Essential Questions: Do the benefits of technology outweigh its cost? Is nuclear technology a form of protection or destruction?
This lesson contains six documents and prepares students for a discussion on nuclear weapons across history. Rooted in if Truman was justified in dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and stemming out to modern day threats, and if they are a force of protection or destruction.
Socratic Seminars are one of my favorite methods of instruction because its is student facilitated discussion in its truest form. Although some teachers are hesitant to try, most of the time it is because of improper preparation/training on how to conduct one.
I typically do one seminar a month at least, and while at first my students were uncomfotable with the idea, they now always ask when we start a new unit when we are doing another seminar! I love it because, as a teacher of both students with and without special needs, it allows ALL students to have a voice, especially those who struggle to express themselves in writing.
Socratic Seminars are usually critiqued because they do not provide teachers with quantitative data, but what some teachers fail to see is the authentic qualitative data it presents.
This seminar is a two day lesson that was designed to be conducted at the end of World War II. Each document ends with students responding to scaffolded questions that will prepare students for the seminar on day two. They take home the documents on day one to study, and are expected to come prepared to have an open forum the next day.
The lesson provides seminar guidelines as well as rubrics for students that may not want to actively participate in the discussion. Those students, who can be grouped by choice or based on who you as educators see as non verbal participants, will be assigned an active speaker to critique throughout the seminar (I began this method with my students at the beginning of the year but now most, if not all, students participate!)
This lesson consists of documents for day one, guidelines, a rubric, and sample questions to ask during the seminar. However, as teachers, I have found that the best form of questioning stems from student generated thoughts. The lesson was designed as a cumulative way to wrap up the concept of nuclear technology after students study the devastation of the atomic bomb, and will provide teachers with feedback as to who met and did not meet the units objectives.