Policy Issues: Terrorism, Security, and Gun Control


Essential Question

What is worth fighting for?

Learning Objectives

1. Students will evaluate the tone of the messaging used to discuss issues of terrorism and national security by analyzing the language of media stakeholders.  
2. Students will determine how contemporary opinions on gun control are affected by historical contexts and the Second Amendment.  
3. Students will analyze the relationship between access to guns in the United States and national acts of terror.

Content Connections



Teacher Resources

Vocabulary and Message Activities

Word Cloud Activity

After groups of students read specific articles from the Election Issues: Terrorism and Security Text Set, students will work in partners to come up with a list of repeated words that contribute to the central idea of the articles.

Then, the whole class will determine a list of 12 words that reflect the messaging of the United States news sources and government on issues of terrorism and security.  

Finally, students will analyze what this means in discussion and create their world clouds. In partners, students will select a word to define and contextualize.  

Gun Control Laws Tag Team Debate

Debating Gun Laws

After reading articles from the Election Issues: Gun Control and the Second Amendment Text Set students will form teams to debate the issues from the PRO and CON side of the issue.

  • Guiding Question: Should we limit the right to bear arms?

The debate with follow this structure: One speaker from the team takes the floor and can speak for no longer than 1 minute. At the conclusion of the time, the speaker must tag another member of the team to pick up the argument. No member of the team can be tagged twice until all members have been tagged once. After the first side presents, the opposing side will have the floor.

At the end of the debate, each team should make a recommendation for next steps for policymakers.

Belief Statement

I believe that _____ because ____.

  • Teacher Note: Students will complete this statement as a culminating reflection for each issue to inform their final election decisions.


Extended Argument Based Writing or Debate

  • Guiding Question: 

    Are the current gun laws related to acts of terror in the United States?


Student Polling

Teacher Instructions

Use the polling questions as a pre- or post-formative assessment to gauge student interest and engagement with election issues. Share the polling links below with your students so that they can monitor their beliefs throughout the election season. 

Poll 1

Has the United States government done enough to protect its citizens from acts of terror?

Poll 2

Do you think our gun laws should change?

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