Customize your view of this lesson. Use the checkboxes below to filter activities in or out.
Students read and annotate a briefing about the energy crisis of the 1970s and identify stakeholders in the U.S. energy system in 1975, both foreign and domestic. They research possible measures President Gerald R. Ford could take to alleviate the crisis and distill the information to key points.2 hrs 30 mins Directions
Tips & Modifications
Tip Teacher Tip
If students do need help in identifying reliable online sources, conduct a mini-lesson on the topic. Model how to look at what type of website it is (e.g., .edu), its main purpose, and how to identify the source (person or organization) and any biases they may have. Demonstrate how to assess the appropriateness of the site’s design and any obvious errors, such as spelling mistakes. Finally, show students how to look for documented sources within the site and corroboration of the information found on the site.1. Activate students' prior knowledge about presidential decision-making.
As an entry ticket, have students write and turn in a brief description of a recent presidential decision. Invite volunteers to share their descriptions, and then discuss who the decisions affect and what the president might have to consider when making these decisions. Guide the conversation by asking: How do these decisions affect you? Who else might they affect? What do you think the president had to think about when he was making these decisions? Who do you think he might have turned to for information he needed to make these decisions? Explain to students that they will have a chance to take on the role of advisor to President Gerald R. Ford in drafting legislation to prevent another energy crisis such as the one the U.S. experienced in 1973. Their goal will be to become informed about different facets of the topic and advise President Ford about which measure he should push most strongly when Congress negotiates the final bill.
2. Have students read, annotate, and discuss the Energy Crisis Briefing.
Distribute a copy of the Energy Crisis Briefing handout and the Energy Crisis Briefing Discussion Prompts worksheet to each student. Have students read and annotate the briefing by highlighting key points, marking any unfamiliar vocabulary, asking any questions of the material, and briefly summarizing the content. Ask students to jot down their thoughts about the discussion prompts as they read. When students have finished reading, discuss the reading using the prompts from the worksheet. Allow time for students to ask questions they have about the reading.
3. Have students identify stakeholders in the U.S. energy system in 1975.
Place students into small groups and distribute the Stakeholder Table worksheet to each group. Have groups brainstorm some stakeholders who would be affected by any changes in U.S. energy policy in 1975. Encourage them to think about both domestic and foreign interests that would be affected. Then have groups share their ideas with the class and create a master list of stakeholders. This list might include middle-class Americans, impoverished Americans, Congress, OPEC countries, U.S. oil companies, and people living near U.S. oil supplies. Have students list the stakeholders from the master list in the first column of the Stakeholder Table worksheet. They will complete the remainder of the worksheet in Activity 3.
4. Have students investigate possible measures that could be included in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.
Have groups brainstorm on paper some possible measures that could be included in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. Invite groups to share some of their ideas. Then, distribute the Possible Measures Table worksheet to each group and explain that this table includes some of the measures that Ford and congress considered for inclusion in the act. Have students work with their groups to research each measure. Have each group work collectively to generate possible keywords for each measure. Then have them divide up the measures among group members to research. If necessary, model how to select reliable online sources. As students research, they should take notes, keeping track of the Internet sites they use.
5. Have students work as a group to distill the information they gathered into key points.
Have students share the research they gathered individually with their small group. Students should ask questions of each group member’s research to ensure that they fully understand each measure. If necessary, students can go back to their resources or conduct additional research to answer specific questions. Once all group members have shared their research, have students work as a group to identify key points for and against each measure and record them on the Possible Measures Table. Then have them rank the importance of each measure on a scale of 1 to 3. As a class, briefly discuss the activity and ask students for ideas about other information that would be useful in evaluating the measures. Collect students’ annotated Energy Crisis Briefing, Stakeholder Tables, and Possible Measures Tables for use in formative assessment and in future activities.
Review students’ annotated copies of the Energy Crisis Briefing and Possible Measures Tables as a formative assessment. Check the annotated briefings for any common marked vocabulary or student questions and address those topics before moving on to the next activity. Use the Possible Measures Table to check for general understanding of each measure.
