Choosing the Secret City: The Creation and Importance of Oak Ridge, TN

In 1942, the federal government launched the enormously secretive Manhattan Project. In order to safely experiment and privately expand the nation’s nuclear capabilities, five closed cities were created, one in east Tennessee: Oak Ridge. The city’s construction changed the landscape, economy, and culture in east Tennessee during World War II. Many of those changes are still visible today when comparing Oak Ridge to its neighbors.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
5.59
Describe the role of the Manhattan Project and Oak Ridge, Tennessee in ending World War II and the decision to drop the atom bomb on Japan.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.1
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.2
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.1
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text,...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze how an...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.7
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.8
Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.1
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text,...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.10
By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.7
Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), evaluating...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1
Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.5
Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.10
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience....
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.5
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.7
Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
CLE 3001.3.1
Write in a variety of modes for different audiences and purposes.
CLE 3002.3.1
Write in a variety of modes for different audiences and purposes.
CLE 3003.1.1
Demonstrate control of Standard English through grammar usage and mechanics (punctuation, capitalization, and spelling).
CLE 3003.1.2
Employ a variety of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, etymology, spelling, and usage of words and phrases.
CLE 3003.2.7
Participate in work teams and group discussions.
CLE 3003.3.1
Write in a variety of modes, with particular emphasis on persuasion, for different purposes and audiences.
CLE 3003.3.3
Organize ideas into an essay with a thesis statement in the introduction, well-constructed paragraphs, a conclusion, and transition sentences that connect...
CLE 3003.5.2
Analyze text for fact and opinion, cause/effect, inferences, evidence, and conclusions.
CLE 3003.6.1
Comprehend and summarize the main ideas of complex informational texts and determine the essential elements that elaborate them.
CLE 3003.6.3
Read, interpret, and analyze graphics that support complex informational and technical texts.
CLE 3003.7.2
Examine the agreements and conflicts between the visual (e.g., media images, painting, film, graphic arts) and the verbal.
CLE 3003.7.4
Apply and adapt the principles of written composition to create coherent media productions.
CLE 3003.8.5
Know and use appropriate literary terms to derive meaning and comprehension from various literary genres.
SPI 3001.3.14
Select the most precise word to provide clarity appropriate to audience and purpose.
SPI 3001.3.4
Select a vivid word (e.g., adjective, adverb, verb) to strengthen a written description.
SPI 3002.3.15
Select the most precise word to provide clarity appropriate to audience and purpose.
SPI 3002.3.4
Select a vivid word (e.g., adjective, adverb, verb) to strengthen a written description.
SPI 3003.1.1
Demonstrate the correct use of commas and lesser-used punctuation marks (e.g., hyphens, dashes, colons) in complex and sophisticated constructions.
SPI 3003.1.8
Choose correctly or incorrectly spelled words.
SPI 3003.2.5
Identify the rhetorical devices used in a complex speech (i.e., rhetorical questions, parallelism and repetition, analogies, hyperbole, metaphors, simile,...
SPI 3003.3.13
Identify the targeted audience for a selected passage.
SPI 3003.3.8
Choose the transitional device that appropriately connects sentences or paragraphs within a writing sample.
SPI 3003.3.9
Rearrange the order of supporting paragraphs within a writing sample given a specified organizational pattern (comparison-contrast, chronological).
SPI 3003.4.3
Evaluate the reliability and credibility of sources for use in research.
SPI 3003.5.1
Make inferences and draw conclusions based on evidence in text.
SPI 3003.5.11
Identify the main claim, premise(s), evidence, or conclusion of a given argument.
SPI 3003.5.8
Determine whether a given argument employs deductive or inductive reasoning. (NOTE: NO Check for Understanding)
TSS.ELA.11-12.L.CSE.1
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking; consider complex and contested matters of usage...
TSS.ELA.11-12.L.CSE.2
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing; when reading and writing, use...
TSS.ELA.11-12.L.VAU.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings in grades 11-12 reading and content; interpret...
TSS.ELA.11-12.RI.CS.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze how an author...
TSS.ELA.11-12.RI.IKI.7
Evaluate the topic or subject in multiple diverse formats and media.
TSS.ELA.11-12.RI.KID.1
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; support an interpretation of a text by citing and synthesizing relevant textual evidence from...
TSS.ELA.11-12.RL.CS.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific...
TSS.ELA.11-12.RL.IKI.7
Evaluate the topic, subject, and/or theme in multiple diverse formats and media, including how the version interprets the source text.
TSS.ELA.11-12.RL.KID.1
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; support an interpretation of a text by citing and synthesizing relevant textual evidence from...
TSS.ELA.11-12.SL.CC.1
Initiate and participate effectively with varied partners in a range of collaborative discussions on appropriate 11th - 12th grade topics, texts, and...
TSS.ELA.11-12.SL.PKI.5
Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.PDW.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.PDW.5
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most...
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.RBPK.7
Conduct and write short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem by...
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.RW.10
Write routinely over extended time frames and shorter time frames for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.TTP.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning supported by relevant and sufficient evidence.
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.TTP.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to analyze, synthesize, and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the...
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.TTP.3
Write narrative fiction or literary nonfiction to convey experiences and/or events using effective techniques, well-chosen details, and well-structured...
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.TTP.3
Write narrative fiction or literary nonfiction to convey experiences and/or events using effective techniques, well-chosen details, and well-structured...
US.69
Write an opinion piece evaluating the Manhattan Project, including the rationale for using the atomic bomb to end the war.
 
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
 
Learning objectives: 

The student will:

  • Make inferences based on information conveyed in an oral history.
  • Analyze topographical and historic maps of east Tennessee.
  • Form and defend an opinion on the creation and influence of Oak Ridge.
  • Analyze photographs of east Tennessee to understand changes in the region during the World War II era.
Essential and guiding questions: 

Why was Oak Ridge chosen as a Manhattan Project site? How was east Tennessee affected by the creation of the “Secret City”?

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Understanding

Helpful Hints

Materials:

  • Printed photographs (In “Resources”)
  • Image analysis form
  • Pencil/pen and paper