A Panel of Survivors
Social Studies Activity
Survival stories, whether about real people or fictional characters,
are popular because they're the stuff that daydreams are made of.
Students will find out about some heroic figures and what they have
in common with one another and with themselves by role-playing
real-life survivors in a panel discussion.
WHAT YOU NEED
- Reference materials on real-life heroic figures, such as
- Paper and pencil
- A table and chairs for the panel
- Tape recorder or video camera
WHAT TO DO
- Ask students to think about heroic figures they know and
admire. They should be people who survived great difficulties. The
hardships they faced may have been physical (such as illness or
disability), economic (such as poverty), social (such as prejudice), or
result of an emergency situation (such as flood, fire, or accident). The
survivors can be biographical figures, contemporary figures whose
exploits have been described in newspapers or other media, or a
family member. Lead the discussion to a consideration of the
these people have in common -- qualities that may have helped them
- Ask students to chose one such survivor and imagine themselves
person. Have them immerse themselves in the facts of the person's
reading his or her mini-biography or researching other examples of
figures, using encyclopedias and/or other reference sources.
- Set up a series of panel discussions for a 15-minute "radio" (audio
tape) or "television" (video camera) broadcast. Each panel should
of a moderator and at least three "survivors."
- After announcing the line-up for each panel, ask other students to
of questions they would like to ask the figures on each panel.
- As each panel appears, the moderator asks the survivors as many
questions as time allows.
- Have students, still in character, write a journal entry about
- Have students write their own mini-biographies of a heroic figure
whose attributes and accomplishments they especially admire.
who enjoy using poetic forms can write their biographies as poems.
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