Extending the Learning
Have students return to the brief descriptions of a presidential decision that they wrote in Step 1. Ask them to brainstorm possible stakeholders in that decision and how the decision would affect each stakeholder.
In Activity 1, students were introduced to the 1970s energy crisis and the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. They read a briefing, identified stakeholders in the U.S. energy system, and researched measures being considered for inclusion in the act. In Activity 2, they will gather information about political and geographic considerations important to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.
Students focus on the geographic and political contexts in which the 1970s energy crisis occurred. They read an additional briefing and primary source documents to gather information. Then they identify key locations in the Middle East and in the United States on a map. They use the information they gather to create a list of key geographic considerations and a list of key political considerations.1 hr 30 mins Directions
1. Briefly review the previous activity.
Distribute students’ annotated copies of the Energy Crisis Briefing from Activity 1 for reference, and then discuss what students learned in the previous activity. Invite volunteers to briefly summarize the energy crisis of 1973 and the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975. Ask: Who were some of the stakeholders that would be affected by the act? What were some of the measures that could be included in the act? Discuss any common misconceptions or vocabulary terms found in a review of students’ work in the previous activity. Ask students to recall the suggestions they had for other types of information that would help them make an informed decision about what measures were most important to include in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.
2. Have students read and annotate the Geographic and Political Briefing handout.
Explain that students will be given an additional briefing on the geographic and political context of the energy crisis and the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. Distribute a copy of the Geographic and Political Briefing handout and Geographic and Political Briefing Discussion Prompts worksheet to each student and ask them to read and annotate the briefing as they did the Energy Crisis Briefing in Activity 1. Remind them to highlight key points, mark any unfamiliar vocabulary, ask any questions of the material, and briefly summarize each section of the briefing. Ask students to jot down their thoughts about the discussion prompts in Part 1 of the Discussion Prompts worksheet as they read. When students have finished reading, discuss the reading using the prompts.
3. Have students locate places that are key to the energy crisis and the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.
Place students in the same small groups from the previous activity. Have groups brainstorm some of the places that were important in the energy crisis and the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. Have groups share their thoughts with the class and develop a master list of key places. These could include: members of OAPEC that participated in the embargo (Syria, Egypt, Algeria, Bahrain, Libya, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait); other major oil-exporting countries (Iraq, Venezuela, Ecuador, Angola, Nigeria, and Indonesia); Israel; and U.S. oil production sites that saw increased production following the crisis (Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Colorado, Wyoming, and Alaska). Have each group open the provided 1975 World Political Map on a computer and locate each of these places on the map. As students locate the places, have them jot down their thoughts on the discussion questions in Part 2 of the Geographic and Political Briefing Discussion prompts. When students have finished, discuss the location of these places, using the prompts.
4. Have students examine primary documents to add to their knowledge of the political situation surrounding the energy crisis and the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.
Explain to students that they will work with their groups to analyze three kinds of primary documents about the energy crisis and Energy Policy and Conservation Act: video of a speech given by President Ford, letters written to the president by members of the public, and political cartoons on the subject of the energy crisis. Have students analyze the speech, two letters, and a cartoon using the questions on the Analyzing Primary Documents worksheet. Assign different letters and political cartoons to each group. Have groups share one of the letters or political cartoons they analyzed with the class. Discuss what information the documents as a collection give about that period of time.
5. Have students synthesize what they have learned about the geographic and political context of the energy crisis and Energy Policy and Conservation Act.
Distribute the Geographic and Political Considerations worksheet to each group. Have students identify key geographic and political considerations that would be important when deciding what measures to include in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. Have students add these key considerations to the table, along with an explanation of why they are important and evidence to back up their reasoning. Collect the Geographic and Political Considerations worksheet, as well as the two annotated briefings for use in future activities.
Use students’ completed Geographic and Political Considerations worksheet as a formative assessment.
