Wwii: Significant Events and Effects of World War II

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WWII: Significant Events and Effects of World War II

10th grade

U.S. History

Scotti Ostwald

This two week teaching unit will focus on significant events of WWII including the factors leading up to war, Pearl Harbor, Japanese internments camps, the Holocaust, the Blitz, women’s roles during war time and more. Students will learn how to analyze and interpret important historical events as well as compare and contrast the past to the present. The goals of this unit plan will include evaluating the impact of the war on different cultures and social groups, examining the use of propaganda and its effects on societies, addressing the issue of human rights, investigating the past interactions of countries and how they relate to foreign relations today and examining the lasting effects of the war. Peripheral issues that will be addressed include racism, gender roles and personal accounts of war. The methodologies that will be incorporated include group work, class discussion, body-kinesthetic movement, role-play, the use of visual aides, student reflection and other student-centered activities. Bloom’s taxonomy and Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences will also be incorporated into the unit. The Great Depression will precede this unit and it will be followed by a unit on the Cold War. This Unit will also address the standards set forth by the National Council for Social Studies (NCSS) and the National Center for History (NCH) in schools.

The NCSS created a set of ten thematic standards in order to provide leadership, service and support for all social studies educators. These strands were created by a board of directors made up of university professors and secondary and elementary educators, and outlines what secondary students should know in the social studies field. Each standard will be addressed in one or more lessons and are defined below. These standards were created in an effort guide teachers in their instruction of a relevant course of study and to remain consistent with the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which ensures students receive a well-rounded curriculum in the social sciences.

The National Standards for History were developed by the National Center for History in the Schools under the guidance of the National Council for History Standards. These standards were developed with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the US Department of Education. These standards are divided into ten different eras that are relevant for grades 5-12. Each era is broken down into a set of standards. Each standard includes specific historical concepts, issues and events that should be covered in the school curriculum.

This unit will focus on Era 8, The Great Depression and World War II and Standard 3, the causes and course of World War II, the character of the war at home and abroad and its reshaping of the U.S. role in world affairs. Following are the definitions of each NCSS strand and NCHS standard. I’ve included an explanation of how each lesson covers a specific strand or standard.

NCSS Thematic Strands

  1. Culture: an anthropological examination that demonstrates an ever-changing system of values, traditions and beliefs that helps define a group of individuals

  • Lessons five, seven and nine will address this strand. Lesson five addresses the way in which Jewish culture was and still is affected by the Holocaust. Lesson seven addresses the way in which Japanese-American culture was affected by the internment camps they were forced to locate to during WWII. Finally, lesson ten deals with the short- and long-term effects of the many roles that women took on during the war.

  1. Time, Continuity and Change: the course of historical events which ultimately leads to an identity and helps form the present.

  • Lessons one, two and four will address this strand. Lessons one and two focus on the events which led up to the outbreak of WWII and the significant events that took place during the course of war. Lesson three focuses on Pearl Harbor and addresses how the country was affected by the attack.

  1. Peoples, Places and Environments: the geographical interactions among humans, locations and habitat and how they affect each other.

    • A number of lessons will meet this strand including one, two, four and seven. Lessons one and two focus on the interactions of the countries involved in WWII before, during and after the war. Lesson four addresses why Pearl Harbor was a key geographic location for the Japanese. Finally, Lesson seven focuses on the forced relocation of American citizens because of their Japanese ethnicity.

  1. Individual Development and Identity: the psychological understanding of individuals that explores how one learns, perceives and grows within different contexts.

  • Lesson ten will be linked to this strand. This lesson focuses on the experience of the nuclear bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. Students will read excerpts of personal accounts of the attack from the book Hiroshima and will be able to compare and contrast how different individuals react in different ways. Lesson five will address this strand as well by focusing on the way in which Jews were treated during the Holocaust and its lasting effects.

  1. Individuals, Groups and Institutions: the sociological study of how individuals organize themselves into civic institutions around needs, beliefs and/or interests

  • Lesson five will fit in with this strand. Students will research the role of women during WWII. Women took on a number of jobs normally held by men out of necessity during wartime.

  1. Power, Authority and Governance: the study of how a government protects or inhibits the rights of civic institutions while maintaining a just or unjust society

  • Lesson three will focus on propaganda and the role that it played throughout WWII. Students will examine how the governments used propaganda to enforce their agenda to their citizens. Lessons one, five and seven will all deal with the governmental oppression of a specific group of people based on race.

