White House Decision Center at The Truman Library (Photos)

I'll be back with more on this later, but for now I wanted to share some pictures. I took my US Government class on a field trip today to the White House Decision Center at the Truman Library. We are incredibly lucky to have one of 12 presidential libraries just 25 minutes away from our school. I was lucky enough to be able to take 19 students through financial help from the Center Foundation for Education as well as a grant directly from the Truman Library.

The trip was fantastic in every way possible. I am tired and exhausted right now, but it's been a long time since I've felt this way about teaching. I saw students do things today (which I'll write about when I have more energy) that inspired me and have challenged the way that I teach once again. I haven't been this proud of my students - well, probably ever in my career.

More on this trip later. For now, enjoy some pictures of a wonderful day. To see the full album from the wonderful Mary McMurray, click here.

Students took on the roles of President Truman and his advisors. Their task was to analyze the situation in 1945 related to concluding the war with Japan. Historically, this resulted in the dropping of two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

These students decided that the atomic bombs should be a worst-case scenario solution. Before they were ready to take this route, they wanted to first pursue a naval blockade and a land invasion, followed by a round of heavy negotiation with Japanese leaders. Only after these attempts failed did the group think the atomic bombs would be worth it.

Part of the wonder of this trip was seeing kids give quick presentations (in the form of a meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee) and be held accountable. While some students presented their advice, other students took on the role of the Senators and were tasked with grilling the advisors over their recommendations. That is what you see in most of the pictures below and above.

The White House Decision Center at The Truman Library is a fantastic place to learn about history and critical leadership skills. They do a great job of making the students feel the stress of the White House.

Among the highlights of the Truman Library Museum is a life-size statue of President Truman himself! There are several selfies floating around the web now of these students with President Truman!

The Truman Library features a realistic replica of the Oval Office - the office of the President of the United States. Among many awesome facts students learned was the story behind the Presidential seal. After World War II, President Truman turned the eagle's head away from the arrows (representing war) and towards the olive branch (representing peace).
Peacetime Presidential Seal
Wartime Presidential Seal 

All in all, this was a fantastic trip and the start of a great partnership between Center High School and the White House Decision Center at The Truman Library. I'll write more later about how great this was from an educational perspective. For now, I'm going to go get some rest!

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