SMART TASKS: Why did the US get involved in the Vietnam War?

Three separate short activities help students produce  a top grade answer to the question.

Task I – brainstorming early ideas

This first introductory task simply asks students to consider the various reasons why the US got involved in Vietnam, going over what has already been learned. Students have to predict the 14 reasons Vivienne Saunders gives in her diagram in the Access To History series The USA and Vietnam 1945-75 (3rd edition, 2008) p.5 . Two differentiated sheets are provided for the task; Resource Sheet 1 for those who might need considerable support, and Resource Sheet 2 which offers no support other than listing 7 of the reasons students might find harder. For the most able they could try to come up with the full 14. The answers are provided on slide 2 of the PowerPoint presentation.

Task 2 – role play presidential debate

This activity asks students to think creatively about the culpability of each president. By placing students in role as the four main presidents, they have to articulate the arguments they would have used to defend themselves and attack others.  This involves students working collaboratively in teams to feed the right sort of information to the

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