Cold War at Home

07/08/11 21:10

Students explore The Cold War using a variety of political cartoons, photographs, videos and primary source documents to build an understanding of this pivotal era.  At regular intervals, students create “mock” Journal entries focused on CA Standards for 11th grade history.  Exemplars of journal entries from Anne Frank’s Diary and the contemporary youth book entitled Monster help students connect with the emotion of living in this era while building their mastery around specific standards.   Peer evaluation of rough draft entries build the capacity of students to improve their own work.  A self-evaluation completes the unit, making teacher assessment a breeze.

This comprehensive lesson plan includes: day by day instructions, companion, PowerPoint and student handouts for journal prompts and rubrics.

Objectives and Inquiry Questions

07/08/11 21:07
Students will...

  1. Read a telegram that Senator McCarthy sent to President Harry Truman (including unsent response from President).
  2. Analyze two political cartoons from era.
  3. Use graphic organizer / text / notes to create an acrostic poem.
  4. Write a mock diary entry reflecting themes, people and events of the Cold War.
  5. Peer evaluate diary entries.

Questions for Inquiry:

  1. What do the political cartons tell you about the Cold War era?
  2. What do the cartoons imply about the methods of the organization?
  3. What are the intended messages of the cartoons? How does the political cartoon relate to the Cuban missile crisis?

Materials Needed

07/08/11 21:05



  • The Americans textbook by Holt McDougal. Page numbers and references to section questions are provided as a scaffold for students.


  • Biography DVD on McCarthy (or alternative: YouTube has many good segments)
  • LCD (or overhead) projector
  • computer
  • DVD player
  • monitor


* Note: On-line resources / supplemental lesson ideas to build RSP success are available at