Students role-play 19th-century ideas of 'What America Needs'

Feb 24, 2020
Students at Belfast Area High School role-play 19th century industrialists or social reformers.

Belfast — Belfast Area High School students in Chip Lagerbom's AP-U.S. History class recently researched and role-played 19th century industrialists or social reformers. They had to come up with and defend their person’s idea of “What America Needs…or Needs to Do."

Personalities researched and role-played included William Torrey Harris, Andrew Carnegie, Margaret Sanger, John D. Rockefeller, Jane Addams, William Graham Sumner, Amos Bronson Alcott, J.P. Morgan, William Jennings Bryan, Andrew W. Mellon, Robert LaFollette, Cornelius Vanderbilt, W.E.B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, Eugene V. Debs, John Fiske, Dorothea DIx, Jay Gould, Lucretia Mott, and William Randolph Hearst.

Students used the speed-dating format to introduce, explain or defend their point of view. They had 90 seconds to interact, present and convince the other character of their way of thinking. On a scorecard, they then decided whether their person would agree or disagree and why.

"A spirited discussion was had and all students did a great job!" Lagerbom said. The U.S. AP exam will be administered May 8.

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