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Imagine Ways to Improve Military Lives

Students will conduct research to learn about a branch of the armed services. They will identify current problems facing military personnel and/or their families. Then they will brainstorm ideas for a solution.

PROCESS:

  1. Inform students that this article presents a problem (developing healthy, tasty MREs) and a solution (conducting an investigation to test the gut health of volunteers who eat field rations for a month) faced by military personnel. While that problem may be unique to troops on patrol or on the battlefield, it is a major issue for those involved. Point out that military personnel in other situations—and the families that support them—encounter obstacles of their own. 
  2. As a class, identify the branches of the U.S. armed services: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and Guard and Reserve. Invite volunteers to share what they know about each.
  3. Have students conduct research to learn more about one or more branches of the armed services. As students investigate, challenge them to identify a problem encountered by military personnel or their families.
  4. Once students identify a specific problem, encourage them to brainstorm ideas for a solution. Give students time to write a brief essay outlining their ideas.

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their essays with the class. After all essays have been read, identify ideas that could be implemented in your local community.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:  

Grades 3-4:
As a class, select a branch of the armed services and conduct research to learn more about it. Challenge students to identify a problem that affects military personnel in this branch or the families of those who serve. Then divide the class into small groups. Encourage each group to brainstorm ideas for a solution. Give them time to write about their ideas. Then have groups share and compare their solutions. 

Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Assign each group one branch of the armed services to investigate. Instruct them to identify a problem that affects military personnel in their assigned branch or the families of those who serve. Encourage them to brainstorm ideas for a solution. Give groups time to write about their ideas. 

Grades 7-8:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct groups to select two branches of the armed services to investigate. Challenge them to identify a common problem that affects military personnel in each branch or the families of those who serve. Encourage them to brainstorm ideas for a solution. Give groups time to write about their ideas. 

Grades 9-10:
Assign each student a partner. Instruct pairs to select two branches of the armed services to investigate. Challenge them to identify one common problem that affects military personnel in each branch and another problem that affects the families of those who serve. Encourage them to brainstorm ideas for a solution to each problem. Give groups time to write about their ideas.