Middle School Social Studies News: April 2013
Our current unit on Guatemala is as much about psychology as it is about history and culture. I am interested in seeing how students respond to limited information. My intention is for them to begin to understand that historical – and current – events are often multifaceted and that it’s essential that we, as good citizens, seek out information from a variety of sources in order to understand the event. To do so, I presented them with a very biased slideshow explaining the United States’ involvement in a coup in Guatemala in 1954. They had to respond by writing a persuasive essay explaining whether or not they felt the overthrow was justified. Then they were presented with the other side of the story and had to an opportunity to adjust their opinions. In addition to getting them thinking about biases, they were required to support their arguments with evidence. These activities will lead to a debate in the middle of the month – one in which students will take on a role and argue from that perspective. Look for the essays and videos of the debates at the Curriculum Celebration.