Manchester college

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Department of Education

LESSON PLAN BY: Alina BigJohny

LESSON: Learning about Iraqi/Afghanistan War

LENGTH: 45-50 minutes AGE OR GRADE INTENDED: 5th grade
Academic Standard(s):

WG.4.19: Identify specific situations where human or cultural factors are involved in geographic conflict and identify different viewpoints in the conflict.

English: 5.7.8: Analyze media as sources for information, entertainment, persuasion, interpretation of events, and transmission of culture.

Performance Objective:

English 5.7.8: Fifth grade students will read and analyze basic facts about the Iraqi war in a news article and then correctly fill out a corresponding crossword to prove their reading comprehension of the text.

WG.4.19: Fifth grades students will outline two different viewpoints of the war and provide three examples for their own viewpoints, using a given handout.


English 5.7.8: To prove mastery in this standard, students will work with group members to correctly fill out the crossword that corresponds with the given article.

WG.4.19: To prove mastery in this standard, students will work on their own to correctly state two viewpoints of the Iraqi war and then provide three examples of their own viewpoints using the given article.
Advanced Preparation by Teacher:

_ Make copies of crossword puzzle

_Make copies of highlighted article

_Make copies of pro/con article

_Obtain most recent Penny War results from math teacher/class

_Make copies of rubric


Introduction/ Motivation: (5-10 minutes)

Write Penny War update and statistics on the board before students walk into class. As they walk in, they will all chat amongst themselves about Penny Wars- hopefully they are excited about it! (Gardner: Logical-Mathematical)

  • Have question and answer session with students (let the session go in whatever positive direction the students seem to want to go but follow guidelines below, if needed) to get them excited about the Penny Wars, engaged in active thinking, and thinking about the theme: war and conflict. (Gardner: Verbal-Linguistic)

  • What is the best part about Penny Wars? (Trying to beat other teams? Collecting money for a good cause? Seeing which class can outsmart the others/ strategizing?) (Bloom’s I: Knowledge)

    • These answers all have different motives: to build skills (strategizing), positive outcomes (winning prize, collecting money for a good cause), competition (proving who is “best”)—How can these be connected to war in general? (Bloom’s IV: Analysis)

      • War has the potential to have good and bad effects associated with it.

      • Essentially, you want the students to get to the last question and answer about the good and bad effects of war, but let them discuss up until this point is easily transitioned into.

Step-by-Step Plan:

  1. War information / crossword ( 20 minutes)

  • Explain to students: I am going to put you into groups of four. Within these groups, you will all read an article about the Iraqi war together. Using the information in the article, you will then do a crossword puzzle together. Work together and when you are done, turn in your crossword puzzles.

  • Put students into groups of four (Gardner: Interpersonal), ensure that you mix levels of abilities within the groups. Once students are in groups, pass out articles. Give each student a specific color and explain that the group should read the article aloud, each student reading his/her corresponding color. (Gardner: Visual-Spatial, Verbal-Linguistic)

  • Once students seem to be about done reading the article, then pass out the crossword puzzles.

  • Have students turn in crossword puzzles.

  1. Pros and Cons (10 minutes)

  • Have students go back to their seats.

  • We read broad information about the Iraqi war. That information was general and some of it was just facts about the war. But the truth is, there are always different sides to every conflict.

    • Can any of you name a conflict that you have had in your life and elaborate on what the different sides to it were? (Bloom’s V: Synthesis)

    • War can be viewed very similarly to any conflict that we have in our personal lives. There are different points of view and reasonings to every side. The Iraqi war is a big debate because a lot of people have different opinions about if it is a bad thing or a good thing. Do you all remember your view about the war? Has anyone’s view changed? (Allow for discussion if many students seem to want to express their opinions.)

  • Pass out pro/con handout.

    • We are going to read these statements. If you hear one that you strongly agree with put a star by it. You can star as many as you want and you can even star ones in the pro and cons section.

    • Have different students read each statement.

  • Have students get out a sheet of paper.

    • I want you all to write down two sides/viewpoints of the Iraqi war. You should have two full sentences.

    • Next, I want each of you to write your viewpoint. On your paper, you should write: I think that…. (write on board)

    • Finally, using your pro/con list, or ideas you have of your own, I want you to write down at least three examples that support your viewpoint. For example: If I think that the war is a good thing, I would then write I think that the war is a good thing because it proves that the United States is a strong country and will protect itself from terrorists attacks. Write this example on the board for students to refer to as they do their own. (Gardner: Intrapersonal)

    • Work time

  1. Introduction to Writing Assignment (5 minutes)

Now, that we have formed our opinions about the Iraqi war and have reasons to support our opinions, we will write our persuasive essays. These essays will show your own opinion and try to make others agree with you.

  • Pass out rubrics. (Gardner: Visual-Spatial)

  • Go over categories and expectations of rubric.

  • You already have your main idea and three supporting arguments so now you just have to write you essays. We will work on them in class tomorrow and what you do not get done will be homework tomorrow night. If you want to get started tonight, you can.

  • Any questions so far about the assignment?

Closure: (5 minutes)

War and conflict are serious things that happen in our lives. Conflicts can range from small, such as arguing with a sibling, to large, such as war. It is important to remember that all conflicts have people that think different ways, which is what makes it a conflict. Looking at different viewpoints can help you form your own opinion about the conflict. Now, that you do have your own opinions, we are going to write our persuasive essays to try and make others agree with what we think.

