Lessons

Lesson Plan: Conflicting Opinions on Sanctions in Iran

The Debate Over Sanctions in Iran: Analyzing how an author responds to conflicting points of view when reporting on how sanctions are affecting Iranian citizens

Objective:

Students will be able to analyze how an author utilizes diverse and conflicting viewpoints to communicate the Iranian perspective of U.S. sanctions in order to evaluate how reporting about sanctions from Iran compares/contrasts with reporting in the U.S.

Warm-up:

  1. Imagine you were planning to write an article about the rising cost of school supplies or the effects of standardized testing. Imagine that you wanted to write an article that described how one of these issues was affecting students. Who would you choose to interview to present your point? Why?
  2. Who would present a counterargument to the people you choose to interview? Would you include those points of view in your article? Why or why not?
  3. Today’s lesson will explore how journalists acknowledge and respond to opposing viewpoints about an issue.

Introducing the Lesson:

  1. The issue being explored in today’s lesson is the effect of sanctions that have been imposed on Iran by several countries worldwide, including the U.S.
  2. What are sanctions and what is their purpose? What do you already know about the economic sanctions that have been imposed on Iran? Jot down your response and be prepared to share with the class.
  3. What questions do you have about sanctions imposed on Iran? Write down your questions and be prepared to share with a partner or with the class.
  4. Read the introduction to journalist Reese Erlich’s project “The Nuclear Agreement: How does Tehran View its National Security?” and answer the accompanying questions.
  5. Refer back to your list of questions to see if the introduction answered any of these questions.
  6. Today’s lesson will explore how Erlich incorporates different viewpoints into his reporting. As you review the following resources, consider the following:
    • What is the author’s purpose for this article and what evidence makes that clear?
    • Whose viewpoints are presented in the article? What information do they provide?
    • What questions do you still have after the article? Whose viewpoints might help address these questions?

Introducing Resource 1: “Iranians Have a Very Different View of their National Security”

  1. Listen to minute 27 through minute 29 of the radio podcast.
  2. As you listen, track the sources that are interviewed by listing their names and the points of view they present.
  3. Answer the accompanying questions.

Introducing Resource 2: “Here’s What Iranians Hope and Fear about Future Western Sanctions”

  1. Read the following article and answer the accompanying questions.
  2. As you read, track the sources that are interviewed by listing their names and the points of view they present.

Introducing Resource 3: “Dreaming Big in Iran’s Grand Bazaar”

  1. Read the following article and answer the accompanying questions.
  2. As you read, track the sources that are interviewed by listing their names and the points of view they present.

Conclusion;

  1. Review the list of viewpoints that you encountered as part of Erlich’s project.
  2. Consider, what perspectives from the debate about Iran’s nuclear program and worldwide sanctions on Iran are not present in these materials?

Extension:

Final Task: Look for articles that explore the perspectives of those that oppose the nuclear agreement with Iran. Identify 3-4 articles that present viewpoints that are contrary to the points presented in the articles you read today. Using both the articles you found and the articles read today, write a brief statement describing your opinion about the nuclear program in Iran. The statement should address the perspectives of those in favor and against U.S. sanctions on Iran, and it should ultimately conclude with your opinion about the sanctions (for/against/neutral).

Educator Notes: 

In this lesson, students analyze how journalist Reese Erlich utilizes diverse and conflicting viewpoints to communicate the Iranian perspective of U.S. sanctions.

Note: In addition to independent investigation of the attached resources, this lesson includes warm up and reflection exercises that are designed to be facilitated in small groups or by the instructor.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.6

Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.

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