5 Geopolitics Current Events to Utilize in Your Classroom
There’s a lot happening around the world that your students should be aware of.
Keep an eye on these arenas of geopolitics and use these essential questions to frame discussions. Our All-Star teacher tips can help with lesson planning — By incorporating these events into your lessons, you’ll help students develop global competence and make your social studies curriculum even more relevant!
Here are our top 5 picks for global events and trends (updated for 2017–18 school year) that you and your students will want to watch in the coming months:
1) How will the relationship between the U.S. and TURKEY change after the failed 2016 coup there?
ALL-STAR TEACHER TIP: Use the CIA World Factbook to have students make a simple infographic or concept diagram about the history of Turkey, it’s geographic significance between East and West, and its relationship with the United States.
2) What will CHINA do in the South China Sea?
If you haven’t noticed the U.S. foreign policy pivot from the Middle East to Asia in recent years, playing FANgeopolitics will show you — China has been a consistent top-point scorer.
China is the world’s most populous country and is a superpower in the region. The Chinese economy is the world’s second largest and is one of the fastest growing, but is fragile and it’s existing political systems are relatively new. See our “Current Events Case Studies” for more on this top draft pick.
ALL-STAR TEACHER TIP: Have students see the Presidential position on China and facilitate a discussion about the best relationship to have with the Chinese government: Read one expert’s recommendation, for instance. Take students on a web quest to answer the question: What does China want in the South China Sea? Does their strategy in Djibouti change your opinion?
3) How much more aggressive will RUSSIA get with neighbors like UKRAINE?
ALL-STAR TEACHER TIP: Have students put together an article like “9 questions about Ukraine you were too embarrassed to ask”. Split them up into groups, have them tackle one question each, and then collaborate to complete a big-picture summary.
4) How will the Trump administration affect the fight against ISIS in the Middle East?
- Help students understand that the war in Syria has many sides.
- Help students understand that you can’t really have an informed opinion about what the U.S. should do until you understand the history of the U.S. in the Middle East.
- Help students put together something like this about the Arab Spring.
- Help students see there’s a much bigger Civics + Government question here too — What’s the right balance between liberty and order?
- Help students see that’s it’s hard to blame one group or another for the the rise of ISIS, but that history + foreign policy has a long tail and evil can be defeated by faster learning, better strategy, and more collaboration.
ALL-STAR TEACHER TIP: Have students write a White House Brief using a resource like “Backgrounders” from the Council on Foreign Relations to summarize for the President who ISIS is and potential solutions. Work in how to write thesis statements, topic sentences, and supporting paragraph tips.
5) What is the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership)? Why Does It Matter? And will the U.S. join after all?
ALL-STAR TEACHER TIP: After reading “TPP: What is it and why does it matter?” or “Everything you need to know about the Trans Pacific Partnership,” have students research and choose a side. Then, structure a Fishbowl or Socratic Smackdown discussion about whether or not the U.S. should join it.
BONUS: Will this be the year the media starts highlighting what’s happening in Africa more?
Probably not unfortunately.
But here are a few more things to watch on the world’s second-largest and second-most-populous continent on earth:
- South Sudan, the world’s newest country, is in a civil war.
- Upcoming elections in Rwanda and Congo.
- Expanding economies highlighted here.
If you’re not also teaching about the colonization of Africa during your imperialism unit or the holocaust in the Congo during your Jewish Holocaust unit, you’re part of the media problem!
ALL-STAR TEACHER TIP: Program your social media to bring you the best resources from around the world wide web (see our follow lists from facebook and twitter) and teach your students to do the same, especially through fanschool.org/geopolitics!