World War II

"Dear Teacher": Letters on the Eve of the Japanese American Imprisonment

--Yoon Pak
Historical background and lesson ideas using primary source: short compositions written by American middle school students of Japanese descent as requested by their principal, Mr. Sears, in Seattle Washington on December 8, 1941 and then again in March, 1942. (Two handouts included.)

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a pdf of about 1.0 MB. See pp. 10-15.   --> read more »


A World War II Oral History Project for Eighth Graders

--Thomas E. Gray
This issue of MLL also includes "Wandering Behind: Talking About Pearl Harbor" by Daniel J. Ferri; "Oral History Research: Internet Resources and Reports" by Margaret Hill; and Barbara J. Holt's review of a WWII topical book--'Faithful Elephants.'

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a pdf of about 1.0 MB:


A Century of Veterans: Researching History Through Our Local Cemetery

--Lindsey B. Downey
Third graders research the memorials in the cemetery in the town of Otterbein, Ohio, and write tributes in response.


Reflecting on the Great Black Migration by Creating a Newspaper

--Angela Hines
Students in third and fourth grade use historical fiction and primary source materials to create their own classroom newspaper about a historical era.


Hiroshima: A City with Peace as Its Purpose

--Donna Nesbitt
After reading the children's book "Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes," students can visit the website of Peace Park in Hiroshima and fold a paper crane as an introduction to "discussing issues of war and peace in today's world."


Displaced Children in U.S. History: Stories of Courage and Survival

--Brenda Betts
A brief survey of four major U.S. migrations of homeless children: the Cherokee Trail of Tears; the Underground Railroad; the Orphan Train Riders; and the One Thousand Children program (during the Holocaust). Includes brief accounts from four children.


Eugenics Past and Present: Remembering [em]Buck v. Bell[/em]

--Michael J. Berson and Bárbara C. Cruz
The seventy-fifth anniversary of the Buck v. Bell case is an appropriate time for students to explore the ethical questions underlying eugenics principles, policies, and practices—from Nazi Germany’s sterilization laws to the Human Genome Project.


Primarily, It’s Serendipity (Teaching with Documents)

--James A. Percoco
The correspondence between a baseball commissioner and President Franklin Roosevelt offers a creative approach to teaching World War II during baseball season.


Connecting with the Past (Teaching with Documents)

--Lee Ann Potter
History becomes much more than past events and important dates, when students investigate the subtle clues buried in primary sources: Battle of Gettysburg map (1863); Yeager's letter about his flight of the XS-1 (1947); Manhattan Project letter (1945).


The Flag and Freedom

--Jolene Chu and Donna P. Couper
In 1935, two Jehovah’s Witness school children refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, a battle they took all the way to the Supreme Court. Sixty years later, the role of the Pledge of Allegiance in our nation’s schools remains a hotly debated issue.

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