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Lesson Plan by Mitchell Zuvela B. Sc., B. Ed.

Contemporary America

Pixton Lesson Plan on Contemporary America

Make United States history come to life with comics!

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Contemporary America

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  • Building
    Building
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  • House
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  • Mountain
    Mountain
  • Prop Delicate Arch
    Prop Delicate Arch
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  • Statue
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  • Tower
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Teacher Guide

Contemporary America

Step 1Class discussion with students

Social trends are the cultural practices that are popular within a society during a certain period. Trends can change over the course of a day, month, or year. Many trends that may have been popular in the past will resurface again in the future. Women wearing tights was a popular trend in the 1980s, and it has resurfaced in the last several years. In recent decades, technology has played a major role in shaping social trends in the United States. Looking to the future, computers, video games, cell phones, and other technologies will have a major impact on everyone's lives.

Create a table comparing the cultural practices of society today, to those in the 1960s, '70s, '80s and '90s. Your students may need to do some quick research about the the trends of decades past, however teachers can also be a reliable source. Compare several common themes or trends in each of the columns. How are today’s social trends completely different than those in the past? What was the music scene in each era? What were the popular movies? What was the family structure like?

Step 2Pixton comic-making activities
  • Make a Comic
    Ronald Reagan

    View Activity
  • Make a Comic
    Modern Economic and Social Trends

    View Activity
  • Make a Comic
    Diplomatic Initiatives

    View Activity
  • Extension / Modification
    Explore (Extension / Modification)

    Explore the idea proposed by some politicians to build a concrete wall between the U.S. and Mexico. What would be the drawbacks and benefits?

  • Extension / Modification
    Discuss (Extension / Modification)

    What similarities or differences in diplomatic policy can be seen in Obama’s presidency compared to past presidents?

Step 3Concluding discussion with students

Explore the events, actions, and decisions made by the U.S. government immediately after the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. Discuss the political response of the American government, the changes in immigration, the impact on everyday life in U.S. cities, the response of countries around the world, and border relations with Canada.

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Pixton Activity: Contemporary America 1 Ronald Reagan

Instructions

Create a Character Map discussing the major accomplishments, policies, history, and important quotes made by Ronald Reagan during his presidency.

Your character map should discuss some of the following:

  • Tax rate cuts
  • Anticommunist, foreign, and defence policies
  • Supreme Court appointments
  • The revitalization of the conservative movement during Reagan’s tenure as President
  • The replacement of striking air traffic controllers with non-union personnel
  • The war on drugs

Include an image of the character and an appropriate quote.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Rubric: Ronald Reagan

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

5 4 3 2 1
Understanding of Concepts • explains with extensive detail
• numerous connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions are comprehensive
• explains with detail
• considerable connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions have purpose
• explains with sufficient detail
• several connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions have basic purpose
• explains with limited detail
• limited connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions have little purpose
• explains with no detail
• very few connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions have no purpose
Inquiry/Research Skills • Extensive use of details; support from a wide variety of sources
• Facts are accurate and complete
• Source are accurately listed
• Considerable use of details; support from several sources
• Facts are accurate
• Sources are accurately listed
• Includes several relevant details; basic use of sources
• Facts are consistent
• Sources listed
• Some relevant details included; sources are limited
• Facts contain some inaccuracies
• No sources listed
• Very few relevant use of details
• Facts are inaccurate or false
• No sources listed
Communication • excellent communication of ideas
• statements are dynamic with extensive development
• descriptions are purposeful and well organized
• effective communication of ideas
• statements are powerful with appropriate development
• descriptions are concise and organized
• sufficient communication of ideas
• statements are consistent with increasing development
• descriptions are basic and organized
• poor communication of ideas
• statements are general with some development
• descriptions are limited and unorganized
• inadequate communication of ideas
• statement are general with little development
• descriptions are incomplete and unorganized
Style • correct sentence structure, grammar, spelling and punctuation; may include some errors in complex structures
• panels are highly organized with exceptional use of supporting details
• few errors in basic sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, or grammar; errors do not interfere with meaning
• panels have excellent organization with effective use of supporting details
• occasional errors in sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, or grammar; errors rarely interfere with meaning
• panels have basic organization and supporting details
• several errors in sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, or grammar; errors may make parts hard to follow
• panels have limited organization and supporting details
• repeated errors in basic sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, or grammar often make the writing hard to understand
• panels are unorganized and lack supporting details
Total
Print this Activity

Pixton Activity: Contemporary America 3 Diplomatic Initiatives

Instructions

Complete a Storyboard comparing the course and consequences of several of America’s recent diplomatic initiatives.

