Lesson: Economic Differences between the U.S. and the Soviet Union

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Lesson Objective

By the end of the lesson, SWBAT to explain the economic differences between the Soviet Union and the United States. By the end of the lesson SWBAT to define the term Iron Curtain.

Lesson Plan

KEY POINTS.

 

  • The Soviet Union and the U.S. worked together during World War II, but after the war ended they quickly became enemies
  • The U.S. and the Soviet Union had different ideas about how to run an economy (business) and government.
  • The U.S. believed in Capitalism – a system where ordinary people and businesses control the production of goods and services.
  • Capitalism works in a market economy – an economy where individuals and businesses make most economic decisions.
  • The U.S. is a democracy where all citizens over the age of 18 have the opportunity to vote for their leaders.
  • The Soviet Union believed in communism – a system where the government controls and owns the nations natural and capital resources.
  • In a communist country, the government often times tells people where they are going to live and work.
  • The Soviet Union lived in a command economy.
  • In a command economy the government decides how many goods should be made.
  • After the war ended, both the Soviet Union and the U.S. wanted to influence Europe with their systems of government.
  • The Soviet Union influenced Eastern Europe, while the U.S. influenced Western Europe.
  • Germany was where the fight for influence happened.
  • The Iron Curtain was set up – the East part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union. The West part of Germany was controlled by the U.S.
  • West = Capitalist, Democratic
  • East = Command, Communism
  • Both the U.S. and Germany wanted control of Berlin – so Berlin, even though it was in the East was split in half.
  • The Iron Curtain split East and Western Europe.
  • The term was coined by Winston Churchill
  • Henry Truman thought the U.S. should help other countries protect themselves from Communism so he started NATO.
  • NATO was a military alliance.
  • NATO hoped that the alliance would keep the Soviet Union from forcing communism on other countries.
  • Vocabulary: Capitalism, Communism, Democracy, Command Economy, Market Economy, Iron Curtain, Winston Churchill, NATO
  • Essential Question: Why did Churchill think there was an Iron Curtain separating Europe after World War II? 

 

 

ASSESSMENT.

At the end of the lesson, Ss will turn in their fact books.

 

 

1. OPENING (5 min.)  

Teacher:

  • T will hand out the graphic organizer for the day and begin the lesson with the following sponge: “Look at the following quotes on your graphic organizer and circle the way you think about the quotes, do you strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree.”
  • T will the Ss first share their responses with their classmates.
  • T will have the Ss share their responses with the class.
  • T will explain that today we are going to learn about the start of the Cold War
  • T will review the objective for the day.

Student

  • Ss will share their responses to the quotes.
  • Ss will internalize the objective for the day.

 

2. INTRODUCTION OF NEW MATERIAL (20 min.)

Teacher:

  • T will begin the lesson with a brief Power Point on the end on the start of the Cold War. (PowerPoint or Key Note – Lesson 1 – Economic Differences Between the U.S. and the Soviet Union – Cold War and Civil Rights Movement Unit)
  • T will have the Ss take notes on a graphic organizer on the following key points (Graphic Organizer – Lesson 1 – Economic Differences Between the U.S. and the Soviet Union – Cold War and Civil Rights Movement Unit):
  • The Soviet Union and the U.S. worked together during World War II, but after the war ended they quickly became enemies
  • The U.S. and the Soviet Union had different ideas about how to run an economy (business) and government.
  • The U.S. believed in Capitalism – a system where ordinary people and businesses control the production of goods and services.
  • Capitalism works in a market economy – an economy where individuals and businesses make most economic decisions.
  • The U.S. is a democracy where all citizens over the age of 18 have the opportunity to vote for their leaders.
  • The Soviet Union believed in communism – a system where the government controls and owns the nations natural and capital resources.
  • In a communist country, the government often times tells people where they are going to live and work.
  • The Soviet Union lived in a command economy.
  • In a command economy the government decides how many goods should be made.
  • After the war ended, both the Soviet Union and the U.S. wanted to influence Europe with their systems of government.
  • The Soviet Union influenced Eastern Europe, while the U.S. influenced Western Europe.
  • Germany was where the fight for influence happened.
  • The Iron Curtain was set up – the East part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union. The West part of Germany was controlled by the U.S.
  • West = Capitalist, Democratic
  • East = Command, Communism
  • Both the U.S. and Germany wanted control of Berlin – so Berlin, even though it was in the East was split in half.
  • The Iron Curtain split East and Western Europe.
  • The term was coined by Winston Churchill
  • Henry Truman thought the U.S. should help other countries protect themselves from Communism so he started NATO.
  • NATO was a military alliance.
  • NATO hoped that the alliance would keep the Soviet Union from forcing communism on other countries.
  • The Cold War heated up when the Soviet Union blockaded Berlin because they wanted to take control of the whole city.
  • It was impossible for trains or cars to get into Berlin
  • Leaders of the U.S. and Britain refused to give up and they flew all the supplies West Berlin would need – This was known as the Berlin Airlift.
  • By 1950s, the Soviet Union built a wall between East and West Berlin.
  • Many people tried to escape East Berlin and come to the democratic West Berlin. 
  • T will ask in depth questions about the subject including: Why did American think it was so important to stop communism? Why did America help create NATO?
  • T will have the Ss discuss these questions with partners and then with the class.

