Lesson Plan: Questionnaire


To allow the student to critically investigate the issues surrounding the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan.


Any related science and/or history textbook. However, additional research might be required by each student to prepare their answer (See the ALSOS Digital Library for Nuclear Issues).


Dr. Farrington Daniels, the director of the Met. Lab at the University of Chicago, polled 150 scientists working on the atomic bomb, in order to get their views on how the bomb should be used. Allow the students to vote using the same questionnaire, tally the votes and announce them to the class. Begin the discussion by revealing the outcome of the Chicago petition. Have the students either begin small group discussions or write position papers on their choice. The program provides most of the information resources to answer this question. This allows the introduction of discussion of the atomic age and its consequences on a variety of fields. Conclude the lesson by re-voting.

Questionnaire Results:

This is how the scientists voted on five different methods of using the bomb are listed on the questionnaire:

  • 23 votes- Use the bombs in the manner that, from a military point of view, is most effective in bringing about prompt surrender at minimum human cost to U.S.
  • 69 votes- Give a military demonstration in Japan to be followed by renewed opportunity for surrender before full use of the weapon is employed
  • 39 votes- Give an experimental demonstration in this country, with representatives of Japan present; followed by a new opportunity to surrender before full use of the weapon is employed.
  • 16 votes- Withhold military use of the weapon, but make a public experimental demonstration of its effectiveness.
  • 3 votes- Maintain as secret as possible all developments of our new weapons and refrain from using them in this war.

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