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Nuclear Weapons

Ohio Content Standards:

  • Grade 9 – History 11a & 14, Government 1, Social Studies Skills and Methods 1
  • Grade 10 – History 8b, Citizenship Rights and Responsibility 1d,
  • Grade 11 – Government 1, 2 & 5
  • Grade 12 – History 1, 2 & 3, Economics 1 & 7, Government 1 & 2, Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities 7

Duration of Lesson: 2 classes – 50 minutes

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will collaboratively analyze and compare editorial cartoons focusing on the Cold War and nuclear weapons.
  • Students will put forward a three to five paragraph essay explaining the assign cartoon packets theme.
  • Students will identify the cartoonists' intentions and evaluate the effectiveness of the message of each cartoon.



  • Packets 1 (Doomsday Theme), 2 (Arms Race Theme), and 3 (Economic Impact of the Arms Race Theme) with published information (for teacher).
  • Packets 1 (Doomsday Theme), 2 (Arms Race Theme), and 3 (Economic Impact of the Arms Race Theme) without published information (for students).
  • Doomsday Theme, Arms Race Theme and Economic Impact of the Arms Race Theme Worksheets


  1. How do you feel the use of atomic weapons in Japan at the end of WWII impacted the world? (Teacher should lead discussion to the Cold War and the Arms Race)

Instructional Steps:

  1. Complete pre-assessment class discussion.
  2. Divide class into six groups; two groups for each theme.
  3. Hand out packets (randomly assigned) and corresponding worksheet.
  4. Students will discuss as a group.
  5. Review to discuss supporting details and evidence.
  6. Students will individually complete the writing assignment.

Writing Assignment on the Worksheets
Extension Activities: Show "Duck and Cover" video www.archive.org/details/DuckandC1951

"Area of Agreement"


"The History of Arms Reduction Talks"

"Preliminary Disarmament Talks..."

"At the Wrong End of the Table"

"You'll Not Get Rich (Rat-Tattatta-Tat) You're in the Arms Race Now!"

"Limited Chicken"

"Nuclear freeze scenario"

"Keep moving..."