Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers: Lesson Plans

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The following lesson plans comprise units that use film as a learning tool in the subject areas of U.S History, Civics, Current Events, Government and Journalism. Lesson 1: Do the Actions of Whistleblowers Help or Hurt Society? is written for grades 6-12. Lesson 2: Ethics in Journalism is a college-level plan. These classroom activities include: learning objectives; an outline of the relevant national standards met by the plans; a list of necessary tools and materials; a notation regarding the total time needed to complete the individual lessons; a teaching strategy; assessment recommendations; and extension ideas.



The filmmakers have partnered with the Zinn Education Project to create a 94-page teaching guide that includes 8 additional lesson plans.

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Lesson #1: Do the Actions of Whistleblowers Help or Hurt Society?
In this lesson, students will study the cases of two whistleblowers and judge whether the actions of whistleblowers help or hurt society. Students will then explain how they would have acted if they had been in the whistleblowers' situations.


Lesson #2: Ethics in Journalism
This lesson plan is designed to familiarize students with the release of the Pentagon Papers and some of the broader issues, questions and considerations it raised about journalism and transparency.