The Cold War Around the World

Lesson Plan: How did the Cold War Shape World History?

The World History team at Anoka HS developed this project on the global nature of the Cold War over the past few years. Student groups create infographics of Cold War events around the world.  Each group or pair select places Cold War events on a large world map. For each event the group includes a:

  • Short written descriptions of the event and its connections to the Cold War;
  • An image representing the event;
  • A thermometer indicating how “hot” the event. Actual or the risk of armed conflict can represent “heat”.

We modify and use this project in a variety of ways: learning activity, assessment, or a mix. As a unit ending assessment student groups can create an infographic representing six events in one 67-minute class period. As a learning activity groups or pairs take multiple days to research and represent up to ten events.  Teachers can assign student roles, or not. This year some of us recorded student contributions to group work as “not for grading”, but used individual statements on the Cold War as assessments.


  • Student handouts (page numbers for History Alive! World Connections, 2013)
  • Blank world maps, one per group, enlarged from letter to ledger sized (11 x 17). This the largest size our school printer will do. Enlarging by 129%, a standard option, provides some extra space on the side. This year some students put the big maps onto bigger poster paper to use the margins.
  • Thermometer templates
  • Glue sticks, scissors, markers

Teachers: give this a try, modify as needed, and let us know how it goes!

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