The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bombs
2 class periods
World War II
9, 10, 11, 12
Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:
- Decision to drop the bomb
- Role Play
- Students need to read documents and learn to think for themselves. This topic is never boring to anyone.
- Role-playing is active learning. They will have fun.
District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:
- Local standard 2B adopted from common core standards:
- Creating active and responsible citizens that identify and analyze public problems; deliberate with other people about how to define and address issues; take constructive, collaborative action; reflect on their actions; create and sustain groups; and influence institutions both large and small.
Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
- American Experience: Victory in the Pacific
Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
Full description of activity or assignment.
- Day One:
- Students will be given a role from the Decision Center book that was provided by the Truman Library
- Students will be given documents to help them prepare to meet the expectations of their roles
- Students will meet and discuss President Truman’s options.
- The President will come to a conclusion.
- Other students will serve as Senate Intelligence Committee members and debrief the President
- I will facilitate.
- Day Two:
- Students will form groups of three and discuss the decision and write a bullet point critique of the President’s decision.
- Each group will write their bullet points on the white board.
- Groups will be assigned to oppose another group’s critique.
- Mini-debates will take place in the classroom
- A class discussion will take place.
- I will roam the room and answer questions
- Day Three
- Students will view the last 30-35 minutes of “Victory in the Pacific”
- On the white board the following options will be listed and students will begin to decide what is their choice for the best way to end WWII:
- Drop the Atomic Bomb(s)
- Warn the Japanese
- Showcase the power on an uninhibited island
- Hold firm with Unconditional Surrender
- Allow the Imperial system to stay
- Blockade and bomb (conventional)
- I will get out of the way and allow students to come to their own conclusion.
Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:
- Students will write a 20-point persuasive essay explaining their decision on how to end WWII. This essay will be due two days after our last class meeting. It will be typed and double-spaced.