Civics Today Citizenship, Economics, & You

Chapter 7: The Executive Branch

Web Activity Lesson Plans

In this chapter students studied the seven roles of the president. One of these roles is that of Chief Diplomat. For thirty years the United States maintained no diplomatic ties with the most heavily populated country in the world—China. When Communists led by Mao Zedong successfully ousted the nationalist government, the United States broke off all diplomatic relations. President Richard Nixon was determined to visit China and resume normal diplomatic ties. Consider the effects of Nixon's foreign policy decision. What American companies trade with China today? How may Americans buy products that were made in China? What is our relationship with China today?

Lesson Description
Students will visit the PBS online feature entitled "Nixon's China Game." They will review events on a time line, and read about the role of Ping-Pong diplomacy and Richard Nixon. After answering several questions about the material, they will be asked to think about the effects of our relationship with China on our economy. They will construct a chart showing American businesses in China and Chinese products in America.

Instructional Objectives
  1. The learner will be able to describe the president's role in a foreign policy decision concerning China.
  2. The learner will be able to sequence the steps leading to normal diplomatic relations between the United States and China.
  3. The learner will be able to describe some of the economic effects of our relationship with China.
Student Web Activity Answers
  1. The Communists took over China in 1949.
  2. One of the first hints that relations between the United States and China were improving was when the American Ping-Pong team was invited to tour China.
  3. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger worked behind the scenes to start talks with China.
  4. President Nixon's first trip to China occurred in February 1972. Further diplomatic relations were hindered by the Watergate scandal.
  5. Students' posters will vary.
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