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The Iran-U.S. History of Turmoil

a protest in Iran - armed military hold guns on citizens
Lesson Plan Author(s): 
Cameron Snyder
Iran-U.S. History
Teaching Area: 
Modern World History
Content Standard: Modern World History 19
Grade Level: 
Teaching Level: 
Secondary Childhood
Origins Item(s): 

This lesson plan examines the tense history between Iran and the United States. The Origins article begins with the U.S. involvement in overthrowing Mohammad Mosaddeq and how this event triggered a series of small and major aggressions between the two countries. The article thoroughly examines how the United States became intertwined in Middle Eastern affairs, prompting increases in aggressive action in the region. After introducing the Origins article, students will have read an article from the BBC detailing the complex history between the two powers. Students will be introduced to the lesson’s compelling question: The US-Iran Standoff: How has America gotten Iran wrong? Students will use these articles and the compelling question to guide their analysis of primary source images during a Gallery Walk station activity. Students will examine the images for setting, the emotion, and most importantly, the historical context. From there, students will take a “side” based on whether they believe the conflict between Iran and the United States was avoidable or not. Students will use the primary source images or articles to support their stances. The students will then discuss the actions of Iranian and American leaders that prompted the tense history between the countries. Students will end the lesson by individually answering: Was the conflict between the U.S. and Iran avoidable or unavoidable? on their exit tickets. Students will use supports from the images, the articles or whole-class discussion to finalize their individual opinions on the U.S. – Iran Standoff.

Instructional Strategies:
• Gallery Walk Stations
• Whole Class Debrief
• Take-A-Stand
• Whole Class Synthesis Discussion
• Individual Exit Ticket


Key Words: 
Iranian Hostage Crisis, Iranian Revolution, Coup d’état