Extending the Learning
Have students research a current or recent energy-related story or event and list key geographic and political considerations. Have them compare the event they researched with the energy-related issues in the 1970s.
In Activity 2, students read a briefing and analyzed primary documents to identify geographic and political considerations related to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. In Activity 3, students will explore the cascading consequences of the measures being considered for inclusion in the act by creating a consequences web and completing a stakeholder table.
Students work in small groups to examine the consequences to stakeholders of measures being considered as part of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975. Groups create a consequences web for each of their assigned measures to visually illustrate potential consequences. They then use the information they have gathered to complete a Stakeholder Table. Groups share their stakeholder tables with one another, and then groups can make adjustments to their own tables as they see fit.50 mins Directions
Tips & Modifications
Tip Teacher Tip
In Step 2, if there are measures remaining after you have assigned two to each group, assign them to groups that need an additional challenge or to groups who finish their consequences webs first.1. Have students review documents from previous activities to identify potential consequences to stakeholders of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.
Return students’ completed Stakeholder Tables, Possible Measures Tables, Geographic and Political Considerations worksheets, and both annotated briefings. Briefly remind students of what each document includes. Have students work in the same small groups from the previous activities to review these documents and highlight any information relating to consequences to stakeholders of the measures under consideration for inclusion in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.
2. Have each group create a consequences web for two of the measures identified on the Possible Measures Table.
Model how to make a consequences web by drawing a square in the middle of the board and writing “Measure 1” in the square. Then draw a circle and connect it to the square with a line. In the circle write “direct consequence 1.” Draw another circle and line in the same way and label the second circle “direct consequence 2.” Explain that students should draw as many circles as they need to list all the direct consequences of Ford’s decision. Then model how to illustrate indirect consequences. Draw a line from one of the circles to a new circle. In the new circle write “indirect consequence.” Assign each group two of the measures listed on the Possible Measures Table. Have students work with their groups to draw a consequences web for each measure based on what they have learned in previous lessons and the cascading consequences they think the decision to include that measure would create. Give students time to briefly review the consequences webs created by other groups.
3. Have groups explore the effects of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act on stakeholders.
Direct students to the Stakeholder Tables they began in Activity 1. Model how to use the table by filling in the first row with the class. Then have groups complete the rest of the table. Students should reference the briefings and other handouts from previous activities to help them complete the chart. Be sure students understand that they are looking at the effects of the act as a whole, not just individual measures.
4. Have groups compare their completed tables to those of the other groups.
Make enough copies of each group’s Stakeholder Table for each group to have one full set. Distribute the copies to groups along with the Stakeholder Discussion Prompts handout, and ask students to take a few minutes to compare other groups’ tables to their own. Ask students to discuss the questions from Part 1 of the handout within their group. Then ask groups to look more closely at a table that differs significantly from theirs. Have them discuss the questions from Part 2 of the handout within their group. Allow time for groups to share some of their insights with the class. Collect students’ Stakeholder Table, Possible Measures Table, Political and Geographic Considerations worksheet, and both annotated briefings for use in the final activity of this lesson.
Use students’ consequences webs and stakeholder tables as a formative assessment. Look for evidence that students understand how various measures could affect stakeholders.
In Activity 3, students created a consequences web to explore the cascading consequences of some of the measures being considered for inclusion in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act and completed a stakeholder table to evaluate stakeholders’ influences. In the final activity, students will synthesize what they learned throughout the previous activities to write a recommendation to President Ford of which measure he should advocate for inclusion in the final act.
Students synthesize all the information they gathered in previous activities. They review a primary document in which advisors break down information about the Energy Policy and Information Act for President Ford, organize the information they gathered, and write a recommendation to President Ford about which measure they believe is the most important to include in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.2 hrs Directions
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.
Use the Decision Statement Rubric to assess students’ final recommendation to the president.
