This guest post was submitted by 3 students in Harbor House, a grade 7-8 middle school team at Williston Central School. Thank you to Elizabeth, Ava, and Abby for sharing your perspective on a recent Humanities unit of study.
We were split into different roles, it was all pretend, but the acting part of the activity really enhanced it. We split into two legal teams (prosecution and defense) of five people each. In addition, there were several witnesses that were called to the stand including a Japanese survivor, military advisers, doctors, President Truman, and some expert witnesses. The press researched newspapers and articles of 1945 and then interviewed witnesses and created a newspaper.
Each team had to research and find evidence to support their side of the trial. Each team had a different part to play and while everyone had the same amount of work to do, it looked different depending on their role. The legal teams worked on making a opening statement to present to the judge. They also had to make up questions that they would interview their witnesses with, along with questions for the opposing teams witnesses. The witnesses (Japanese survivor, doctor, President Truman, Military advisers) had to research about their roles in real life and what the role's point of view was. This helped improve the arguments on both sides.
The trial itself was like a game. One side would bring a fantastic piece of evidence and the other would try to top it off. It was intense, but in the end, we all really enjoyed this way of learning about argument writing.
Claim: I can make a claim that connects my topic to a relevant big idea
Evidence: I can use credible pieces of evidence to support my claim.
Reasoning and Analysis: I can identify and interpret explicit evidence and implicit ideas that lead the audience to a deeper understanding of how they support my claim.
Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics: I can independently apply standards of punctuation, spelling, grammar, and word use.