Monday, June 23, 2008

Could Climate Change Affect Our National Security Negatively?

SUMMER PROJECT: Here's a great topic for AP World History students, but AP Government students might want to tune in to it as a foreign policy issue. The new National Intelligence Assessment that was recently delivered to Congress draws a link between climate change and U.S. national security which could be endangered, according to the study. Instead of an article to read, the link below will take you to a segment that recently aired on National Public Radio to which you can listen:

After listening, consider responding to the following questions:

According to the National Intelligence Assessment, how might climate change threaten our national security?

Can you think of any other times, circumstances or places in history when climate changes caused major problems for human societies and forced them to make significant changes in their lives in order to survive? If so, describe them.

Do you think the National Intelligence Assessment is a realistic portrayal of what may happen in the future? Assuming it is, what would it take to prevent it from occuring?

A Way Out of High Gas Prices? Or Just a New Set of Problems?

SUMMER PROJECT: Recently, President Bush and some Members of Congress have been promoting the idea of opening up areas where it is currently illegal to drill for oil in order to alleviate the high price of gasoline for Americans and our heavy dependence on foreign oil. However, some others are critical of this idea. Click on the link below to read about why they object and what the response of the oil companies is.

Then respond to some of the following questions:

What are some advantages to allowing drilling in some areas that are currently off limits? What about disadvantages? Based on these pros and cons, what is your evaluation of whether we should permit drilling on these sites and why do you think so?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Defending Our Right to Offend

SUMMER PROJECT: This one may spark some spirited debate. The New York Times article linked below examines how much farther the United States has been willing to go to protect free speech -- even offensive hateful speech -- than other developed nations have.

Questions to Ponder:

According to the article, what criteria are necessary in order for our court system to restrict free speech in the United States?

Describe a hypothetical case for us to consider whether it is an example of the type of speech that should be restricted in the U.S.

Do you think the U.S. should become more strict about what types of speech are protected by law? Why or why not?

Could you live to be 100?

SUMMER PROJECT: Life expectancy for Americans has been rising steadily, but it's still lower than that of at least 30 other countries. Read the article at

and then add your thoughts on the following questions:

Why might the life expectancy for Americans be lower than that of 30 other countries?

Are there any down sides to the fact that Americans are generally living longer? If so, what?

What might account for the differences in life expectancy between men and women?