LESSON: 99 RED BALLOONS: A STUDY OF THE COLD WAR
GRADE LEVEL: 6-9th
TIME FRAME: 90 MINUTES
TYPE OF ACTIVITY: GROUP COOPERATION
This lesson makes what could be a boring topic to students very interesting, fun and interactive! Who doesn't like red balloons?
o Students will explore the anti-war song “99 Red Balloons”. Known in German as “99 Luftballoons”.
o Students will understand the events surrounding the Cold War.
o Students will become familiar with individuals involved in the Cold War.
o Students will examine the conflict between the two major world powers: United States and the USSR.
o Lyrics and audio to the American song: “99 Red Balloons”.
o Lyrics and audio to the German song: “99 LuftBalloons”.
o One Red Balloon for each team.
o Ribbon (Enough for each group to receive a yard of ribbon)
o Enough computers for each team, library books, articles, etc. for research.
o 4x5 index cards—SIX for each group.
o Divide the classroom into groups of two. I encourage two as to cover as many of the terms as possible. If you wish to have more terms covered, you may have each student complete one assignment.
o Your school may own a helium tank or have the school purchase it. May be cheaper to go to Walmart, Dollar Tree or another store to purchase these balloons if the school cannot cover the cost of a tank. You may also consider having other teachers who would like to use this idea go in together to purchase it. PTA is sometimes willing to purchase these items. Places like Michael’s or Joann’s provide coupons to purchase items 40-50% off. Provide one balloon per group. (You may or the school may purchase a party helium balloon.)
Alternative to helium balloons: If you are unable to obtain red helium balloons, a reproducible of a balloon is provided in this lesson. Have the students color the balloon red, or reproduce it on red paper. You will be able to staple the ribbon to the balloon and students can still complete this activity.
INTRODUCTION: (20 minutes)
Students will listen to the song "99 Red Balloons" and will evaluate the meaning behind the lyrics.
Write on the Board:
Reasons for the Cold War
o United States’ fear of communist attack
o Truman’s dislike of Stalin
o USSR’s fear of the American’s atomic bomb
o USSR’s dislike of capitalism
More reasons included with purchase of lesson plan
VIDEO: (10 minutes)
Links available with purchase
INDIVIDUAL ACTIVITY: (30 minutes)
Students will work together in group to complete the 99 Red Balloon project included in this lesson plan focused around the Cold War.
CLOSURE / EVALUATION: (20 minutes)
Have students present their balloons to the class following the timeline of the Cold War. Begin with 1945 and work your way to 1991. This will help students categorize events in time.
Using the comparison chart provided, have students compare and contrast the differences in the American version of “99 Red Balloons” versus the German version of “99 Luftballoons”. Copies of both version are included.