Vietnam Day Simulation (in Process)

Now imagine that the year is 1969, and the war is raging in Vietnam. Having just turned 18, you are now required by law to register for the draft (sorry ladies, but you are also included in this draft). You realized that the country is divided over the war in Vietnam, and you understand that while many Americans strongly support the war, many others are passionately against it. You also understand that by registering for the draft, you have, approximately, a one out of three chance of being drafted. How do you feel about this situation? This activity is intended to simulate the thoughts, feelings, and process of the Vietnam draft.

Students will be assigned different roles based on different archetypes of people during the war era. They include politicians, hippies, pro-war advocates, veterans and college students.

Preparation

  1. Export all of your students contact information to an excel spreadsheet. A sample of the spreadsheet is (here)
  2. Generate all of the draft cards. I printed them on slightly heavier paper.
  3. I purchased a tie die kit off of amazon and let students bring their own shirts (here)
  4. 1 piece 1/2 inch by 20 inch strips to hold signs. (One per student)
  5. A paper grocery back (one per student)
  6. Staple Gun
  7. Contact the local VFW to let them know what we will be doing and ask if any veterans which to come and participate.

Process

Planning

  1. Give the students their draft cards. I made them all sign them.
  2. I provided each student a small piece of paper with their role ( politicians, hippies, pro-war advocates, veterans and college students)
  3. Have student research how their group responded to the war (through music, protest, art and action)
    1. Identify protest signs and chants
    2. Music
    3. Fashion

Event

I have done the event both during class and after school. Honestly it all depends on the students. I have had success and failures both ways.

  1. During the morning announcements the draft lottery numbers are announced.
  2. During the event the students either protest/burn their draft card/play music.
  3. Veterans talk about their experience with the students and I try to find individuals that are willing to talk about their protests.

Resources

1942 Font (best old typewriter font)