As a culminating activity to a lesson on how the Pacific side of World War II was concluded with the dropping of atomic weapons on Japan, students will now participate in an engaging problem-solving activity in which they will weigh the reasons and consequences for using such weaponry, determining their own decisions on the matter.
Before the problem-solving activity, set a timer for three minutes and have students, either individually or with a partner, list out as many reasons and consequences they can think of for using the atomic bomb. (A simple T-chart could be created for this informal process.) Once the time is up, the students can either share some of their reasons, or they can simply save their work and use the lists to help them throughout the problem-solving process.
Now that the students have begun thinking about potential consequences and reasons for using the atomic bomb, the teacher will introduce the Six Thinking Hats problem-solving technique. The teacher could print this reference image for each student or have it up on the board for a visual while explaining the technique: https://goo.gl/images/jxxrpL.
Once the students understand what this technique is and how it helps solve problems, the teacher can then divide up the students into six groups and assign each group a particular “hat”, or perspective, in which to view the decision of dropping the atomic bomb.
Allow students approximately five minutes to discuss their perspective with their group, then bring the students to a whole group. For example, the group with the "white hat" will spend five minutes making a list and discussing as many facts as they can that they know to be true about what was going on at this time during the war.
A delegate from each “hat” will be given time to share his/her group’s perspective with the class. While each group is sharing, the class will be listening to their thoughts on the decision to drop the atomic bomb, shedding new light on their perspective on why this decision was made.
After each group has had a chance to share, the teacher can have the students write a quick reflection piece on the conversation answering the following:
- If you were in charge of making the decision to drop the atomic bomb, would you? If you would not, then be sure to offer the alternative decision you would have made. Be sure to explain your thinking fully.
- How did the problem-solving process today help you as a learner?
- How did our problem-solving today help you to better understand the reasons the United States used the atomic bomb?
- How did our problem-solving today help you to better understand the consequences for using the atomic bomb?