  1. Production Distribution and Consumption: the economic study of how individuals and groups determine why and what commodities are produced and how they are distributed and consumed.

  • Lesson nine will fit in nicely with this strand as it deals with the way in which goods were produced during wartime. Women played a much bigger role during WWII than they had before, and students will present a number of ways in which the distribution and consumption of goods were affected by the war.

  1. Science Technology and Society: the benefits and disadvantages of science and technological advances and their effects on society

  • Lessons six, eight and ten all deal with the advancement of weapons that were used during WWII. Students will learn about these different advances of warfare and will contemplate their effects on society.

  1. Global Connections: understanding global issues connecting patterns and relationships within and among world cultures including war and peace, human rights, world trade, global decisions, interactions and consequences.

  • Every lesson in my unit plan addresses this strand as human rights, war and peace, global decisions and interactions and consequences all played a major role in WWII. Specifically, lessons one and two will focus on the causes and consequences of the war. Lessons five and seven focus on issues concerning human rights by having students research the Holocaust and Japanese internment camps.

  1. Civic Ideals and Practice: analysis of a variety of public policies and issues from the perspective of formal and informal political actors, including citizenship, public policy, forms of government, rights and responsibilities and public concern for an issue.

  • Lessons three, five, six and seven will address this strand. Lesson three focuses on the propaganda that was used during the war to illicit certain public reactions. Lesson six will focus on the blitz and how the US was affected by the propaganda surrounding the event. Lesson seven focuses on Japanese internment camps and addresses the issue of citizenship and the rights that Japanese-Americans were denied during the war.

Era 8: The Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945)

Standard 3: The causes and course of World War II, the character of the war at home and abroad, and its reshaping of the U.S. role in world affairs.
Standard 3A

The student understands the international background of World War II. 

  • Lesson one focuses on this specific standard. Before addressing the actual events of WWII, it will be important for students to understand the background of the war. Students will create a timeline of world events that led up to war and will identify those countries that fought on the Allied side and those who fought on the Axis.

Standard 3B
The student understands World War II and how the Allies prevailed. 

  • Lessons two, four, eight and ten all deal with significant battles or attacks of WWII. These include Pearl Harbor, D-Day and the nuclear attack on Japan. Students will further examine why these events were significant and what their short- and long-term effects were on both the individuals who were involved and the country as a whole.

Standard 3C
The student understands the effects of World War II at home. 

  • Lessons three, four, six, seven and nine will fulfill this standard. Issues addressed in these lessons include the use of propaganda by the U.S. government (including the effects of the Blitz on the U.S.), the effects of Pearl Harbor, Japanese internment camps in the U.S. and how women were directly affected as a result of the war.

Week One, Lesson 1-5

      1. The causes of WWII: Students will research the various causes of WWII create a timeline of the events that led up to war. Understanding the events that caused the war is essential in understanding the events of WWII itself.

      2. The major events of WWII: Students will be introduced to the significant events that occurred during WWII. Students will create maps of different countries in order to become familiarized with the reasons behind which countries fought on the Allied side and which fought on the Axis side.

      3. Propaganda used during wartime: Students will analyze propaganda posters used during the war and will be asked to contemplate the use of propaganda in today’s world.

      4. Pearl Harbor: This lesson will focus on the short- and long-term effects of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Students will research different aspects of Pearl Harbor and compare and contrast the attack with 9/11.

      5. Holocaust: Students will use visual artifacts to role-play the events that occurred during the Holocaust. They will be asked to make connections from past to present by comparing and contrasting the Holocaust and the situation in Darfur.

Week Two, Lesson 6-10

      1. Blitz: Students will recreate a bomb shelter and view images and sounds that accompany the Blitz. They will examine propaganda that was aimed at the US in order to illicit the help of the country.

      2. Japanese Internment Camps: Students will put themselves into the role of Japanese-Americans who are about to be relocated. They will read letters written by Japanese-American students at the time and write their own.

      3. D-Day: Students will watch a film which re-creates the events of D-Day. They will listen to personal accounts of the events and write their own reflections.

      4. Women in Wartime: Students will conduct internet research to investigate the various roles that women took on during WWII. They will then use this information to create a skit to present to the class.

      5. Hiroshima: Students will role-play the characters from the book Hiroshima. They will have been compiling a list of questions for today’s “hot seat” activity and will interview their classmates in their role-playing character.

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