Psychological Warfare Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

What is psychological warfare and how is it carried out? This lesson plan responds to this question with the support of a text lesson. An activity places students in the role of strategists in a mock psychological war.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Define ''psychological warfare''
  • List and describe the techniques used in psychological warfare
  • Summarize examples of psychological warfare from across history

Length

60 to 90 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.2

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.3

Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).

Materials

Instructions

  • Begin by writing the term ''war'' on the board for the class to see.
    • What causes war?
    • What types of techniques are used to conduct war?
  • Pass out the paper copies of the text lesson, one to each student.
  • Instruct the class to read the introduction, ''The Invisible Soldier'' and the ''What is Psychological Warfare?'' sections of the text lesson.
    • What is meant by the term ''the invisible soldier''?
    • How is psychological warfare defined?
    • What is propaganda?
    • What roles does propaganda play in psychological warfare?
  • Tell the students to read the ''Techniques'' section of the text lesson.
    • How can news outlets participate in psychological warfare?
    • Are all threats examples of psychological warfare?
    • What is a leaflet and how are they used in psychological warfare?
    • What types of objects are commonly used in psychological warfare?
    • What is a false flag?
    • How is media used to inflict psychological warfare?
  • Have the students read the ''Word War II'' subsection of the ''Examples of Psychological Warfare'' section of the text lesson.
    • How were leaflets used in WWII?
    • What makes leaflets so effective in psychological warfare?
  • Ask the students to read the ''Vietnam War'' subsection of the text lesson.
    • How did the domino effect represent psychological warfare?
  • Tell the class to read the remainder of the text lesson.
    • What is white noise and how was it used during the Cold War?
  • Review key facts about psychological warfare with the class before distributing a copy of the worksheet to each student in the class.
  • Instruct the students to work independently to complete the worksheet using the paper copy of the text lesson as a resource for doing so.
  • When all students have completed the worksheet, review each question and answer with the class as you connect the material back to the content of the text lesson.

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