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The Ripple Effect

Lesson Duration: 55 Minutes

Materials Needed:
District technology: iPads, Chromebooks, or computer lab. Piece of paper or their social studies notebooks. Pen/writing utensils

Lesson Description:
This lesson is meant to focus the effects of world events on Minnesota and its citizens surrounding the Vietnam war. Though you can choose other or multiple world events, the Vietnam war offers a wealth of impacts that could be shared and discussed in your classroom. Students will make a ripple chart that will illustrate the effects one event in the world has on Minnesota.

MN 2011 Social Studies Standard/Benchmark: Describe the response of Minnesotans to global conflicts and displaced peoples since 1945. (post- World War II United States: 1945-1989)

Goal: Learning targets/objectives/”I can” statements:

  1. I can connect personal impacts to events that happened outside of the U.S. to me in Minnesota.
  2. I can understand a brief history of the Vietnam War.
  3. I can make a Ripple Chart that shows the effect of the Vietnam War on Minnesota and its people.

Access Prior Knowledge: 10 minutes
Ask students to start naming world events that happened in their lifetime. This could be serious things like the wildfires in Australia to more positive things like the successful exploration of the planet Mars. As students give this feedback write the list on the board so students can see their answers reflected. When the contributions die down, move on to the next step. Pick one of the events they listed to best exemplify the concept of the ripple effect. For this example, let’s pick the wildfires in Australia. Ask students for feedback about what happened and the reasons why the fires happened in Australia. Fill in any missing pieces of information. Then start shifting the focus from the direct impacts on Australians to the impacts the fires had on Minnesotans. Reassure them that if they don’t know for sure, they can make educated guesses on what the effects could have been. You can explain that effects on other parts of the world is called the ripple effect. You can liken the ripple effect to a rock thrown in a still pond or how and earthquake in one part of the world can create a tsunami in another part of the world. This will then lead you into the subject of your lesson for the day.

New Information: 15 minutes
Ask students what they know about the Vietnam war. Ask how it started, who was the conflict between, when did the war take place, and how long did it last. The level of depth you choose to teach is up to you and the time you have to devote to this subject. Project this short video on the Vietnam war that will give your students the condensed overview they need for you to teach this concept:

The video will give some examples of how the conflict affected the world. Ask students to tell you what some of those effects were: changes to how wars are fought, the peace protest movement, etc. Then introduce the project they will be doing today. Tell them that they will be illustrating the effects of the Vietnam War on Minnesota and its citizens through a ripple chart. Show them on the board how you would like this done. Draw a small island in the middle of the board and label it Vietnam. Ask students to imagine that the Vietnam War was an earthquake that happened on a small island in the middle of the ocean. Then draw a coastline on the edge of the board and label it Minnesota. Ask students to imagine that Minnesota was a country off the coast of this island, and that war would cause ripples that would affect Minnesota. Ask students to copy this chart down in their notebooks or on a separate piece of paper. Tell students that they will be listening to segments of Veterans Voices: Vietnam to figure out what those ripples were that affected Minnesota and its citizens.

Apply: 10 minutes

Have students divide into seven groups. Each one of these groups will be responsible for listening to one of the following segments from Veterans Voices: Vietnam:

Tell students to listen to their assigned segment, and with their group, write a short summary and the effect on Minnesota or its citizens that the segment described.

Generalize (closure): 20 minutes
When all students are done, come back together to fill the ripple chart together. Ask each group to present their summaries to the class. When each group is done, ask students to generalize the presentation the group just gave to a short statement that they can label as a ripple on the ripple chart they all started on a piece of paper or in their social studies notebook. By the end of the presentations, students should have a complete chart outlining the effects the Vietnam War had on Minnesota and its citizens.

As students are listening to their segments and writing their summaries, monitor student progress by walking around the room and meeting with each group. Make sure they see those connections and ripple effects. If they don’t, stop the class if it is a pattern you see and re- teach. If it is just one group, re-teach to that specific group. Each group’s summary will also be a formative assessment.

The summative assessment will be the class-created ripple chart. Though each group was responsible for creating each ripple, the whole chart gives the student the knowledge of a more complete picture.

Extended lesson project idea: Because the benchmark and standard includes events from 1945-89, you can add to this project as you learn more about other events during this time period. An ocean of events (islands) could be created to illustrate all of the different ripple effects on Minnesota from those events. This could be made into a map that students could have as a resource, a poster inside the classroom, or a wall display outside your classroom, This style of project could also be extended to your discussion of current events. It could be a weekly assignment or extra credit to make a ripple chart of how current events affect

Supported by...

McKnight FoundationPohlad family foundationThe Minneapolis FoundationSaint Paul & Minnesota Foundation