Lesson Plan

Conflicts Eisenhower Faced

President-elect Eisenhower visiting the Korean front, December 1952.

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Grade Level:
High School: Ninth Grade through Twelfth Grade
Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
90 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
9-10.RI.7, 11-12.RI.7, 9-10.SL.1, 11-12.SL.1
State Standards:
State: Pennsylvania
Subject: History
Grade Level: 9th-12th
State Standards: 8.3.9.D and 8.3.12.D: Identify and analyze conflict and cooperation among social groups and organizations in United States history from 1878-1914 and 1890- Present.
Additional Standards:
State: Pennsylvania
Subject: History
Grade Level: 12th 
State Standards: 8.3.12.A: Identify and evaluate the political and cultural contributions of individuals and groups to United States history from 1890 to Present.
Thinking Skills:
Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words. Applying: Apply an abstract idea in a concrete situation to solve a problem or relate it to a prior experience. Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts. Creating: Bring together parts (elements, compounds) of knowledge to form a whole and build relationships for NEW situations. Evaluating: Make informed judgements about the value of ideas or materials. Use standards and criteria to support opinions and views.


In this lesson, students will analyze Eisenhower’s own words and the words of those who knew him.

Students will then be able to answer the following essential questions:
How can you describe Dwight Eisenhower’s life, career, and character? How did Eisenhower’s character influence how he viewed and dealt with conflict?


This lesson is part of a unit on Dwight Eisenhower. This is the fourth lesson in the unit and focuses on the character traits held by Eisenhower that led to effective conflict resolution skills.


  1. Decide whether to plan mixed-ability groups ahead of time or allow students to choose groups for the quote analysis and group debrief.

  2. Make one copy for each student of all materials including: “Eisenhower and His Times” Timeline, “Eisenhower and His Times: Quote Analysis” graphic organizer, “Eisenhower and His Times: Group Debrief” worksheet, and “Inspired by Ike” assessment.

  3. Students will need a highlighter, a pencil, and possibly art supplies.


This timeline includes the life events and quotes by Dwight Eisenhower. This timeline will be used for quote analysis.

Download Eisenhower and His Times Timeline

This graphic organizer will be used to analyze the quotes and life events of Dwight Eisenhower.

Download Eisenhower and His Times: Quote Analysis

These questions will be answered in a group to debrief the quote analysis.

Download Eisenhower and His Times: Group Debrief

Lesson Hook/Preview

  1. Ask students to take out a piece of paper and write a short description of a children’s story or movie. Ask the students to identify which characters were the “good guys” and which characters were “bad guys?” How could they tell?  

  2. Explain to students that in real life, it’s not always so “black and white.” Real people are not purely “good” or “bad,” but instead a mix of both. Explain that today they will be looking at the actions and statements of President Dwight Eisenhower. Even though Eisenhower was a great leader, he also had shades of gray. Students will be identifying what character traits he held and how he used those character traits at times to resolve conflicts peacefully.



  1. Explain: “Today, we are going to learn about how Eisenhower shaped his time. To do that, we need to understand something of Eisenhower’s character – as well as his style in resolving conflicts.”

  2. Hand out the “Eisenhower and His Times” timeline. Ask students to look through the timeline and highlight any conflicts that Eisenhower was involved in. Ask students to share the conflicts they identified.

  3. Then, explain to students that they will now look at Eisenhower’s quotes to better understand how he used his personality and character traits to resolve conflicts. These quotes are identified on the timeline through italics.

  4. Hand out the Quote Analysis graphic organizer. Read directions at the top of the graphic organizer.

  5. Optional: Complete one quote analysis as a group to establish expectations. Begin by asking students to choose one quote to read out loud and analyze as a group.  

  6. Give students 15-20 minutes to analyze the quotes. This can be done individually, in pairs, or in small groups.

  7. After analyzing quotes, ask students to get into a new group of three. They should not be working with any students with whom they completed the quote analysis. Hand out the Group Debrief questions.

  8. Give the students 5-10 minutes to debrief the quote analysis. Then, ask each group to share their findings with the goal of understanding that Eisenhower’s personal character was a central element in his success in resolving conflicts.


  1. Character - the set of qualities that make up an individual’s personality.

  2. Conflict - a serious disagreement or argument, which is usually long-lasting.

  3. Resolution - the action of solving a problem, dispute, or argument.

  4. Trait - a distinguishing quality or characteristic, typically one belonging to a person.

Assessment Materials

Inspired By Ike

Students will create a product based on Eisenhower’s life events and character to demonstrate knowledge.


Inspired By Ike

Download Assessment

Supports for Struggling Learners

1. Practice analysis of several quotes as a group prior to allowing students to finish analyzing the quotes independently.

2. Limit the number of quotes required for analysis by each student.

3. Select the quotes in advance that are the most straightforward for students to analyze.

4. Create two different mixed-ability groupings: one for the quote analysis and one for the group debrief.

Enrichment Activities

Point out that this time line emphasizes times when Eisenhower worked to resolve conflicts peacefully. Say, “There are other occasions when Eisenhower did not use peaceful conflict resolution.” Assign students to research one of the occasions during his presidency when Eisenhower and the United States did not resolve conflicts peacefully and find a quote that represents this conflict to share with the class.

Additional Resources

Eisenhower National Historic Site Virtual Museum Exhibit:


Related Lessons or Education Materials

Eisenhower Years Unit:

Lesson 1: Conflict and Its Resolution
Lesson 2: Causes of International Conflict 
Lesson 3: 
Eisenhower and his Times 
Lesson 5: 
How Would Eisenhower Have Handled It?

Contact Information

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Last updated: May 21, 2015