1. Briefly review all previous activities in this lesson.

As an entry ticket, have students write down their biggest takeaways from each of the first three activities of this lesson. Invite volunteers to share their thoughts and use that as a springboard to briefly review the previous activities. Explain that, in this final activity, students will put together everything they learned in the previous activities to write a recommendation to the president about which measure he should advocate most strongly for including in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. Place students in the same small groups they worked with in previous activities, and return students’ Stakeholder Tables, Possible Measures Tables, Geographic and Political Considerations worksheets, and both annotated briefings from the previous activities. Explain that they will use their work in previous activities as evidence in their final recommendation to the president.

2. Have students review the information they gathered on stakeholders.

Distribute a copy of the Decision Statement Planner worksheet to each small group. Have them use the information they gathered on stakeholders in Activities 1-3 to complete Part 1 of the worksheet. They should refer to their Stakeholder Table as a reminder of what they learned.

3. Have students review the effects of different possible measures on stakeholders and assess their importance.

Have students review the Possible Measures Tables, the Stakeholder Tables, and the consequences webs they created in Activity 3. Then have them complete Part 2 of the Decision Statement Planner worksheet to identify the consequences of each possible measure for stakeholders and the level of importance of each measure.

4. Introduce students to a primary document including analysis of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 and recommendations from President Ford’s advisors.

Distribute copies of the excerpts from the Memorandum to the President on the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 to each student. Explain that the document contains an excerpt from an analysis of the act by one of Ford’s staff and then recommendations from several of his advisors. In their groups, have students scan pages 27-40 to see how the analysis is organized. At this point, it is not important that students read the entire analysis. They should focus on what elements it includes and how it is organized. Discuss this section with students and as a class create an outline of the analysis. Then, have each group select two recommendations from Ford’s advisors—one advising him to sign the act and one advising him to veto it. A number of these recommendations can be found on pages 65-76 of the memorandum. Have students read the two recommendations and discuss in their groups which one was most persuasive. Ask:

  • Which recommendation would you follow? Why?
  • Which recommendation had the best rationale and the most evidence? How important do you think those elements would be to a president?
  • If you were president, would you be more likely to follow the recommendation given by the majority of your advisors or the recommendation that made the best argument? Why?
  • What other factors might influence your ultimate decision?

5. Have students write their recommendation.

Remind students that all legislation is the result of compromise—no one gets everything they want. In this final activity, their job is to recommend to President Ford which of the measures they studied is the most important to include in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. Have students use the information they gathered and summarized in Parts 1 and 2 of the Decision Statement Planner worksheet to write a final recommendation to the president. Explain that students’ recommendations must include an analysis of three possible measures and their decision statement of which measure is the most important. This decision statement must include their decision, a rationale for their decision with evidence to support it, and identification of which stakeholders will be negatively impacted and which will be positively impacted by their decision. When students have completed their decision statements, collect them for formal assessment of the full lesson.

Extending the Learning

Have each student or pair of students do a close reading of a different section of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 and create a synopsis. As a class, identify some of the key measures of the act. Then have students read the Congressional Research Service document, Energy Policy: 114th Congress Issues. Have students identify issues and policies that are similar between the 1975 act and today's energy policies.

Subjects & Disciplines

  • English Language Arts
  • Geography
  • Social Studies
    • U.S. History

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • analyze primary documents that include recommendations to President Ford from his advisors
  • plan and write a decision statement identifying the most important measures to include in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975

Teaching Approach

  • Constructivist
  • Interdisciplinary

Teaching Methods

  • Cooperative learning
  • Discussions
  • Reading
  • Writing

Skills Summary

This activity targets the following skills:

Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices

IRA/NCTE Standards for the English Language Arts

  • Standard 1:  Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.

National Council for Social Studies Curriculum Standards

  • Theme 2:  Time, Continuity, and Change

National Geography Standards

  • Standard 11:  The patterns and networks of economic interdependence on Earth's surface
  • Standard 13:  How the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of Earth's surface
  • Standard 17:  How to apply geography to interpret the past
  • Standard 4:  The physical and human characteristics of places

National Standards for History

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy

The College, Career & Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards

  • Causation and Argumentation: D2.His.14.9-12:  Analyze multiple and complex causes and effects of events in the past.
  • D2.Civ.13.9-12:  Evaluate public policies in terms of intended and unintended outcomes, and related consequences
  • D2.Eco.1.9-12:  Analyze how incentives influence choices that may result in policies with a range of costs and benefits for different groups.
  • D2.Eco.8.9-12:  Describe the possible consequences, both intended and unintended, of government policies to improve market outcomes.
  • D2.His.1.9-12:  Evaluate how historical events and developments were shaped by unique circumstances of time and place as well as broader historical contexts

What You’ll Need

Materials You Provide

  • Pencils
  • Pens

Required Technology

  • Tech Setup: 1 computer per small group

Physical Space

  • Classroom


  • Large-group instruction

Other Notes

Activity 4 is intended to be conducted over two class periods, with outside time to complete decision statements if needed.

Background Information

Prior Knowledge

  • None

Recommended Prior Activities

  • None



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