Teachers try new approach to learning


Nikol Slatinska

Students in Deborah Tucker’s Advanced Placement U.S. history/English studies classes are studying World War II and have an upcoming assignment to decide what would have been the best way to end the war with Japan.
To help them with their decisions, military Staff Sergeant Jason Huether came and spoke to the students last Tuesday, Jan. 19. This is the first time he and the AP U.S. Studies teachers have tried this approach.
“Mrs. Tucker asked me to come in and present the briefing assignment. She did most of the preparation, and then she sent it to me,” Huether said. “I’ve gone through and done the actual briefing itself and turned it into a military briefing.”
Huether introduced a role play assignment in which they were to act as advisors to President Truman and brief him on how he should end the war. Their project will also include research, but Huether’s simulation is designed to make them really question whether dropping the atomic bomb on Japan was a good idea by the American government.
“We thought it was a good idea to get the students involved in the actual decision-making process that took place in order to decide whether the US should drop a nuclear bomb on a country or not,” Joshua Nothom, who is in Tucker’s class, said. “We want them to think about what were the pros and cons, how many people were going to die and what was the best course of action.”
Junior Yesenia Prince liked the new approach, saying it made her really think about the situation more instead of just having to memorize facts.
“Otherwise, they would’ve just given us facts and statistics,” Prince said. “We wouldn’t actually care about the bombing and what the alternative options were.”
She liked the idea of getting to make her own decision and determining what the right thing to do was. Nothom is enthusiastic about the simulation’s effect on the students’ learning and hopes to do it again with future classes.
“We’re going to watch this closely and see how it turns out, but I think that it’s pretty exciting,” Nothom said. “The kids seem pretty interested in it right now, so I think we’ll try it again next year.”