This is our cry,
This is our prayer;
peace in the world.
-The inscription on the base of the Sadako Sasaki statue at the Hiroshima Peace Park
The 8th grade has been studying the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan to end the Second World War. Students read information texts giving context for the Manhattan Project and the decision to use the weapon after it was tested. Then they analyzed both primary and secondary source materials looking at the differing perspectives of how this event is remembered. Students were assigned one perspective and were asked to justify that perspective to their group. Groups then created a poster looking at both sides and we held a galley walk looking at all of the information presented in the posters. Students then responded to the prompt on their own, using text evidence from the sources to support their answers.
I read aloud the children’s book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr to the 8th grade, given that the students had more context for understanding the story after our unit of study. We looked at images of the Atomic Dome and the Children’s Peace Memorial in Hiroshima and discussed the purpose of memorials and monuments, as well as the use of symbolism to communicate history and emotion. We looked at images of memorials and monuments both within the U.S. as well as abroad. Students then made and hung origami cranes in the classroom (thanks to Mrs. G and Emilie Marshall for their origami know-how!) as symbols of peace.
The next step will be our ‘Memory Will Save Humanity’ project. Inspired by the famous quote of Elie Wiesel, students will conduct research on one aspect of the WW2 time period that they think is important to remember and pass on. Their research will turn into an informational essay as well as a memorial of their own design. We will have an opportunity for parents to come see the memorials when they are completed and put on display. Stay tuned!