Discipline: Social Studies

Grade Level: 7

Course: U.S. History

©Literacy Design Collaborative. September 2011

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U.S. Intervention in Foreign Wars
  • Background to Share With Students
    • Throughout the 1800s, the U.S. played a limited role in world affairs. Important European nations did not think of America as a world power. This changed late in the century.  The nation’s growing confidence, new American leaders, and emerging world problems all served to bring the U.S. onto the world stage, both in its own eyes and in the eyes of other nations.. As a result, America had to weigh the benefits and consequences of using its newfound power and influence.

  • Task/Text
    • Teaching Task

      When should the United States become involved in foreign wars?  After reading informational and argumentative texts on foreign wars, write a letter to the President of the United States that addresses the question and support your position with evidence from the texts.  L2 Be sure to acknowledge competing views. L3 Give examples from the past or current events or issues to illustrate and clarify your position. 

      Reading Texts
      See materials list.
      Extension (Optional)

      As an extension, students will send their final letters to the President of the United States of America.

  • Content Standards
    • Standards Source: Number: Content Standards:

      Common Core Standards/Pennsylvania State Standards


      Identify and use primary and secondary sources to analyze multiple points of view for historical events.


      Form a thesis statement on an assigned topic using appropriate primary and secondary sources.


      Explain how continuity and change have impacted U.S. history.


      Explain how conflict and cooperation among groups and organizations have impacted the development of the U.S.

  • Reading Standards for Argumentation
    • "Built-In" Reading Standards "When Appropriate" Reading Standards (applicable in black)
      • 1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
      • 2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
      • 4 Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
      • 10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.
      • 3 Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
      • 5 Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
      • 6 Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
      • 7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
      • 8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
      • 9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
  • Writing Standards for Argumentation
    • "Built-In" Writing Standards "When Appropriate" Writing Standards (applicable in black)
      • 1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
      • 4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
      • 5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
      • 9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
      • 10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audience.
      • 2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
      • 3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well- structured event sequences.
      • 6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
      • 7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
      • 8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
  • Scoring Rubric
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