History as It Happens

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SWBAT compare a contemporary account of historical events to understand....

Big Idea

How do our ideas about events change through the lens of history?


This unit lasted approximately seven days and was taught jointly in English and U.S. Government classes.  It can be taught in a single class, but it would take ten to fourteen days to complete.  We had several objectives in this unit:

  • Students would read about the historical events presented in the movie "Argo" before they watched the movie.
  • Students would read a newspaper article about the Iran Hostage Crisis and compare that with a news profile of the six embassy workers who escaped looking at the difference in language and tone.
  • Students would watch the movie "Argo" taking notes about what events in the movie are different from the news profile they read. 
  • Students would present on a different aspect of bias an inaccuracy in the film.


5 minutes

Today I've given students a brief article from the New York Times dated November 5, 1979. 

I explain to students that often when historical events are taking place what's reported on can present the events in a different light than once the situation is over and people begin to reflect. "We might think the events that happened where violent and scary and that the Iranian government was responsible, or condoned taking over the U.S. embassy, which is how the story is presented to us in the Wired article and in the movie.

"Let's look at this article that was published in the New York Times just one day after the embassy was overtaken.  Pay close attention to the language of this news article, which only knows about the hostage crisis as it happens and prints only what the U.S. government has declassified, versus the Wired article which has access to the story's beginning, middle, and end and has access to documents that were classified at the time."




50 minutes

I hand out a copy of the article as well as the questions. Students answer the questions individually after they've read the article.