Atomic Heritage Foundation: Petitioning Against the Bomb

Students simulate scientists involved in the protest agains the bomb.

  • “Scientists Petition the President, Leo Szilard and Other Scientists” from The Manhattan Project by Cynthia Kelly, p. 291



Assign students specific roles and have them research what their character’s position on the petition was (were they a signatory? How did they react to the presentation?).

Students simulate a meeting of Scientists presenting the petition to Oppenheimer.  Each student is assigned to represent a specific person involved in the Manhattan Project (Szilard, Oppenheimer, Groves, Teller, etc.) or a signatory to the petition (Einstein, etc.).  This exercise will have students simulating a meeting between these men to discuss the petition and its validity.  Students should all enter the simulation with the same background information, with the instructions not to research what actually happened with the petition so as to allow them to come to their own conclusions on the report.

Grade Level:

Science Topics
Nuclear Science
Social Studies Topics
Ethics, World War II
Albert Einstein, J. Robert Oppenheimer
Middle School, High School, Educator
7th Grade, 8th Grade, 9th Grade, 10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade

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