Terrorism: A War without Borders

By Roehl, Jessica Ann | Social Studies Review, Fall 2003 | Go to article overview
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Terrorism: A War without Borders


Roehl, Jessica Ann, Social Studies Review


Terrorism: A War Without Borders Bureau of Public Affairs United States Department of State

"September 11, 2001. The attacks on America shocked us as never before. We were the victims, and terrorism became a gruesome reality. People all over the world shared our horror and grief." A beautiful blue sky is tainted as a jet slams into a skyscraper. Onlookers gasp. The story of terrorism unfolds. Students will know the pictures well, but what they may not know, is the history of terrorism and its regime relentless in its prowl.

"Terrorism: A War Without Borders" is an intense and energetic publication for high school students tracing the history of terrorism and exposing roots of the rotten tree. A tree we recently witnessed devastate so much in America. Never did we hold such contempt for the word terrorism. Never had we seen something quite like the destruction of September 11th The United States Department of State, in collaboration with a special committee of social studies educators, has produced an instructional package (video and curriculum materials) drawing students' attention to the reality and effects of terrorism on our soil and around the world.

The Pre-Video Activities involve using prior knowledge to explain terrorism. The students begin the unit by critically thinking about the opinions that surrounding the issue.

After viewing the video, the Video Activities are designed to better develop knowledge of global terrorism. The video gives visual representation to harrowing events readily associated with terrorism such as the Reign of Terror in France (1793), Israeli athletes taken hostage in Munich, Germany (1979), and Pan Am flight 103 being bombed over Lockerbie, Scotland (1988), to name a few.

The subsequent questions can also help to assess and develop auditory skills. Facts are relayed in simple sentences with appropriate and correlating pictures. Following, are various questions as to the what and why of specific terrorist attacks, their goals, and purposes.

Map Activities not only utilize general map skills, but integrate internet and print resources in exploring cause and effect relationships within those locations. One great activity that it provides has the students identify the "home base" of a terrorist organization and the locations of the attack(s) associated with that organization. What follows is discussion on how the locations are related, can a pattern be identified, and what conclusions can be drawn.

The lesson on Defining Terrorism compels students to identify the differing definitions of terrorism. A graphic organizer is provided in which students align different agencies with their definition of terrorism. Finally, the students create their own definition derived from what they have read and discussed.

Cooperative & Differentiated Learning Activities address a broader association with the many terrorist attacks across the ages. Students' worldview will undoubtedly change as they learn of the prevalence and effects of terrorist incidents. The graphic organizer is wonderful. It asks the students to identify the who, what, where, etc., of events and then forces them to really consider how the event affected geography, economy, politics, culture and global connections. It's a great opportunity to show how history impacts on aspects of life.

To wrap the unit up, the authors have provided a Research unit addressing specified freedom fighters and terrorists groups, assessing the viability of each group's behavior.

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