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BOMB: The Race to Build-and Steal- the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon Nonfiction Book Study: Documentary: White Light, Black Rain

This book study provides curated information and guided reading and assignments for the book BOMB by Steve Sheinkin

Essential Question

How did the contributions of physicists in the making of the atomic bomb affect the world as we know it?

Was it morally correct to use the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Why or Why Not?


We will watch the documentary White Light, Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

I will record notes and include my own interpretations of the impact of dropping the atomic bomb on Japan during World War II.


Map of Japan

Map of Japan

Locate Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the map. 

Discussion Questions

Answer the following questions while watching the documentary White Light, Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

0-2 mins.

1. "I do not know how the Third World War will be fought, but I can tell you what they will use in the!" What does Albert Einstein mean by the fact the Fourth World War will be fought with rocks.

2. On December 1941, Japan attacked _____________________. A day that will "live in infamy". 

3. On July 16, 1945, the United States tested the world's first ________________________ _______________________.

4. Approximately three weeks later, Japanese cities  ____________________________ and __________________________ were bombed on August 6th and 9th.

5. TPS
​THINK: Was it morally correct to use the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Why or Why Not?
​PAIR: Take turns discussing each of your perspectives. 
​SHARE: Record your answer and your partner's answer below.
​    My Response:

​    Partner Response:


Part 1 The Survivors
​10:55-17:30 mins.

1. List some stereotypes portrayed in US war propaganda newsreels about the Japanese. 

2. Explain how the Japanese people felt that they were losing the war even though their government reported to the contrary. 

3. Circle each of which Sec. of War Stimson announced the US would destroy Japan: 
​        army      civilian populations      air forces      navy      war factories      agriculture      schools     all powers to wage war


Part 2: The Bomb
​17:30- 33 mins.

1. Match the American soldier to his duty. 
​A. Morris Jeppson,                                                                   Scientific Observer  
B. Lawrence Johnson                                                               Navigator
C. Harold ​Agnew,                                                                     Pilot
​D. "Dutch" Van Kirk,                                                                 Scientific Observer
​E. Paul Tibbets,                                                                        Weaponeer

2. Alamogordo , NM: The Trinity test in July ______________  was a successful test of an atomic bomb. ​

3. Little Boy was an _________________ bomb equal to 15 kilotons. 

4. Enola Gay along with 2 other planes were sent to drop the first atomic bomb on August 6th on Hiroshima. How much drop time was given for the bomb to make land fall? _________________ seconds.

5. What observations/reactions did the Enola Gay crew have after the bomb was dropped?

6. President Truman makes a public announcement about the bombing of Hiroshima and states there were _______________ tons of TNT in the bomb. How does President Truman claim this new weapon will have on the war?

7. Fat Man was a ________________________ bomb equal to 21 kilotons dropped on Nagasaki. 

8. August ____th,the Bockscar was sent on a mission to drop the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki. 

​9. Over the next portion of the film, survivors retell what the day was like before the atomic bombs were dropped. For each city, it was an average day. Listen carefully and record the chain of events.

In Nagasaki, the air raid sounded but was later _________________________________. So everyone went on with their day.
​A 14 year old boy was digging out a bomb shelter just in case there was a possible ____________________________.
​A 16 year old boy was out on his bicycle delivering the _______________________. 
​A doctor was late for work at the ____________________________________.
​A young girl had just arrived to _________________________________.
​Another girl was changing her school  ______________________ at 8:15 a.m.
Two friends had given ________________________________ at church.
Mothers were busy putting clothes to _______ on the laundry line.
Fathers were reading the _____________________________ before work.
​Younger children home playing with ________________________.

​10. Fill-in-the-blank as survivors retell what happened when the atomic bombs were dropped. 

​Survivors could hear an airplane and see something drop from the sky. First, there was a __________________. Then everything was _______________________. Light streamed and filled and suddenly they could feel a ______________________ and where thrown into the ______________. Many were knocked unconscious. Those who saw the bomb up close were vaporized. Around the area a bright red circle/ring of ________________  formed along with a white __________________ and grew huge and _____________________________ until it touched the ring and turned into a ball of _____________. Many call it a _______________________ __________________________ and it was like a _____________________ of fire. 

Word List: flash, fire, enveloped, blast, air, fire, cloud, expanded, mushroom cloud, pillar

11. Focus on the paintings and drawings by survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. What are some of the details that stand out to you in these pictorial descriptions after the atomic bombs were dropped?

​12. Fill-in-the-blank as survivors retell what happened right after the bomb was dropped.
Everything had turned pitch _______________ and there was no ________________________. The blackness dispersed and one can see gray. Some people had their ____________ hanging out. Others were completely  __________________ with their ________________________ shredded and hanging off their bodies. People were missing arms and legs. Intestines spilling out. Brains spilling out of crushed skulls. Near ground zero bodies were black and _____________________ and burned beyond recognition. So many ______________________. 

Word List: black, skin, sound, dead, carbonized, eyes, burned, 

From 33:00-42:28 mins. Think and reflect as you listen carefully to the stories of survivors.  
13. Three-Two-One Reflection:

  • ​Write 3 points of interest that you learned from the survivor stories. ​
  • ​Write 2 facts you learned about the dropping of the atomic bomb.
  • ​Write 1 question you still have that is unanswered. (this will be your closing task and placed on a post-it note as an exit slip)