Your storyboard should discuss:

  • The invasion of Panama
  • The Persian Gulf War
  • American intervention in Somalia
  • American intervention in Haiti
  • American intervention in Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • American intervention in Kosovo
  • The attempts to negotiate a settlement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • America’s response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City and on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

Each panel should include an appropriate graphic, and a detailed description.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Rubric: Diplomatic Initiatives

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

5 4 3 2 1
Understanding of Concepts • explains with extensive detail
• numerous connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions are comprehensive
• explains with detail
• considerable connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions have purpose
• explains with sufficient detail
• several connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions have basic purpose
• explains with limited detail
• limited connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions have little purpose
• explains with no detail
• very few connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions have no purpose
Inquiry/Research Skills • Extensive use of details; support from a wide variety of sources
• Facts are accurate and complete
• Source are accurately listed
• Considerable use of details; support from several sources
• Facts are accurate
• Sources are accurately listed
• Includes several relevant details; basic use of sources
• Facts are consistent
• Sources listed
• Some relevant details included; sources are limited
• Facts contain some inaccuracies
• No sources listed
• Very few relevant use of details
• Facts are inaccurate or false
• No sources listed
Communication • excellent communication of ideas
• statements are dynamic with extensive development
• descriptions are purposeful and well organized
• effective communication of ideas
• statements are powerful with appropriate development
• descriptions are concise and organized
• sufficient communication of ideas
• statements are consistent with increasing development
• descriptions are basic and organized
• poor communication of ideas
• statements are general with some development
• descriptions are limited and unorganized
• inadequate communication of ideas
• statement are general with little development
• descriptions are incomplete and unorganized
Style • correct sentence structure, grammar, spelling and punctuation; may include some errors in complex structures
• panels are highly organized with exceptional use of supporting details
• few errors in basic sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, or grammar; errors do not interfere with meaning
• panels have excellent organization with effective use of supporting details
• occasional errors in sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, or grammar; errors rarely interfere with meaning
• panels have basic organization and supporting details
• several errors in sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, or grammar; errors may make parts hard to follow
• panels have limited organization and supporting details
• repeated errors in basic sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, or grammar often make the writing hard to understand
• panels are unorganized and lack supporting details
Total

Example Storyboard

Diplomatic Initiatives by Student
Persian Gulf War: CauseThe leader of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, ordered the invasion of Kuwait. Neighboring Middle Eastern countries were alarmed by this and asked for the leaders of the world to intervene. Hussein rejected requests by the United Nations to withdraw, which forced the US to intervene through an air offensive known as Operation Desert Storm. Coalition troops consisting of American and Egyptian forces led an offensive ground assault that forced Iraqi troops out of Kuwait. A ceasefire was declared less than two months after the initial outbreak of the war. Persian Gulf War: ConsequencesKuwait and Iraq suffered major damages during the war. Infrastructure such as roads and power stations were crippled by air attacks. After the war, Saddam Hussein remained in power which was not the intended outcome for the US and UN. Several years later, Hussein initiated an ethnic cleansing through a series of civil wars with the Kurds in the north, and Shi’ites in the south. These events would eventually lead to the start of the second Gulf War in 2003. Invasion of Panama: CauseThe US invaded Panama in 1989 to remove its corrupt president, Manuel Noriega. Noriega was known to be supporting the Colombian drug trade which was becoming a major problem is the US. The US tried to impose strict trade sanctions on Panama to force a change in government. The Panamanian government responded by declaring a state of war with the US. After the shooting of a US marine in Panama, the US ordered its invasion sending 25,000 troops to force Noriega to resign. Invasion of Panama: ConsequencesThe invasion was controversial because the United States broke both international law and its own government policies by invading Panama and overthrowing its government. There was also an issue surrounding the loss of civilian life and damage to Panama City. Noriega was brought to the US and was convicted and jailed for drug trafficking charges. Intervention in Kosovo: Cause The region of Kosovo had broken out in a civil war between the Yugoslavian army and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). The KLA carried out several attacks on Yugoslavian officials and police stations. The Serbian army were given the power to eradicate Albanian resistance in Kosovo and several acts of genocide were carried out. The US were part of a NATO led force that carried out bombing missions to subdue the Serbian army. Intervention in Kosovo: ConsequencesThe intervention in Kosovo left the region in a state of political uncertainty. The involvement exposed many weaknesses in the US military arsenal due to several mechanical issues that arose. There were also many civilian casualties as a result of the bombing campaign.

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