Standard: 54 Evaluate the constitutionality of Japanese internment during the war. (C, E, P, H) Materials

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Erica Davis 5th Grade: WWII Unit: Lesson 3

Standard: 5.54 Evaluate the constitutionality of Japanese internment during the war. (C, E, P, H)


  • Bill of Rights:

  • Article 1:

  • Article 2:

  • Propaganda Video:

Time Length: 1 hour

Pre-Requisite Information: Students should have already learned about the start of World War II and the bombing of Pearl Harbor before beginning this lesson.


  • The teacher will start the lesson by reviewing the bombing of Pearl Harbor for a few minutes to remind students of the events that took place.

  • Next the students need to be presented with the question of What do you think will happen next? Students should be given an opportunity to discuss with their shoulder partner. The students will then share out their thoughts.

  • The teacher can either show Article 2 (Focus on the Pictures first) and/or the Propaganda Video. Give the students about 3-5 minutes to write down what their thoughts are based on the article and/or video. Did they think it was fair to move people just because of their heritage? What do they think gives the government the right to move people like that? Next have the students find 3 other people to share their ideas with and hear what other students thought. They may write down the new ideas from the other 3 students.

  • Pass out article 1 and the Bill of Rights. Place students into small groups. Have each group read over the first 3 paragraphs in the article and the Amendments. Complete one of the following activities:

Group Activity 1 - Each group should determine if there was an amendment to justify why the Japanese could be legally detained during this time. If students are unable to find an amendment to back up the actions, they should then determine what the driving force was behind the internments. (Students should come to a general conclusion that most of the internment was done through a prejudice due to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and other events happening around the world during WWII. Finish reading the article to see what the final results of internment were

Group Activity 2 – Divide the class into 2 groups. Tell one side that they are to defend the internment of Japanese during WWII and to justify why this event should take place. The other groups should be against Japanese internment. They should also be able to justify why internment should not happen. After each side has had an opportunity to prepare, have the students debate Japanese internment. After the debate finish reading the article to see if internment was legal or not.

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