Michael Naragon, a history teacher at Winchester Thurston in Shadyside, teaches a class of ninth graders on Monday, Feb. 6, 2017. The lesson included a discussion on Cesar Chavez, a prominent labor organizer in the 1950s and 1960s. (Photo by Aaron Warnick/PublicSource)

Michael Naragon, a history teacher at Winchester Thurston in Shadyside, teaches a class of ninth graders on Monday, Feb. 6, 2017. The lesson included a discussion on Cesar Chavez, a prominent labor organizer in the 1950s and 1960s. (Photo by Aaron Warnick/PublicSource)

When Michael Naragon explains complicated topics to his high school history classes, he likes to use a seemingly absurd phrase: “Consider the lobsters.”

The phrase is a reference to a famous essay-review penned by writer David Foster Wallace in the Gourmet magazine on the Maine Lobster Festival, where the sea creatures are cooked alive for the tastiest meals.

Wallace’s article looks at the ethical dilemma of eating the red crustaceans. But for Naragon’s ninth graders at Winchester Thurston, “consider the lobsters” is a challenge — to look at lesson topics from both perspectives, as the boiling lobster and as the hungry tourist.

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