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Who is Big Brother and Why is He Always Watching?

US National Security Agency Seal
Lesson Plan Author(s): 
Amelia Neumuller
Domestic Surveillance
Teaching Area: 
U.S. History
American History ODE 33
Grade Level: 
Teaching Level: 
Secondary Childhood
Origins Item(s): 

This lesson plan deals with the concept of domestic surveillance, specifically the changes in domestic surveillance in the United States. The Origins article examines how domestic surveillance has changed over time in the United States, and how international relations played into some of those changes. Students will be able to explore key events and track the changes over time by visiting four stations around the classroom that are made up of excerpts from the Origins article and primary sources. After visiting each station and answering the corresponding questions, students will participate in a whole class discussion that ties the key events into the changes in domestic surveillance in the United States. As an Exit Ticket, students will be creating a political cartoon about a topic featured at one of the stations.

Instructional Strategies:

  • Bell Ringer
  • Stations
  • Whole Class Discussion
  • Exit Ticket

Lesson Materials:

Key Words: 
Surveillance, Big Brother, National Security Agency