Pocket Litter, Bang and Burn, Chicken Feed, Cobbler, Dead drop. Could you speak like a spy? Could you live like a spy? Students love exploring the world of secret agents and the roles they play in protecting their countries. Espionage was born out of a need to solve problems. Those problems might include acquiring enemy secrets or keeping an enemy from obtaining our secrets. When a spy is tasked with a mission he is basically given a problem to solve. The Cause and Effect method for solving a problem can be used in the context of spying. Studying the secret lives of spies and the missions they partake in, is a high interest, real world application of critical thinking, problem solving and cause and effect relationships.
Through examining the secret and not so secret lives of spies, students will become familiar with the world of espionage, the impact of cause and effect relationships, and how these relationships exist in the lives of spies. In addition, students will be able to develop a plan of action for solving their own problems by examining cause and effect relationships in their own lives. This unit consists of the following parts:
Part 1. Talk Like a Spy: Vocabulary. Students love this introduction to the language of spies and it is a great way to pique their interest in the unit. Students will learn various words or phrases associated with espionage. A student vocabulary “quiz” is provided.
Part 2. Live Like A Spy: Motives, Types, and Agencies. What would motivate a person to become a spy? What types of spies are there? What are overt and covert operations? What is the mission of the CIA? Mossad? MI6? All these questions and more are answered in this section. Teacher and student note sheets are included.
Part 3. Cause, Effect and Problem Solving. When faced with a problem, it is important to think about what events or circumstances might be contributing to or causing the problem. Without determining the cause(s) it will be difficult to solve the problem. This section discusses the process of analyzing and using cause and effect relationships to solve problems. Students are asked to use cause and effect strategies to develop a solution to a problem they are facing. Teacher and student note sheets are included.
Part 4: Spy Spotlight: Spies have Problems Too. In this section students will research and create a biography of a given spy, including a summary of the activities in which the spy participated. Students will then be asked to identify and explain how problem solving or cause and effect relationships were an integral part of the spy’s mission. Student assignment guide included. Brief biographical sketches of 25 spies are also provided.
Part 5. Investigating Espionage. As an extension of this unit, students may participate in an independent or small group study on an espionage topic. Eighteen possible topics are given or students may choose a topic of their own. Students will also identify and explain the role problem solving (cause and effect) plays/played in their topic. Student assignment guide included.
Additional Espionage Studies. Other units that complement this field of study include I SPY: Codes and Ciphers and Critical Thinking and I SPY: Going Undercover both available on TpT.