Teacher's Guide: Hints for the Active Learning Questions
Useful data can be found at the Statistical Abstract of the United States, published by the Census Bureau; this Web page contains a helpful "Mini Historical Statistics" feature. Students may find 1960 to be a more convenient starting point than 1959 in terms of availability of data.
While Castro is still alive, "reporters" will have to make an educated guess about conditions in Cuba at the time of Castro's death: will power pass smoothly to his brother Raul, will the government collapse, etc.? If a videocamera is available, you might have students play the role of television reporters and have them suggest ideas for visuals (footage of Castro as a revolutionary, newspaper headlines from the Cuban Missile Crisis, and so on).
Students may gain a better appreciation of why this issue has been so controversial if they do not select the statement they agree with personally.
A good starting point for information on the examples listed here is the Background Notes on these countries at the U.S. State Department Web site.
Before beginning the activity, you may want to hold a class discussion on the issue of repressive governments taking power after revolutions. See if students can describe revolutions where this has happened (such as the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia) or has not happened (such as the American Revolution or Czechoslovakia's "Velvet Revolution").
Students should note that in the specific tables on the United Nations Web site, countries are ranked according to their overall rating on the human development index, not their rating on that specific indicator (which appears to the right of the country name).
If the appropriate hardware and software are available, students should be encouraged to create their graphs electronically. You might choose to create a common format for all graphs and assemble them into a computer "slide show."
Students should be reminded to express the opinion of the person they have chosen, not their own opinion. Students who choose Roosevelt may wish to consult The Rough Riders, his account of his time in Cuba during the Spanish-American War.
Before beginning, you should agree on a year for this mock debate so that groups do not refer to foreign involvements that have not yet occurred. In order to argue their case effectively, both groups will need to learn about the main issues involved in the conflicts they refer to, such as the goals of the opposing sides.