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The following activities help students better understand reactions to new technologies and the role of military installations in their own communities.

Activity 1: Decisions in Warfare
Ask your students to think about the actions of Admiral Farragut. Against all odds, he forged ahead into Mobile Bay even after losing a monitor which was thought to be "unsinkable." He ordered his fleet into perilous waters filled with torpedoes and obstructions. Have them write a paragraph that considers the balance between risk and recklessness, between courage and foolheartedness. Have them discuss their individual viewpoints with their classmates.

Activity 2: The Perils of New Military Technology
Assign students a short research paper on an advance in military technology that was controversial when first used. Submarines, flame-throwers, hand grenades, poison gas, biological weapons, and atomic bombs are examples. Make one of their objectives determining when the weapon was developed, why, and public response to its use. Students also should address the question, "Why were some weapons, submarines for example, eventually accepted while others, such as poison gas, are still considered uncivilized?"

Activity 3: Building a Fort
Divide students into small groups and ask each group to research a military installation that existed in their region. These installations might be defensive fortifications, supply depots, training facilities, or National Guard Armories. Groups should attempt to answer the following questions as they conduct their research:

  • Why was the installation located there? What was its purpose?
  • What was the most appropriate defense for protecting the installation?
  • How does its location help or hinder its defense?
  • What kind of weaponry was available to defend it? How many troops were required to defend it?
  • Did the installation fulfill its purpose? Was it ever breached by an enemy or abandoned by its original occupants?
  • How was the installation similar to or different from Fort Morgan?

Each group should take what they’ve learned to develop a poster that outlines the history and purpose of their installation. Hold a poster session for your students so they can have a chance to learn about the installations their classmates studied.

 

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