Content Area/s: Social Studies Class usii time Frame

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Choices: The Cuban Missile Crisis

Content Area/s: Social Studies

Class USII

Time Frame1 block

Date:Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Related SOL:

“Interpret ideas and events from different historical perspectives.” (USII.1d)

Technology SOL:

Objectives: (Measurable)

Before you go, you should know that the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred when the Soviet Union placed missiles in Cuba. The Soviets removed the missiles in response to a U.S. blockade of Cuba. You should also know Kennedy’s three choices for ending the crisis and the pros and cons of each choice.

New Vocabulary:blockade, diplomacy
Student Engagement (Procedures):
Introduction- History Hook! Review of containment
Simulation: Kennedy’s Choices(45-60 minutes)

Note: The data sets for this lesson were adapted from The Choices Program’s The Cuban Missile Crisis: Considering Its Place in Cold War History, pages 17-22.

Part 1:
Students will be placed into cooperative learning groups for this exercise. These will be assigned through the placement of name cards on desks.
*Intelligence Report- students will be given background information in order to include necessary context for the crisis. Students will not be responsible for recording this information.
*Part I of notes:

Students will record Kennedy’s three choices and will complete recording and reflection activities for blockade and diplomacy.

Vocabulary Log

Students will record definitions for blockade and diplomacy and complete a reflection for each term.

*Students will be given directions regarding the purpose of the group and their task for the first part of the activity. We will introduce each member of Excom as a way of giving directions.

  • As a group, read the opinion of the advisor that you represent.

  • Write the option that your advisor recommends along with the best argument to support that option (explain why).

  • Write the best argument against another option (explain why).

  • Be prepared to present your advisor’s views to the class and discuss/debate with other advisors.

Part 2:

(We will review our rules for debate/discussion)

*Each group will present the option that their advisor supports as well as one argument for that option.

*Students will debate the choices Kennedy faced as a class. We will then shift the discussion and allow students to share what they personally feel would be the most prudent course of action.


What really happened?

Part II of notes:

Students will record “what really happened” in the top portion of their data collection sheet.

Watch Kennedy’s 10/22/62 speech to the American people

Independent Practice:


Assessment for learning(Formal)
Assessment for learning (Informal)


Content, Process, Product: (Based On)

Student Readiness, Student Interest, Student Needs
Check and correct homework



Textbook Title:

Content- length of quotes, amount of information contained on data sheets (groups were assigned based on cognitive load of role)

Process- cooperative learning groups before debate/discussion
Product- Reflection piece of vocabulary activity, evaluative portion of data collection sheet, debate/discussion

Student Drill


Walk around




Choral Response

Flex Camera



Class work





Oral questioning


Written Report




White Boards

Software used:

Flash Cards


Other:(ie. Interactive Notes)

Power Strategies

Personal Reflection

In watching this tape I was struck by how much talking I did during a lesson that was intended to incorporate a large amount of student participation. I was also struck by the fact that I spent most of my time instructing from the front of the room. Were I to teach this lesson again, I would likely vary my physical location in the room and structure the background in such a way that students are bearing more of the cognitive load.

Setting objectives and providing feedback


Note taking and summarizing


Questions, cues, and advance organizers

Reinforcing effort and providing recognition

Identifying similarities and differences

Homework and practice

Cooperative learning

Generating and testing hypotheses

Observations/Reflections/ Recommendations for Future Uses:

Strengths of the Lesson

-The lesson engaged students in higher order thinking exercises and discussion techniques.

-The lesson afforded students the opportunity to be active rather than passive learners.

-Students interacted with primary sources and documents and used those sources and documents to further their knowledge of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

-Cooperative learning groups and varied participation options engaged a high number of students in the lesson.
Recommendations for future Uses

-Instead of beginning the lesson from the vantage point of the present day, I would likely structure the lesson in such a way that students immediately assume their role once they walk into class and are briefed with the details of the crisis from the beginning. I think that this would replicate the urgency felt during the Cuban Missile Crisis and provide students with a richer simulation experience.

Quiz and Test Questions from this lesson:


_____5. The ____________ involved the Soviets placing missiles in Cuba.

A. Cuban Missile Crisis

B. Cuban war for independence

C. The Bay of Pigs Invasion

D. The Vietnam War


_____13. Which argument was not one of John F. Kennedy’s three main choices for

ending the Cuban Missile Crisis?

A. Diplomacy and communication will solve the problem and prevent a

dangerous nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union.

B. A blockade of Cuba will prevent the Soviet Union from delivering more

missiles and allow the United States to move to military action if necessary.

C. A military strike against Cuba is the only way to eliminate the Soviet

nuclear threat to the United States.

D.The United States should ignore the threat and build up its own nuclear

arsenal to intimidate the Soviet Union into backing down.
_____14.Identify the Cold War event represented by this political cartoon.

A.The Korean War

B.The Bay of Pigs Invasion

C.The Cuban Missile Crisis

D.The Nuclear Arms Race

_____15.What do the lines on this Cold War map most likely represent?

A.The distances that fighter jets could fly without refueling

B. The foreign policy strategy of containment of communism

C. The effects of the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine

D. The reach of nuclear missiles

Created 1/06 pjv

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