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The United States, China, and "Big Brother"

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The United States, China, and "Big Brother"

Unit Name: The United States, China, and “Big Brother” Government Surveillance

Content Areas: English Language Arts, Social Studies

Instructional Days-25

Unit Overview

Students will research, critically read, view, and analyze a number of credible articles and other resources on the governments of the United States and China and the extent to which they are monitoring their citizens. Instructor will provide extensive background information and visual support to facilitate rich discussion of the resources. Students will also read, analyze, and discuss in depth George Orwell’s fictional novel, 1984. When resources have been thoroughly studied and discussed, evidence of learning will be measured in two rich tasks: a multi-media project and an written assignment, both of which are driven by the questions below. All points and arguments in both forms of assessment must be supported by clear and strong evidence from a variety of resources that is appropriately cited.

Essential “Driving” Questions

How close are we, as a nation and as a world, to becoming a society monitored, and therefore controlled by the government? With the current advanced state of technology, are our individual and privacy rights in danger? Compare and contrast the fictional scenario of Orwell’s 1984 to citizen surveillance practices in the United States and in China and speculate on the possibility, or not, of “Big Brother” becoming a reality in these two nations.

Standards / Key Concepts or Skills / Enduring Understandings

ELA Common Core Standards:
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
or information.
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful.
Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement).
By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1-3 above.)
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1-3 up to and including grades 11-12 here.)
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.

Suggested and/or required resources: (students may also use the provided material in Expository Reading and Writing Curriculum Units)

“Post 9/11, Surveillance Cameras Everywhere”
By Allison Linn Senior writer
“FBI uses drones for surveillance in U.S” By Carol Cratty, CNN Senior Producer/ CNN Politics
Thu June 20, 2013
“New surveillance technology can track everyone in an area for several hours at a time…” By Craig Timberg February 5, The Washington Post
NSA picks 5 universities to train future cyberspies” By Eliene AugenbraunCBS NewsJuly 16, 2014, 3:20 PM

“Big Brother in China is watching, with 30 million surveillance cameras”
1/29/13 By TJ Martinell of MSN News

“The Limits of China’s Surveillance State”
By Gabe Collins/ THE DIPLOMAT
November 08, 2013

“In China, Beware: A Camera May Be Watching You” by Frank Langfitt/NPR
January 29, 2013 3:30 AM ET

By George Orwell

Evidence of Learning

Writing Task: Using the writing process, draft an essay that answers and/or speculates on the idea that we as a people are moving closer to, or already are, a society comparable to the fictional world of Oceania in Orwell’s 1984. Support your claims with properly cited evidence from the informational materials, as well as the novel, that we have read, discussed, and analyzed in class. Use appropriately cited and strong evidence from the text to support your argument.

Mulitmedia/ Digital Project: Students will create an original digital product that demonstrates understanding of the concepts and implications in Orwell’s 1984 and how they may or may not become a reality in our own society. Projects may be created in a variety of digital formats and may also include information gathered from the informational texts we have read, discussed, and analyzed in class.

Cognitive Difficulty Level -NEW Bloom's Taxonomy (H)

Recalling, identifying, or describing EXISTING information

Understanding, summarizing, or paraphrasing EXISTING information

Using EXISTING information in a new way

Comparing, breaking down, deciding or re-organizing BEYOND existing information

Judging, hypothesizing, or critical thinking BEYOND existing information

Constructing, planning, inventing or producing BEYOND existing information