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Lesson Plan of the Month: Matt Fox on Problem Solving

Matt adapted this plan from a lesson that he had in high school, and the situation and profiles of the people were found at:

Subject: Psychology/History Grade Level: 12th

Topic: Nuclear Warfare in the 20th Century

Relationship to Ohio Academic Standards:

Benchmark A; OH-SS.11-12.1.A - Explain patterns of historical continuity and change by challenging arguments of historical inevitability.

Benchmark B; OH-SS.12.2.B.4 - Evaluate the effectiveness of international governmental organizations (e.g., United Nations, European Union, World Court and Organization of American States), multinational corporations, and nongovernmental organizations (e.g., Amnesty International, Red Cross and World Council of Churches) in the global arena.

Performance Objectives:

1. Students will use problem solving and cooperation skills when working together to come to a decision over an issue that does not have a right or wrong answer.

2. Students will use analyze other students choices in comparison with their own. Opening: Show students a picture of the leaders of the G8. Discuss that nuclear warfare has been a constant threat and this group has a vital role in what will be done with it. Transition this into a picture of a doomsday clock and proceed to give the history and importance of the doomsday clock. This includes today’s time, the closest time in history, the farthest time in history, and finally the time at the Cuban missle crisis. Transition: Use the time at the Cuban Missle Crisis into reading the artificial story where the two great powers went to nuclear war over that key point in time.

Story: It’s October 16, 1962. One week earlier, the rising tensions built up during the Cuban missile crisis led to all out nuclear war with every country in the world involved. The first attacks completely destroyed most of earth’s major cities. The first two days radio and remaining television broadcasts reported a substantial loss of most of earth’s population. Over the last four days the number of broadcasts has dwindled down to zero including the total annihilation of most of Earth's population. You have banded with a group of twelve other people and have made it too a fallout shelter that can sustain life while nuclear winter and radiation harms the surface. From what you know this group of people are the last living in the world or at least in your part of it. Upon looking into the hideout shelter you come across a major dilemma. There is room for twelve people, but not enough water and other supplies to keep them all alive for the time needed for the atmosphere to clear up. To survive, the people must stay inside the fallout shelter for at least three months. The problem is that if all of them stay in the shelter, all of them will starve to death or dehydrate. There are enough supplies in the shelter for seven people (besides yourself) to live.

1. Hand out worksheet and clearly read directions at the top of it to students.

2. Have students work individually to come up with their seven surviviors.

a. When a student is finished have them pair with 2-3 other students who are finished.

3. This new group is required to debate and agree upon seven survivors

a. Do the same till you get 4-5 groups of students (depends on class size)

4. When a group has reached a consensus, have them read you their seven and write it on board.

a. Separate groups by colors if possible, and put each group’s seven survivors up on board.

5. Bring the entire class together. Circle all names that show up in each of the group’s. Work to try and get entire class to agree on seven survivors.

a. Have one group at a time present why they chose the person they did.

b. Ask others if they agree, if not; why?

c. Work this way to you get seven or cannot reach an agreement.

Closure: Finish by explaining that the leaders of the world have to face difficult situations where there may be no right or wrong answer. The importance of negotiation and compromise is very important in serious world affairs. Materials (see worksheet below) – Student worksheet; Paper with story on it; Powerpoint and slides with pictures of g8 and doomsday clock.