Resources  Teacher's Guide

"U.S. foreign aid, in terms of a percentage of their GNP, is already the lowest of
any industrialized nation in the world, though paradoxically in the last three years,
their dollar amount has been the highest."

-- Anup Shah, Media Analyst, 2004



Foreign aid--the giving of money, goods, or services to other nations--is an important part of United States foreign policy. It began in World War II and evolved through reconstruction after that war, through the Cold War, after September 11, and to the present day. Aid can be given in a number of areas, including developmental, humanitarian, military, disaster relief, and security. The United States also benefits from giving foreign aid by promoting the expansion of democracy and free markets around the world.

Use any or all of the following activities to learn more about foreign aid.

Now that you've learned some background about foreign aid, it's time to determine how foreign aid dollars are spent and whether or not our foreign aid policy should be changed.

 Should the United States change its foreign aid policy?
Why or why not?

Task & Product

Working with a classmate, you will assume the role of congressional aides working for a congressman on the Committee on Foreign Aid. Your teacher will assign you one of the countries below for research.
Afghanistan Egypt  Israel Russia
Albania Haiti Jordan Turkey
Colombia Indonesia  Pakistan Ukraine
Cuba Iraq Peru Uzbekistan

Your task will be to gather information about your country regarding its current and past foreign aid received from the United States.You will then determine whether or not the U.S. government should change its foreign aid policy toward that country using details from your research to support your argument. Finally, you will present your recommendation to the Committee on Foreign Aid (your class) on behalf of your congressman. This presentation should include a visual component, such as a PowerPoint program, a video, a poster, podcasts/vodcast, wiki webpage, VoiceThread or a brochure.

Teacher note: To facilitate the collaborative nature of this project, consider creating a project-based wiki or using another collaborative Web 2.0 tool (VoiceThread, MindMeister,, etc.) to use as a workspace. For further help/suggestions, see your Library Media Specialist or visit Web 2.0 wiki.


Your grade for this project may be based on any or all of the following components. The accompanying scoring tools may be used or adapted by your teacher.

Research Process Assessments:

Final Product Assessments: 



Essential Question: Should the United States change its foreign aid policy? Why or why not?

Subsidiary Questions:

  • What is the system of government of your assigned country?
  • What is the current political climate in that country?
  • Does your country's system of government appear to influence the amount and type of U.S. aid it receives?
  • What was the type and level of past U.S. aid to this country?
  • What is the type and level of present U.S. aid to this country?
  • What are the benefits of this aid to the U.S.? How does this aid serve our national interest?
  • What are the costs and/or problems of this aid for the U.S.?
  • What is one possible opportunity cost for the U.S. of this aid? (To learn more about the concept of opportunity cost, click here.)

Gather, Sort, and Cite

Gather information from a variety of sources.

Sort your findings using a graphic organizer, note cards, outline, word document, or other form for recording your research.

Cite your sources to avoid plagiarism.

Sort your research findings using a graphic organizer or note cards. Be sure
to avoid plagiarism and keep track of your resources for a bibliography.




Analyze your research notes to determine if you have adequate information to prepare your presentation for the Committee on Foreign Aid (your class).

  • Have you gathered sufficient details about U. S. foreign aid to your country?
  • Are your details organized in the right categories (sub-questions) to make sense for your audience?
  • Are you ready to create your oral presentation and your visual?

Synthesize your findings by creating a first draft of your product.

  • What new insights have emerged about your topic?
  • Which facts are the most compelling and would have the greatest impact on your audience?
  • Which facts are unnecessary and/or repetitive and therefore should be left out?

Evaluate your finished product. Use the scoring tools for your chosen presentation format and oral report as checklists to ensure that your product meets the criteria and that you are ready to present to the Committee.






  • Plan your presentation with your partner. Keep in mind that your presentation should include an oral portion as well as the sharing of your visual product.
  • When planning the presentation, be sure to include time for each of you to speak. Practice the oral portion in conjunction with the visual portion.
  • Use this graphic organizer to take notes on all of the presentations in preparation for responding to the reflection questions below.


After all of the presentations are completed, respond to the following writing prompt:

Since the beginning of World War II, the United States has been providing aid to foreign countries.

  • Why does the United States give American tax money to foreign countries?
  • Should the United States increase its level of foreign aid support?

Provide details and examples from your own research and your presentation notes to support your answer. Your teacher may evaluate your reflection using this scoring tool:

Constructed Response html | MS Word

Extension Activity: To provide you with more practice in understanding federal budgets and the trade-offs that must be made when increasing or decreasing foreign aid, try the National Budget Simulation Game.