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Israel on the map

Lesson Author
Required Time Frame
One class period
Grade Level(s)
Lesson Abstract
Students will analyze how political boundaries change with major world events by examining primary documents in small groups.

Students will analyze how political boundaries change with major world events by examining primary documents in small groups.

Rationale (why are you doing this?)

To help students understand that maps are not static, that governments rise and fall, and that maps reflect these changes

To supplement knowledge of ethnic and religious conflict in the Middle East

Lesson Objectives - the student will
  • Compare and contrast regional maps
  • Be introduced to 20th century events shaping the Middle East and how they fit into overall Middle Eastern conflict
  • Realize that maps change as countries are formed or abolished
District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met


  •   SS 2: Continuity and Change in MO, the US, and the world
  •   SS 7: Use of Social Science tool, including maps


  •   01 Define and explain basic concepts of geography
  •   02 Basic ideas involved in population geography and demographics
  •   06 Identify major physical locations and cultural characteristics of Earth's regions

Kansas Standards

Benchmark 1: Geographic Tools and Location: The student uses maps, graphic representations, tools, and technologies to locate, use, and present information about people, places, and environments.

2. (A) interprets maps and other graphic representations to analyze United States and world issues (e.g., urban vs. urban areas, development vs. conservation, land use in the world vs. local community, nuclear waste disposal, relocation of refugees).

Benchmark 4: Human Systems: The student understands how economic, political, cultural, and social processes interact to shape patterns of human populations, interdependence, cooperation, and conflict.

4. (A) analyzes the purpose and characteristics of settlements (e.g., village vs. town vs. city, cities in development vs. developed countries, rise of megalopolis edge cities and metropolitan corridors, regional characteristics of cities, impact of transportation technology, increasing number of ethnic enclaves).

5. (K) gives examples of how cultural cooperation and conflict are involved in shaping the distribution of and connections between cultural, political, and economic spaces on Earth (e.g., cultural: Hindu vs. Muslims in India; political: International Court of Justice and Hong Kong; economic: World Trade Organization).

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

Truman Library Map Analysis Page (specific Middle East questions added)

For humorous example of the President’s other concerns in 1948: Excerpt from Margaret Truman Daniels Harry S. Truman "White House Falling Apart" found online at

Misc online historical maps covering change in the Middle East

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

Maps of pre and post WWII/1948 Middle East

The following documents can be found in the online documents at the Truman Presidential Library:

  •             April 18 1945 Stettinius to Truman
  •             May 1 1945 and June 16 1945, Grew to Truman
  •             Nov 13 1945 Presidential Statement
  •             June 21 1946 Joint Chiefs of Staff  report to Committee
  •             July 21 1947 Harry S. Truman Diary Entry
  •             March 25 1948 Presidential Statement
  •             June 11 1948 Map of Palestine Military Situation
  •             Sept 1948 telegram correspondance between Truman, Marshall, Lovett
  •             April 6 1949 Map of Palestine Military Situation
  •             Video: Truman discussion Arab/Jewish conflict of 1948
Technology Required
  • Digital projector/overhead copies of maps
Fully describe the activity or assignment in detail. What will both the teacher and the students do?

Students will be placed in pairs/small groups and given maps by the teacher.  (Maps should show Middle East region as it evolved from the WWI era to post-1948. Try to have a unique map for each person in the group)

Students will be given a modified Truman Library Map Analysis form, with questions added to make it specific for this assignment.  Particularly, they will be asked to list countries found on each given map and determine if those countries remain constant over time, as well as how a forced large influx of an ethnic group might change the dynamics of a region.

Teacher will provide follow-up questions for reaching conclusions and discussion to bring questions about why this change has occurred.

Students will then be given documents regarding the recognition of Israel to have them discover the reasons for the political changes reflected by the maps

Assessment: fully explain the assessment method in detail or create and attach a scoring guide

Each group will turn in the following:

            1.                     Map Analysis page

            2.                   1/2 page answer to each of the following questions:

  •          Should countries which win wars get to choose or change the borders of other countries? 
  •          What should be done about the people who have lived there and find themselves, maybe, now living in a new country?
  •          Why do you think America cares so much about the Jewish people and Israel, and what do many Muslim people think about it?