Subjects & Disciplines
- Writing (composition)
- United States government
- United States history
- 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
- identify and analyze possible consequences to stakeholders of measures considered for the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975
- analyze primary sources related to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975
- identify key political considerations related to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975
- identify key geographic considerations related to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975
- identify stakeholders in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975
- identify key information about measures that could be included in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975
- Cooperative learning
- Information organization
This lesson targets the following skills:
- 21st Century Student Outcomes
- 21st Century Themes
Critical Thinking Skills
- Geographic Skills
Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices
- 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.
- Theme 2: Time, Continuity, and Change
- 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
- Historical Thinking Standard 5: The student engages in historical issues-analysis and decision-making
- U.S. History Era 10 (5-12) Standard 1: Recent developments in foreign and domestic politics
- U.S. History Era 10 (5-12) Standard 2: Economic, social, and cultural developments in contemporary United States
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.10: By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band independently and proficiently.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.10 : By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 9-10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
- Writing Standards 11-12: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
- Writing Standards 6-12: Range of Writing, W.9-10.10
- Writing Standards 6-12: Range of Writing, W.11-12.10
- Writing Standards 6-12: Text Types and Purposes, W.9-10.1
- Writing Standards 6-12: Text Types and Purposes, W.11-12.1
- Writing Standards 9-10: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
- 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.Civ.3.9-12: Analyze the impact of constitutions, laws, treaties, and international agreements on the maintenance of national and international order
- 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
- D2.His.4.9-12.: Analyze complex and interacting factors that influenced the perspectives of people during different historical eras.
IRA/NCTE Standards for the English Language Arts
National Council for Social Studies Curriculum Standards
National Geography Standards
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
What You’ll Need
The resources are also available at the top of the page.
- Internet Access: Required
- Internet access: Required
- Tech Setup: 1 computer per learner, 1 computer per small group, Projector, Speakers
- Large-group instruction
Activity 4 is intended to be conducted over two class periods, with outside time to complete decision statements if needed.
Activity 1 is intended to be conducted over two class periods with outside time for research.
All legislation is the result of compromise; no one person or group gets everything they want. Like all decisions a president makes, the decision to sign or veto a bill is a complex one with many factors that must be weighed. In fact, the decisions the president makes begin well before the bill gets to his or her desk for signing. The president can decide to propose legislation and can also decide which measure to advocate strongly as the bill is being negotiated in congress. Presidents rely on advisors and experts to help them make the best decisions. This lesson places students in the role of advisor to the president and guides them through a process modified from a decision-making process called the Stakeholder Consequences Decision-Making (SCDM) process. This process includes identifying the considerations of a decision, identifying the consequences of that decision, assessing the impacts those consequences will have on stakeholders, and weighing those impacts. By applying this process to a complex presidential decision that has already been made, students can deconstruct the decision within its political and geographic context, as well as view the consequences of that decision through the lens of history.
Recommended Prior Lessons
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry domestic Adjective
having to do with policies or issues within a nation.
to outlaw trade of a certain good or service, or to outlaw trade from a certain place.
energy conservation Noun
process of using less energy, or using it more efficiently and sustainably.
energy efficiency Noun
use of a relatively small amount of energy for a given task, purpose, or service; achieving a specific output with less energy input.
energy resource Noun
source of energy found in nature that has not been subject to any human-induced energy transfers or transformations; for example, oil, coal, gas, wind, or sunlight.
energy source Noun
location in which the energy resource (oil, coal, gas, wind, etc.) is converted into electrical energy.
good or service traded to another area.
to transport goods to another place for trade.
having to do with another culture, country, or nation.
good traded from another area.
to bring in a good or service from another area for trade.
intended consequences Noun
results of an action or situation that are deliberately brought about and/or anticipated.
Oil Crisis Noun
(~1972-1980) time during which many oil-exporting nations reduced their exports, creating oil shortages in many developed countries. Also called the Energy Crisis.
oil reserve Noun
petroleum from a specific reservoir that can be successfully brought to the surface.
person or organization that has an interest or investment in a place, situation or company.
unintended consequences Noun
results of an action or situation that are not deliberately brought about and/or anticipated.
For Further Exploration