Thursday, March 24, 2011

HS Students Hungry For History?

Normally people would see that and say... "uh, not a chance!" and I don't really blame them. I learned far more about history and military history from reading books on my own than I did in any history class I took. However, I'm confident that the reason that most HS kids don't like history is that most of the books... well suck.

I say this for two reasons based on my own observations. The first reason is that when I do a mini lesson on big historical events like 9/11/01 or Pearl Harbor the kids always eat it up. Both days I got great written responses and comments from the kids about how they learned something that day. The second reason is that I have this tendency to put historic WWII aircraft on my desktop and when I project them on the screen 'by accident' I always get questions about the plane and it's historic importance.

The first one I did was a P-38 Lightning, my personal favorite. The P-38 Lightning was made famous when it shot down Admiral Yamamoto and America's top ace Richard Bong (40 Kills) flew a P-38. It was fast and had it's 4 .50 caliber machine guns and 1 20mm cannon in the nose for a very concentrated blast of firepower. Can you say 'swiss cheese'? I knew you could. It's extremely long range made it perfect for the Pacific Theater in WWII.
After having that image on my desktop for a while I then found a picture of a P-47 Thunderbolt with the bubble canopy that is currently gracing my desktop. I always forget just how flipping big that airplane is, and I don't know about you but I'd rather not get in the way of it's eight .50 caliber machine guns! The 'Jug' as it was called was also great at attacking ground targets as well as taking on enemy fighters. Another interesting thing about both of them is that they used superchargers to maximize their performance.

If only the history teachers could actually add things like this into their curriculum and not worry about offending anyone. War is part of history and when students get to see images like this it piques their curiosity and then you have them. I'm not sure what will grace my desktop yet, I'm thinking about either a B-25 Mitchell or maybe the B-17 Flying Fortress. All I know is that I'm glad to give them a bit of history in addition to literature.

I also linked the photos to the original sites so you can see the bigger images and to give them their due. Taking a ride on a war bird like those is totally on my bucket list!