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The Iran Hostage Crisis Simulation

Lesson Author
Required Time Frame
2 - 90 minute class periods
Grade Level(s)
Lesson Abstract
The student will: be able to analyze how foreign policy decisions are reached and how global events impact U.S. Presidential administrations

• To have students gain a better understanding that representing the United States abroad is an extraordinarily dangerous job. Provided students with a hands-on history lab where participants step into the roles of President Carter and his advisors, work with formerly classified primary source documents, and collaborate to tackle one of history’s greatest challenges. Reveal to students how, in the wake of a successful revolution by Islamic fundamentalists against the pro-American Shah of Iran, the United States became an object of virulent criticism and the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was a visible target.

Lesson Objectives - the student will

The student will: be able to analyze how foreign policy decisions are reached and how global events impact U.S. Presidential administrations

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met

Common Core Standards for Literacy for History/Social Studies
RH.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
RH.11-12.6 Evaluate authors’ differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors’ claims, reasoning, and evidence.

National History Standards Era 10: Contemporary United States
Standard 1: Recent developments in foreign and domestic politics

College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies Standards
D2.Civ.5.9-12 Evaluate citizens’ and institutions’ effectiveness in addressing social and political problems at the local, state, tribal, national and international level.
D2.Civ.11.9-12 Evaluate multiple procedures for making governmental decisions at the local, state, national, and international levels in terms of the civic purposes achieved.
D2.His.1.9-12 Evaluate how historical events and developments were shaped by unique circumstances of time and place as well as broader historical contexts.
D2.His.16.9-12 Integrate evidence from multiple relevant historical sources and interpretations into a reasoned argument about the past.
D4.1.9-12 Construct arguments using precise and knowledgeable claims, with evidence from multiple sources, while acknowledging counterclaims and evidentiary weaknesses.

Rhode Island Grade Span Expectations for Social Studies (“Social Studies GSEs”)
C&G 5 (9-12) -3 Students demonstrate an understanding of how the choices we make impact and are impacted by, an interconnected world by…
a. predicting outcomes and possible consequences of a conflict, event, or course of action
b. identifying and summarizing the intended and unintended consequences of a conflict, event, or course of action
c. using deliberation, negotiation, and compromise to plan and develop just solutions to problems (e.g., immigration, limited energy resources, nuclear threat) created when nations or groups act

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed

• Textbook: Out of Many, Volume One: A History of the American People (3rd Edition: Brief Third Edition)

• Background Article:

Primary sources needed (document, photograph, artifact, diary or letter, audio or visual recording, etc.) needed

Doc A Shredded CIA Cable reporting on information provided by an Iranian contact


Doc B A picture of the Ayatollah Khomeini escorted by military officers upon his return to Iran.


Doc C List of Hostages & Casualties




Doc D Situation Report 3*:*&f.ancestorNaIds=24493739&sort=naIdSort%20asc


Doc E Situation Report 4


Doc F Situation Report 11*:*&f.ancestorNaIds=24493739&sort=naIdSort%20asc


Doc G Situation Report 19*:*&f.ancestorNaIds=24493739&sort=naIdSort%20asc


Doc H Situation Report 90*:*&f.ancestorNaIds=24493739&sort=naIdSort%20asc&offset=40



Doc I Memorandum for the President (discussing behavior of the Shah, Gen. Zahedi and Winston Churchill immediately after the coup), Memorandum from the Department of State, top secret, circa August 1953.



Doc J Follow-up on the President’s Talk with the Shah of Iran," Memorandum from Henry Kissinger to Secretaries of State and Defense, secret, July 25, 1972.



Doc K November 6th: Letter from Jimmy Carter to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini regarding the Release of the Iranian Hostages, 11/06/1979



Doc L Transcript of Abdelkarim Gheraieb with Families