of the different factors that come together to create forces of terrorism and violence.



In-Class Materials:

ISIS PowerPoint, Final Info PowerPoint, Pen and Paper (Student Provided)



Class Agenda:

  1. Collection of Paper 1 (3 minutes)

  2. PowerPoint led discussion on origins of ISIS, the group itself, and their methods (10 minutes).

    • PowerPoint will feature ungraded quiz that asks which theory is applicable to certain dynamics and situations within the ISIS organization.

    • After the quiz, we will review how class material from former classes may be further applied to ISIS in better understanding how and why they terrorize.

  3. Class discussion on what we believe the fate of ISIS will be and why (15 minutes).

    • Based on the discussion held with the class, we will have a debate made up of both sides of the class that will argue for why they think ISIS is just a phase or an endemic problem that will not be solved in the foreseeable future.

  4. Class comparison activity (10 minutes tentative)

Syria. On the other side of the board, I’ll have the class list tactics used by Anarchists at the dawn of the 19th century.

    • We will then have a class discussion on how the technology, tactics, and ideology are different between the two whiteboard categories.

    • We will then discuss why these factors changed the way they did and are different from one another.

  1. Class essay competition. Students argue where they believe the use of terrorism is headed. (10 minutes)

    • What methods will be employed, where will these attacks take place, what new global issues will exacerbate or inhibit the rise and prevalence of terror attacks, etc? The essay voted winner will be excused from the class final as a reward (15 Minutes)


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