The Cold War Heats Up – Learning experience for May 30/31



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Preparation for May 30/31 -The Path to War in Vietnam

You all know that the United States was involved in a major military conflict in Vietnam during the Cold War … but why? What was America’s “path to war”? Check out the video below and a few of the links if you have a chance. As you read and watch, make sure that you can summarize the basic ideas and events that led to American involvement in Vietnam.

Focus on the following terms – France, Ho Chi Minh, communism, Ngo Dinh Diem, military advisors, Gulf of Tonkin, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Rolling Thunder

The Causes of the Vietnam War

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The Forgotten War – For May 25/29

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My Lesson from the Civil Rights Movement

The stories of the Civil Rights movement are plentiful, and we only had time to dig into a few.  Hopefully you are definitely pulling out some great lessons from the push for equality after WWII.  As you complete Learning from the CRM part 2 and Civil Rights for All consider what you have learned – and how you can apply a lesson (or two) to your life.

After discussing the various events, ideas, leaders, and groups of the Civil Rights Movement, what lesson have you learned – and how can you apply this lesson to your life? Describe the lesson, how you learned it, and how you can utilize what you learned to make a positive step today, tomorrow, and/or in the future.


What lessons have we learned so far?  Take a look:


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I HAVE A DREAM! May 17-18




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The civil rights movement is one of the defining events in American history, during which Americans fought to make real the ideals of justice and equality embedded in our founding documents. When students learn about the movement, they learn what it means to be active American citizens. They learn how to recognize injustice. They learn about the transformative role played by thousands of ordinary individuals, as well as the importance of organization for collective change. They see that people can come together to stand against oppression.
Teaching Tolerance

For one of our final topics of study this year, we will be surveying the Civil Rights Movement, one of the major turning points in America’s story … and one that is still being experienced and told. Unfortunately, we will not be able to dig extremely deep into the movement, but we will see many of the seminal moments from the push for equality and make connections to our current society and our own lives.

To learn about the movement, you must witness it – your first task is to examine the early events of the movement, find out what happened, and start to examine the the lessons we can learn.  Get going on this, and make sure you split it up! You will need this info for context in your next class, when we go to Washington DC in 1963 for the greatest speech of the 20th century!

As you dig into these amazing stories of perseverance and courage, think about the lessons that you/we can learn, and how we can apply these lessons to our lives today, and our world today – local, state, national, global.

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The Legacy of WWII – Learning Experience May 9/10

The most important global event in the 20th century had a huge impact on the United States specifically and on the world in general.  What was the legacy of the war?  Complete  “The Legacy of WWII” and check out the resources below to come to class with an idea about the overall impact of the second World War. Take some notes on these materials as well!

Check out ‘The Fallen of WWII” – it’s big.

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Learning Experience May 7/8 – We Can Do It! The WWII Home Front

“War is no longer simply a battle between armed forces in the field. It is a struggle in which each side strives to bring to bear against the enemy the coordinated power of every individual and of every material resource at its command. The conflict extends from the soldier in the front line to the citizen in the remotest hamlet in the rear.”  

American government report from 1939

The American home front was essential to the success of the US and the Allies in World War II, so one of our essential questions must be about the Home Front – right?  Check out the reading guide handed out in class.


Examine the content checklist first, and then tackle the reading about  Pearl Harbor: Galvanizing the Nation Rationing and War Bonds – Daily Life During the War and Division and Unity – The Internal Conflicts , all from Jackdaw Publications. Complete one or two this evening, and the final reading the following evening.

What was the household like on the home front?  Check it out!

You can also check out the video below for a little home front info …

And, of course, our good AHR friend John Green …

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Preparation for May 6/7 – Hiroshima

We saw the Enola Gay at the air and Space Museum in Virginia – the plane that was involved in one of (if not THE) the most important single decisions of the 20th century (source, source).  The short term and long term impact of the use of the atomic bomb have been debated since August of 1945.  In our next class, we will be discussing and debating the use of atomic weapons to end to the Pacific War in World War II.  To prepare, use the following material online and any other reliable information you discover to develop an option on the use of atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

THE BASIC FACTS – use your “You Decide” handout and the video below to get an overview of the event.  You can also consult The Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki from the History Channel. You should all know the basics facts behind the event.

Was the use of the atomic bomb on Japan necessary and justified?  It’s a question that is still debated in our society today.  Here are some resources that you can use to develop an opinion and take some notes on your overview.


In your next class, you will have the opportunity to discuss your opinion about the use of atomic weapons by the United States at the end of World War II.  You should come to class with a great deal of background about the two sides to the argument, written on your notes. You will be able to choose your side – YES or NO. Make sure you have excellent speaking points for your debate, as you will be evaluated on your participation in class.  Your task will be to make arguments that support your position, defend yourself against attacks from the other side, AND/OR ask questions of the people discussing to get further clarification.  The more historical detail and argumentation you have, the better!

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