Daniel Goodwin Learn More, Teach More Lesson Plan 2—atomic bomb TOPIC: Deciding to use the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Era 8: Great Depression and World War II OBJECTIVES: Students will consider the situation and facts that determined Truman’s choice to use the atomic bomb. Students will create a list of pros and cons, as well as a list of alternatives to using the A- bomb. NCSSC: 10.02 Identify military, political, and diplomatic turning points of the war and determine their significance to the outcome and aftermath of the conflict. 10.03 Describe and analyze the effects of the war on American economic, social, political, and cultural life. TIME: 1 period with prior reading homework MATERIALS: 1. Various primary resource documents dealing with the decision to use the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. www.dannen.com/decision/handy.html www.dannen.com/decision/hst-jl25.html www.dannen.com/decision/hst-ag09.html 2. Photographs and damage reports for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. www.nuclearfiles.org/rephotogallery/hiro/index.html www.nuclearfiles.org/rephotogallery/naga/index.html 3. Appropriate high school textbook selection on World War II and the Pacific campaign. For example, Glencoe’s American Vision, p. 759-761, 766-771 PROCEDURES: 1. Students should read the appropriate text on the Pacific campaign of World War II prior to this lesson. Subjects such as island hopping, kamikaze pilots, Iwo Jima, and conventional strategic bombing should be considered. 2. Ask students to pretend that they are Harry Truman, just after he became president. Have them write a short synopsis of the situation in the Pacific. 3. Students will read selected primary source documents dealing with Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. These include the actual orders, an excerpt from Truman’s diary, and a speech given by Truman after the first bomb was exploded. www.dannen.com/decision/handy.html www.dannen.com/decision/hst-jl25.html www.dannen.com/decision/hst-ag09.html 4. Students will prepare two lists: one detailing the pros and cons of using the atomic bomb based on Truman’s knowledge of it at the time, and one detailing the pros and cons of a land invasion of Japan. Ask them to consider casualties, devastation, world reaction, and time. They are to base their assumptions only on what was known about the bomb at the time—based on the one test. 5. Students will view pictures of the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as a synopsis of the damage report for both cities. www.nuclearfiles.org/rephotogallery/hiro/index.html www.nuclearfiles.org/rephotogallery/naga/index.html 6. Students should revise their pro/con lists based on the new information. They must follow this up with a short paragraph detailing whether they thought the decision Truman made was a good one and why, and if there were any other alternative. This revised list with follow-up paragraph will be turned into the teacher. Possible extension: students may research the additional effects of the atomic bomb such as radiation, and discuss how this information may have led to the U.S. policy of not using further a-bombs in war. ASSESSMENT: Check-plus: student considers numerous reasons for and against using the a-bomb vs. a land invasion. Considerations are based on knowledge known at the time about the bomb effects. Follow-up, regardless of student opinion, needs to be well thought out and backed with evidence from the list or the sources, as well as offer alternatives. Check: student considers some reasons for and against using the a-bomb vs. a land invasion. May include some considerations that were not known at the time (radiation). Follow-up, regardless of opinion, is backed by evidence from list or sources. May or may not offer reasonable alternatives. Check-minus: Student gives inaccurate reasons and/or does not properly compare the two options. Follow-up does not back up student’s opinion or offer alternatives.
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