Education Technology

NCSS: The Events Behind the Decision

Published on 07/19/2006

Activity Overview

Students will discuss President Truman?s decision to use the atomic bomb to force the surrender of Japan during World War II. They will evaluate and create a timeline of several key events that had an impact on that decision.

Before the Activity

See the attached Activity PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity.

Print the appropriate pages from the Activity for your class.

Install the TImeSpan(tm) App on the students' graphing calculators following the attached instructions.

Provide reference materials (textbook or Internet connections) that students can use to read about the events to be included in the timeline. The more reference materials that the students can access, the more complete and detailed their timelines should be.

During the Activity

  • Distribute the appropriate pages from the Activity to your class
  • Follow the procedures outlined in the Activity


  • Students will:
  • Use chronology, sequencing, and patterns to examine interpretations of an event.
  • Evaluate conflicting sources and materials in the interpretation of a historical event or episode.
  • Evaluate President Truman's decision to use the atomic bomb.
  • Analyze the validity and reliability of primary source information and appropriate uses of information.
  • After the Activity

    Once all students have submitted their timelines to the teacher, use TI-Presenter(tm) or another overhead projector connected to the teacher's PC to display the different timelines and discuss each event in chronological order. This is a good opportunity to discuss the impact of each event on the U.S. decision to use the atomic bomb. Introduce the debate over the use of the atomic bomb.