Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hastings debate

I'm sometimes asked to review other people's work, usually written, but this month I was asked to review something different: a debate. Eighth grade history teacher Eric Langhorst of Liberty, Missouri, divided his third-period class into two sections and showed them Ric Burns' documentary, after which the two teams debated whether or not Lansford W. Hastings was responsible for the Donner Party disaster. I listened to an MP3 of the debate received via e-mail (a podcast of the debate will soon be available at and e-mailed Mr. Langhorst my comments. As usually happens, the pro-Hastings and anti-Hastings sides both made some excellent points and some errors, but in spite of their limited exposure to the subject I think the students did a pretty good job.

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