One of the things I really hoped to do upon taking the American Studies position at Emerald Ridge was to plan for some projects in which students could do some research, hone those research/writing skills and do a significant piece of writing. I've decided to take some of my extra time during this WASL week to do just that.
Students will be doing some research on the development and deployment of the atomic bomb against Japan as a prelude to writing a persuasive paper on whether the bomb should have been used or not.
I've just begun doing the research myself, and I'm showing the made for TV movie Day One from 1989 to provide some background to the chief figures and the important issues to be sorted out. I've managed to procure documents from the web from the Truman Library, the National Archives, and other sources. After reviewing the main themes-military, diplomatic, scientific and moral, I see that I still need more information, particularly military and scientific. In any case, I'm still working. It's been fun constructing the project, however.
I'm a little concerned about my students doing the work. We'll have to develop some note taking skills. I'll have a collection of printed documents in the classroom, as well as some web links, if they would prefer to view things on the computer. I haven't seen the kind of motivation many of my students will need to have to be successful. I hope they raise themselves to the challenge.