Learning experience May 5/8 – The Atomic Bomb

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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WWII Turning Points – The Pacific

Got the turning points of the war in Europe?  Good!  Now, it’s on to the other theater – the Pacific!

Use the links below (and any other reliable resource)  to add the Pacific component to your awesome WWII maps.

You can watch the video overview below to get a feel for the entire war in that theater. We will watch parts in class as well. lass …

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The US Troops in WWII

As you examine the flow of the war in Europa and the Pacific, you surely will wonder … Who were the men and women that served in Europe and the Pacific? Please read and interact with the American Troops in WWII.  This reading will give you an idea bout the makeup of the men and women that served in the American military during the war.

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The Turning Points of WWII


  • I can explain the major turning points of the war and contrast military campaigns in the European and Pacific theaters.
  • I can summarize the essential information and impact of a historical event.
  • I can geographically present the flow of World War II.

The National Content Standards of American History identify that all US history students should be able to explain the major turning points of World War II – so that’s what I am expecting from my young historians!  Over the next week, we will see the progression of the war.  Your major task is to create some sort of map that not only locates each of the major turning points, but also offers essential information about the event.  For each location listed, you should have a proper location on your map, a title, a date, and a brief overview of the event and its impact.  For an example take a look at my map with Pearl Harbor. My description is probably a little more detailed, with a quote, an image, and a resource or two.  Those options are up to you – whatever it takes to hit the target.

View America in World War II in a larger map

To begin, you should work on the European Theater.   Get as far as you can …

Everyone should watch the video below – it will give you a great overview of the entire Atlantic / European theater.

To add to your maps, you can use this great animated overview of the war in Europe.  You can also consult  World War II in Europe from the United States Holocaust Memorial MuseumWorld War II from PBS, and another awesome interactive map. Another overview map may be helpful as well.

Then, check out the individual links below.

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Learning Experience May 1 – 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?  Doc will give you a guide for some readings about the WWII home front, which is also available here:


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 …



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A WWII Story

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 11.22.35 AMWorld War II is one of the most investigated, filmed, discussed, debated, and beloved parts of America’s story – in other words, it is COMPELLING – and the topic has countless stories that have been told (and not told) in books, movies, music, television series, and more.   There is a WWII story for everyone – for some, more than others – and you have the opportunity to develop a presentation for a COMPELLING STORY involving America and World II.  Your topic should be narrow in nature, you can use a few great resources to research your story, and you can can tell your story in ANY WAY YOU WANT! Your story can be an actual story (creative in nature) or more of a content presentation – whatever the case, you will not only want to tell the story, but also tell WHY WE SHOULD CARE ABOUT THE STORY!

Similar to NHD, start with a broad topic, like D-day, and then get narrow – like the story of General Eisenhower and his leadership during D-Day.

It’s sort of a mini-NHD, but without the limitation of the theme, the huge expectations, the competition, and the intense judging process

How will you find out what topic you want to choose?  Play around with some of the sites below – they are chock full of cool stuff.

How will you be assessed?

  • Is your topic and story compelling or basic? 
  • Did you consult a few decent resources (beyond wikipedia or a simple Google search) to find out possible answers?
  • Did you present your findings completely in a creative, clear and original manner?
  • Did you present why your story is important for us to see/hear/experience?
  • Did you try, or did you just throw something together?

Once you have decided your topic, fill in the form below!

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Learning Experience April 18-19 – America’s Road to War

We now know a little about how WWII started in Europe – but how did the US get involved in this global conflict?  How did American go from ISOLATION to INTERVENTION? That’s our target, so let’s find out!

Complete your “From Isolation to Intervention” notes  using the website provided for you by your fave 8th grade American history teacher.   Make sure you check out the videos on the site!  This experience will take you longer than 25 minutes – don’t save it for one sitting!

The video below will give you an awesome overview of America going to war – watch it for review!

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Finish examining the New Deal … and take a little quiz

Hopefully the debate solidified your understanding of the New Deal.  Have any more questions?  You should complete your New Deal study guide and submit it by next class. Also, make sure you post a current article, topic, or event on your section’s bulletin board to see the New Deal in action!

New Deal Today Section 1 / New Deal Today Section 2 / New Deal Today Section 3 / New Deal Today Section 4/ /New Deal Today Section 5

Now, how about an open not, open web, do it by yourself untimed quiz to check your understanding?  Here you go …

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Debating the New Deal

I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people.

We have a lot of background knowledge on the government programs of FDR’s administration during the economic crisis of the Great Depression, including many of the Alphabet Soup programs.  Our next step is to discuss the short term and long term legacy of the plan with an in-class debate on Friday.

Carefully consult and use your New Deal debate handout (or your own format) to prepare for at least three of the five major topics of discussion:

  1. Was the New Deal successful in dealing with the economic crisis of the 1930s?
  2. Did FDR have too much power as President during the New Deal?
  3. Did the New Deal help all segments of the population?
  4. Was the government moving too close toward socialism during the New Deal?
  5. Is the long term legacy of the New Deal positive for the United States?

The materials already discussed in class and the following resources should be helpful, but you can also find your own – make sure they are reliable! Statistics and primary sources are great to support an opinion.

There will be a chance for back channel interaction in class – want to get started early? Use your first name on the back channel chat, and make sure you use positive digital citizenship.  no assertions without evidence!

Section 1 / Section 2 / Section 3 / Section 4 / Section 5


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Representing the New Deal

Young New Dealers – You hopefully have a decent idea about many of the New Deal programs made famous by their acronyms in the alphabet agencies. Today you and your partners are going to take a specific program and create a representation using everyone’s favorite building toy – Legos.  Your task is to create a visual representation of your assigned New Deal program, summarize the program on one half of a piece of paper, and describe your representation (with a different narration) using an app called tellagami.  As you describe your representation, put a pretty picture of your representation in the back of your animated voice. When you are done, we will have a little museum walk so that we can dig deeper into these New Deal agencies. You will also need to submit your script and tellagami link on Google classroom.  Be creative, and have fun!

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