Students:

  • Ss will fill out their graphic organizers.
  • Ss will answer questions.
  • Ss will be cooperative during the brief Power Point

 

3. GUIDED PRACTICE (15 min.)

Teacher:

  • T will then have the Ss with partners complete the map activity that makes the Ss analyze Europe after World War II (Graphic Organizer – Lesson 1 – Economic Differences Between the U.S. and the Soviet Union – Cold War and Civil Rights Movement Unit).
  • T will have the Ss work on their map skills.
  • T will pull the Ss that were struggling during the Power Point to come and do the map together as a group (remediation)
  • T will have the Ss first review their work with people around them, and then the class will answer the questions together.

Students:

  • Ss will complete the map activity
  • Ss will work respectfully with their partners and share their responses with the people around them.

 

4. INDEPENDENT PRACTICE (40 min.)

Teacher:

  • T will have the Ss create a short little fact book about the differences between a “command economy,” and a “capitalist economy” (Communist versus Capitalist Fact Book  – Lesson 1 – Economic Differences Between the U.S. and the Soviet Union – Cold War and Civil Rights Movement Unit) 
  • T will go over the directions for the short fact book and tell the Ss that on one page they are supposed to write down facts about a command economy, while on the page, write down facts about a capitalist economy.
  • On the last page, T will have the Ss write a short essay about whether they would want to live in a command or capitalist economy (based on all conditions being ideal for either choice). 
  • T will stress to the students that they need to use facts to back up their choice.
  • T will also emphasize that Ss should look at their completed to fact books to give them guidance on this decision.

Students:

  • Ss will complete the fact book.
  • Ss will write a short essay explaining whether they would like to live in a command or capitalist economy.

 

5. CLOSING (10 min.)

Teacher:

  • T will have the Ss share their fact books and essays (Communist versus Capitalist Fact Book – Lesson 1 – Economic Differences Between the U.S. and the Soviet Union – Cold War and Civil Rights Movement Unit)
  • T will tell the Ss that they are going to learn more about the geography of the Cold War next class and an event called the Berlin Airlift.
  • T will have the Ss ask any last minute questions.

Student:

  • Students will review questions.
  • Students will ask any last minute questions.
  • Students will pay attention to topic of next lesson.

HOMEWORK (if appropriate).

Finish essay on whether you would want to live in a communist or capitalist country.

Teacher's Reflection:

The main objective for this lesson was to get the students to understand the main differences between communism and capitalism. I found that the idea of capitalism is already so ingrained in their heads that it is hard for them to see that someone could be living a different way. Therefore, I found that it was useful slow down in the midst of the lesson to really illustrate the differences between the different economic systems. 

Lesson Resources

Communism versus Capitalism Fact Book Lesson 1 Economic Differences Between the U S and the Soviet Union Cold War and Civil Righ   Activity
2,260
Communism versus Capitalism Fact Book Lesson 1 Economic Differences Between the U S and the Soviet Union Cold War and Civil Righ   Activity
1,085
PowerPoint - Lesson 1 - Economic Differences Between the U.S. and the Soviet Union - Cold War and Civil Rights Movement Unit   Smart Board
1,345
Lesson Plan - Lesson 1 - Economic Differences Between the U.S. and the Soviet Union - Cold War and Civil Rights Unit   Lesson Plan
858
Key Note - Lesson 1 - Economic Differences Between the U.S. and the Soviet Union - Cold War and Civil Rights Movement Unit   Smart Board
491
Graphic Organizer - Lesson 1 - Economic Differences Between the U.S and the Soviet Union Cold War and Civil Rights Movement Unit   Notes
1,140

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