  • Based on what you know about persuasion, how can you write a good essay? (Bloom’s VI: Evaluation) (Let students talk about good writing techniques but make sure they get to the main point: using the techniques learned on persuasion terms handout.)

  • You do not have any homework tonight, unless you want to start on your essays. Make sure to refer to your rubric often!

Adaptations/ Enrichment:

  1. ADHD: there are several components of this lesson that will already help ADHD students but I chose to make them available for the entire class. The article to be read is highlighted in color to keep organization clear. I kept all rules simple and did activities in small tasks as to not overwhelm the student. For the individual assignment, I will type out the directions to that the student will understand what is expected (see attached).

  2. Learning Disability: This lesson does not require any individual reading, which already helps students with a LD. I will put this student with group members who can help him stay on task and focused. If reading is a problem, I will chose a “color” for him that has the least amount of reading. If he cannot read on his own I will make him a fifth group member who does not have a color and give him a job instead such as “leader” who makes sure that the group stays on task. For the individual perspective assignment I will give him the typed out directions. If his academic skills are very low, I will shorten his writing assignment to only one example needed or if his oral skills are higher, I will allow him to have an oral quiz instead where he persuades me through a small speech done one-on-one.

  3. Intellectual Disability: Peer relationships are important to monitor with ID students. I will make sure that I choose this students’ group wisely for the group activity. If reading is a problem, I will make her a fifth group member and not give her a “color” but instead, give her a “leader” job role. Her role will be to ensure that each student reads when it is his/her turn. For the individual perspectives assignment, I will allow this student to simply write down her own opinion of the war. I will then work with her to find examples by reading through the pro/con handout with her. For the actual essay, I will have her aid work on it with her.

  4. Emotional Disturbance: ED students offer suffer from low self-esteem and anxiety. I will make sure to put this student with classmates that he gets along with for the group activity. If this student prefers to work alone, I will allow it but make sure to help him frequently. I will also make sure to give him a “color” that has less reading if reading skills are low or if anxiety levels are high. ED students often thrive with responsibility so I will allow him to pass out one of the handouts during the lesson. I will also give this student the modification page for the rules during the perspectives time when the students work on their own.


How excited are the students about the Penny War? Did they seem to grasp the correlation between the Penny Way and our units theme? Are the students interested in all this war information? Do they understand how it truly relates to their own lives? Do the students have strong opinions about the war? How well do I think their essays will be? Was it a good idea to give them pros and cons instead of having them research on their own? How well did the students do with the discussions part of the lesson? Did they seem engaged and eager to discuss with their peers? Should I do more discussions in my lessons, are they ready to have thought-provoking discussions for lessons?

Persuasion Essay: War

Teacher Name: Miss BigJohny

Student Name:     ________________________________________


3 - Excellent

2 - Good Job

1 - Needs Work


Very organized, great flow - easy to read

Organized, a bit choppy at points - decent to read

Not very organized, essay does not flow - hard to follow while reading

Main Idea

Clear, strong main idea that is easy to understand and in the first paragraph

Main idea is present but hard to find, not in the first paragraph

Main idea is missing or never stated clearly

Supporting Examples

3 or more clearly research examples / facts

2 clearly researched examples / facts

Lacking clearly researched sources

Introduction & Conclusion

Clear introduction that draws audience in and strong conclusion

Introduction paragraph present but does not draw audience in and conclusion is there but does not wrap up the essay well

No introduction or conclusion paragraphs


Reader is persuaded towards writer's opinion throughout the essay

Reader is persuaded towards writer's opinion at times

Writer does not persuade the reader to agree with his/her opinion


0-1 spelling errors

2-3 spellings errors

4 or more spelling errors


0-2 grammar errors

3-4 grammar errors

5 or more grammar errors


0-2 punctuation errors

3-4 punctuation errors

5 or more punctuation errors

Pros and Cons of war with Iraq

Reasons For War

  1. The United States has a duty to disarm a monstrous nation like Iraq.

  2. Saddam Hussein is a bad ruler that has demonstrated no care for human life and should pay for what he has done.

  3. The people of Iraq are an oppressed (no control over their lives) people, and the world has a duty to help these people.

  4. The oil reserves of the region are necessary to the world's economy. An uncaring person like Saddam Hussein threatens the oil reserves of the entire region.

  5. Allowing bad nations and bad rulers to continue only makes it okay for even bigger and worse rulers to come along.

  6. By removing Saddam Hussein, the world of the future is safer from terrorist attacks.

  7. By helping Iraq, the United States will create another nation in the Middle-east that favors us.

  8. The removal of Saddam Hussein would make other countries, including the United States, safer.

Reasons Against War

  1. Starting a war lacks moral authority and violates previous US policy.

  2. The war will create deaths of innocent people.

  3. The UN inspectors might be able to resolve this issue without fighting.

  4. Our army will lose a lot of soldiers.

  5. Iraq could fall to pieces and all of its people would have nowhere to go.

  6. The US and allies will be responsible for rebuilding a new nation.

  7. There is little proof of a connection to Al-Queda.

  8. A peaceful world does not consist of war.

  9. Allied relationships would be damaged.

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