President Vladimir Putin of Russia, often shrouded in mystery, finally made a move with his striking invasion of Ukraine in February. At one point in time, it was inconceivable to many foreign policy analysts that Putin would employ the Russian military to mount a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, but we are at another one of those “historical moments” that have defined the last few years—upturning everything we think is possible.
I looked at Putin and was terrified from the very beginning. That makes me look very prescient because he actually turned out to be exactly the monster that I thought he was.
Russian dissident and journalist Masha Gessen frequently writes on the topic of authoritarianism and was recently interviewed by several news outlets seeking to understand the motives of Russia’s leader, and how the situation has come to this. Gessen repeatedly has warned readers over the years that many countries not only misunderstand Russia and Putin, but vastly underestimate their ambitions.
Here are 10 Share My Lesson resources to help educators, parents and students build background knowledge and contextualize what is happening in Ukraine, as we watch the policy decisions world leaders make together to avoid escalation and stabilize the ongoing crisis.
Resources on the Ukraine War
From the KGB to the Presidency: Vladimir Putin's Rise
Learn about the KGB and help students investigate and understand how Vladimir Putin rose through the ranks from spy to president.
‘Convene the Council’—A Game to Help Students Understand the Russia-Ukraine Crisis
How do the U.S. government react to crises that affect the global community? “Convene the Council” supports students in learning about how the presidential Cabinet and the NSC aid the U.S. president in making decisions.
Ukraine Grain Shipments and the International Economy
Learn about the importance of Ukrainian exports to the global economy, why it's been so difficult for grain shipments to resume, and why Ukrainian farmers are still having a difficult time.
Ukraine’s Cultural Sites Under Threat from Russia’s Invasion
Memorials, museums and churches, all places that speak to Ukraine’s very identity, are all under threat from Russia’s invasion. Learn about the bombing of the Mariupol theater, UNESCO world heritage sites, and what else is at risk of being lost in Ukraine,
Music Uplifts A Nation Under Siege
In the midst of so much chaos and destruction in Ukraine, the sound of music has the power to bring light to darkness. Use this lesson to explore how Ukrainians are keeping morale high with music.
Ukrainian History: A Centuries Long Road to Independence
Learn about the rich history of Ukraine and its long road to indepedence with this media literacy lesson plan that helps students sort fact from fiction.
Explaining the Ukraine Refugee Crisis to Students
More than 2.5 million refugees have fled wartorn Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February 2022. Students will learn what it is like to be a refugee, and work to answer questions like: How would you describe what it means to be a refugee? What are your thoughts and feelings about the Ukraine refugee crisis?
Modile Diplomacy Pop-Up Case: Defending Ukraine
With the war in Ukraine showing no sign of letting up, the president has convened the National Security Council (NSC) to discuss how the United States and its NATO allies should respond. NSC members will need to carefully consider how to aid to Ukraine while safeguarding against a dangerous escalation.
Discussing The Crisis in Ukraine
Students will hold a discussion about the crisis in Ukraine and then role-play international lawyers analyzing Ukraine’s 1994 Budapest Memorandum.
What Is It Like Being A Ukrainian Refugee?
Gathering heirlooms, clothes, pets amid Russian bombardment, nearly a million and a half Ukrainians will flee the country in coming days, making it one of the largest refugee crises in Europe in recent history. Use this resource to explore media literacy and the stories of Ukrainian refugees fleeing war.
War is in many ways a failure of humanity, and we are hoping for a swift and peaceful resolution to the crisis in Ukraine. Here are more classroom resources and ideas to fuel your lesson planning, as well as an option to post a discussion about how you are teaching this topic in your classroom or at home.
Updated as of August 3, 2022.
Lesson Plans on International Politics
Find more resources on international politics and how they relate to your students with our free collection of preK-12 lesson plans and teaching resources.
Andy Kratochvil is an SML team member who loves hiking, scary books, Mexican food, and finding great content for the Share My Lesson community.He studied political science and French at California State University, Fullerton and received his Master’s in International Affairs from American University