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4 Lesson Plans
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: How should we remember the dropping of the atomic bomb? First, students are told that they will choose an appropriate photo to accompany a U.N. website commemorating the dropping of the bomb. Students are then introduced to 2 narratives about WWII: "Hiroshima as Victimization" (the Japanese point of view) vs. "Hiroshima as Triumph" (the American point of view). The class is then divided into 2 halves, each of which looks at a variety of source documents-anecdotes, letters, and data-through its side's point of view only. Students then form groups of 4 to choose which image should be used in the "website." Each group shares its image and explains why they chose it. In a final discussion, the class talks about whether the bomb should have been dropped and whether they can second-guess a decision like Truman's.
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why were Japanese-Americans interned during World War II? The teacher first distributes a timeline, which the class reviews together. Students then view a government-made newsreel from 1942 explaining the rationale for internment. This is followed by 4 more documents, including the "Munson Report," an excerpt from the Supreme Court's decision in U.S. v Korematsu, and the 1983 report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. For each, students answer guiding questions and formulate a hypothesis: according to the document, why was internment necessary? A final class discussion has students determine which document(s) best explain what occurred.
In this lesson, designed to follow a more general study of the New Deal, students analyze primary and secondary source documents and engage in a Structured Academic Controversy in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was the New Deal a success or a failure? Students receive 7 documents, including a "fireside chat" by FDR, an oral interview, a speech by a WPA representative, unemployment statistics, and song lyrics by the Carter Family. Students then divide into groups of 4 and into pairs within each group to analyze the documents using a graphic organizer. Each pair presents the argument to the other that the New Deal was either (Pair A) successful or (Pair B) a failure. Only at the end can students abandon their previous positions, reach consensus in writing as a group, and defend that view in a final class discussion.
In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Which historical account of Social Security is more accurate? Students begin by responding to a prompt: should out-of-work Americans receive government assistance? The teacher then streams a video on the New Deal and its critics, including Huey Long, followed by discussion. Students then look at the summarized views of 2 historians, Carl Degler and Barton Bernstein. In pairs, students summarize and discuss. They then read 3 primary source documents: 1) a 1935 speech by FDR, 2) the testimony of NAACP spokesman Charles Houston before Congress, and 3) a letter to Mrs. Roosevelt by an anonymous critic of Social Security. For each, students answer guiding questions. In a final class discussion, students corroborate the documents and use them to side with the views of 1 historian-Degler or Bernstein-over the other.
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