Hiroshima Perspective Curriculum Unit

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Jane Shamitko
Physics Teacher
Trinity High School
May 2011
I found this unit to very comprehensive resource of activities which allow students to develop their own opinion on the ethics of the Hiroshima bombing, and to explore it from both the American and Japanese perspective. The unit consists of 8 small group activities and whole class activities. I was fascinated by the selection of material - historical documents written by Henry Truman, Japanese comic books and extraordinary pictures.
The recommended time period for this unit is 1-2 class periods per activity, which mean that this could be covered in two weeks. They did say that teachers could choose to do all of the activities or only 1of 2 of them, however I feel that only a few of the activities (perhaps the ones on analyzing U.S. and Japanese Poetry, U.S. and Japanese commemorative stamps, or comparing U.S. and Japanese comic books) can be eliminated if your objective is to have students make critical decisions on the effects of the bomb on both cultures, Japan and America.
Parts of this unit could be used in other classes to just give a glimpse of the effects of the bombing of Hiroshima on both countries- for example in an English class , to compare the Japanese and American poetry of that time period or Biology to analyze the radiation effects on the survivors.
As a Physics teacher, I haven’t the time to devote to the historical perspectives of the atomic bomb (I explain the physics behind it). However, I feel that it is important for scientists and engineers to understand the ethics of scientific research. I would perhaps then assign this as a student based project (i.e. debate, pro/con papers) and allow them to use the materials in the unit as a resource
One thing I didn’t like about this unit is the use of slides. This is not user friendly for my classroom. However, I looked at the newest catalog from SPICE and I understand that there is now a CD available to replace the slides.
There are no quizzes or tests with this unit- only the handouts. However, these can be reproduced for the classroom.