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Activity Overview


Nixon's domestic policies aimed to solve several issues including the Vietnam War and the relationships with China and the U.S.S.R. Using a spider map, students will outline, define, and explain the foreign policies initiated by Nixon during his presidency.

This activity serves as a great way to provide students with a background from which they can analyze and synthesize how Nixon conducted foreign affairs as a whole, including his role in the continuing Cold War. Teachers may pre-select which major policies define his foreign agenda. Below are some suggested topics that students can also select from.

Nixon's Foreign Policy Suggestions

  • Realpolitik
  • Détente with the U.S.S.R.
  • Ping-Pong Diplomacy in China
  • Henry Kissinger
  • Limiting Nuclear Arms (SALT I)
  • The Vietnam War
  • Energy Crisis

Extended Activity

Have students create a 5 Ws spider map on one specific foreign policy. Students should define and explain the major points of why such policy was initiated, as well as what effect it had on the American government, public, and global relations. This will allow students to gain a deeper understanding of the effects of Nixon’s policies as a president, as well as place his actions into a broader historical and global context.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 9-12

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual or Partner



Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)



Student Activities

Create a spider map outlining the foreign policies Nixon initiated during his presidency.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. In each title box, enter one of Nixon's foreign policies.
  3. In the description boxes, write a summary of the policy, its aims, and its effects.
  4. Create an illustration for each policy using appropriate scenes, items, and characters.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.


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Presidency of Richard Nixon





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