A useful activity for differentiated learning within a single classroom. Students are assigned roles in the Cuban Missile Crisis decision-making process, and subsequently read the minutes from actual meetings to craft a memo advising President Kennedy on a proper course of action. More detailed instructions are available below.
Students will be split into predetermined groups (based on range of ability level). Most students will be placed into pairs, but students assigned to General Taylor will consist of a group of three or four, and students assigned to Secretary McNamara will consist of a group of four (based on length of excerpt). Students will have five minutes to read the excerpts, and three minutes to discuss the excerpt with their partner or group. Students in larger groups will be instructed to split the reading in half and coordinate with members of the group to obtain the complete meaning. Students will then have four minutes to individually complete their memos. After twelve minutes in small groups, the teacher will direct the class back together. The teacher will ask one representative from each group to share the recommendation of their member of the National Security Council, and highlight that individual’s major reservations with other potential courses of action