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EDUCATION with Student News

Learning Activity: Evaluate the events of 2005


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(CNN Student News) -- Your students will:

  • Identify and discuss key news events that took place in 2005;
  • Evaluate and rate the significance of these events for inclusion in a history textbook.
  • Procedure

    As a class, list some of the news stories that were included in the CNN Student News "Year in Pictures." Then, pose the following questions for discussion:

    1. Which of these stories do you remember? Which stories do you think were the most important or significant? Explain.
    2. Are there any stories that you remember from this past year that didn't make this list? What criteria do you think that CNN reporters used when creating the "Year in Pictures" report?
    3. Do you think that countries other than the U.S. would include these same events in their end-of-year reports? Why or why not?
    4. How does your reaction to the stories in this retrospective, which was produced months after many of the events occurred, compare to your reaction to the news stories when they first aired? How might time and perspective alter how events are interpreted and recorded?
    5. How do you think that historians will write about these events five, 10 or 50 years from now? State your rationale.

    Explain to students that one of the roles of historians is to make choices about what information is most significant and meaningful. Organize students into small groups, and have them assume the roles of historians. Then, refer students to this story and additional Web sites to review the various news headlines of 2005. Challenge groups to create brief outlines for a section of a history textbook that will address the events of 2005. Inform them that the textbook is intended for students who will read it 10 years from now. Ask:

  • Will you devote a few pages, a chapter, or an entire book to the year 2005?
  • What information will you include? What will you leave out?
  • What images should be included?
  • What questions will you need to ask before making those decisions?
  • What are the challenges of completing such a task?
  • Encourage groups to share their outlines with the class, and have them explain the methods that they used to come to their conclusions. Have students predict what future generations might someday learn about these events.

    As an extension to the activity, encourage students to construct a personal year in review, noting, for example, things to remember (or forget), accomplishments, goals, people met, places visited, lessons learned, favorite movies, music or television programs, etc. Students may present their "Year in Review" products as scrapbooks, photo albums, or print, audio or video essays. Ask: To what extent, if any, are there connections between world news events and your personal experiences in 2005?

    Curriculum Connections

    The Curriculum Standards for Social Studies ( ) are published by the National Council for Social Studies (

    II. Time, Continuity and Change: Students will learn about the ways human beings view themselves in and over time.

    IV. Individual Development and Identity: Students will explore the influences on individual development and identity including culture, groups and institutions.

    IX. Global Connections: Students will examine global connections and interdependence.


    earthquake, tsunami, Indonesia, aftershocks, Aceh, terrorism, Transitional National Assembly, Shiite, Sunni, Kurd, Kurdish, Rafik Hariri, Lebanon, Syria, bird flu, pandemic, Terri Schiavo, Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict XVI, London, NASA, space shuttle, Gaza, West Bank, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, New Orleans, FEMA, Ray Nagin, William Rehnquist, John Roberts, Sandra Day O'Connor, Harriet Miers, Samuel Alito, Pakistan, Kashmir, Rosa Parks, Palestinian, Saddam Hussein

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