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Activity Overview


Using a spider map, have students create a word map to identify and explain the major terminology of the arms races and space race of the Cold War. This will allow students to further understand how close the countries came to nuclear war and reinforce the concept of mutually assured destruction, that is, the catastrophic nuclear bombardment of both countries that would inevitably result if either launched an attack. Students will be able to explain and define the terms of both technological races, and how these competitions furthered tensions between the two superpowers. The activity will also give context to the ever expanding technological developments that continue to shape our world today.


Extended Activity

Have students create a word map for today’s military and space technologies. Students should try to connect the recent advancements to those of the Cold War. Students will connect military and space advancements as they evolved over time. Some ideas include:

  • Mars Rover
  • Hubble Telescope
  • Drone technologies
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 Instructions

Create a spider map that identifies major terms from the Space Race, Arms Race, and the Cold War.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. In the title box of each cell, type in term.
  3. In the description box, explain and define the term and how it relates to the Cold War.
  4. Create images using appropriate scenes, characters, items, and if desired, photos from Photos for Class.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.


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Cold War: 1945-1962





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