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John Simkin

Assassination of JFK: Student Activities

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I have finished the first draft of my website on the Assassination of President Kennedy. There are biographies of 168 people involved in the case: Major Figures (24), Important Witnesses (40), Investigators (56) and Possible Conspirators (48). Other sections include: Organization, Issues and Reports (10) and Primary Sources: Key Issues (6). The website also looks at the possibility that different organizations such as the Mafia, CIA, FBI, Secret Service, KGB and the John Birch Society might have been involved in the planning of the assassination. Other possibilities such as anti-Castro activists, Texas oil millionaires and the Warren Commission's lone-gunman theory are also looked at.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKindex.htm

I am currently working on the student activities. Would appreciate any suggestions.

The plan is to use primary sources to study important aspects of the case. The second part will involve the students using the sources to try and find out who was behind the assassination: Mafia, KGB, the Soviet Union, Fidel Castro, John Birch Society, Texas Oil Industry, Anti-Castro Cubans, CIA or the FBI. In doing so they will be looking at the politics of the 1960s.

Students in Britain are fascinated by the Kennedy Assassination. Personally, I think it is a good idea to use this enthusiasm as a way in to look at the Cold War, a subject that they are usually less interested in.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKresearch.htm

The setting of activities obviously reflects the views of the author. I therefore would like to counteract that by inviting others to submit activities. For example, two of the most popular websites on the Assassination of Kennedy are run by people whi believe strongly in the conclusions of the Warren Commission. I will be inviting them to set activities via my website (using the materials on their websites). I think this could be an interesting development.

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I proposed this activity on another thread in this forum.

Have you considered trying to design webquests as part of your student activities? In your case you may have provided too many resources for an off site web quest but you create a wonderful and contained environment for them.  I am relatively new to webquests and love the idea of them but have yet to try to use a free form one. I do have access to a mobile pc lab to use fro my classes.

From looking at your material, one thing I might do with our lab on your site would be to ask my students to rank the assassination theories from most to least credible and provide reasoning as to the order.

Time being short in my classes I would probably ask for a top three list or a most believable and least believable scenario and ask for solid reasoning behind any ranking assigned. (Spellcheck arriving soon? :o  :unsure: )

Edited for a misspelling of the word spellcheck. LOL

Also to add.

I have forty five minute classes, if I do an exercise on this I will have to confine the activity more than I listed above (although they would work if I was to expect the effort to be homework as well.

I am thinking of trying it out this Friday because I am unlikely to get much done and I am presently on the 1960s in the US in my course.

I would have to make the students:

Pick a theory or be assigned one

Make a document that explains the basic theory.

Pick the most credible piece of supporting evidence (quote and or explain)

Pick the least credible piece of supporting evidence (quote and or explain)

Cut and paste some bio information from a key player they had heard of

Cut and paste some bio information from a key player they had not heard of

Make a brief conclusion about the theory

Then turn it in at the end of class (as long as the printer is working I guess.

It would be a race, but I think I could expect this much work.

I was quite happy with how it turned out in class. My 12 grade class was able to complete the assignment and put in some reasonably thoughtful comments. We have a mobile portable computer lab at our school that comes with a printer. With this all of the assignments were printed out before the students left class.

For me it turned out to be the perfect one class activity.

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