This lesson builds on our popular Lunchroom Fight activity. While the first Lunchroom Fight focuses specifically on sourcing, this lesson requires students to evaluate evidence by sourcing, contextualizing, and corroborating different eyewitness accounts. This lesson introduces historical thinking skills through engaging students to build a case for who started a fight in the lunchroom.

Image: Photo of Virginia high school cafeteria taken by Philip Bonn in 1943. From the Library of Congress.


As an opener I showed the illusion picture of a young lady and an old lady. Some students could identify the young lady and others the old lady. It was a great opener to show how there could be different perspectives of the same event.
While I think this lesson touches on great skills, I was wondering if their was a version or way to make the background story a little more positive? Scenes like fights and one student's parent firing the other's seem a bit negative to bring into the classroom, especially with middle schoolers. Again great lesson, but how can the storyline be modified?
Hey Jwalker1967, do you think you could share your questions on eye witness accounts and the video you showed to your class?
I taught the whole of this unit and it was a great way to start the year! Interestingly, when it came to completing the suspension report, 90% of my students did not believe that either student should be suspended. They believed there should be a consequence plus a session where they both sit down and discuss their issues with one another. I work at a Catholic Secondary School in New Zealand (most NZ schools have a restorative justice policy) so I'm intrigued if this compassion is a NZ thing or a Catholic School thing! I'm going to edit accordingly for next year, as the summative task failed to actually assess students' ability to weigh up the validity of evidence.
I taught the Lunchroom Fight, Evaluating Sources, and Lunchroom II in that order with my sixth graders, and it was GREAT! The kids were very engaged in the activity and made the connection to studying history, especially in the context of evaluating primary sources. As a pre-activity, I showed a two-minute clip of a random Nickelodeon TV show at the beginning of class, then 20 minutes later asked 10 questions about what the characters were wearing, what they said, etc. It was very helpful later when we looked at eyewitness statements and I could tie it back to their own faulty memories. The whole sequence taught them a great set of critical thinking tools that they will be able to use all year.
I used this lesson, along with Lunch Fight I, on the 2nd day of this new school year. I truly enjoyed working on this with my students. One student came up to me after class and said that she liked the activity because it was a good way to think about history! I think many of my students realized that they can and often use the skills of a historian.
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