TeachersFirst's Pearl Harbor and World War II Resources

Other TeachersFirst Special Topics Collections

This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students honor Pearl Harbor Day and the important events of World War II through related projects and classroom activities. Whether you focus on Pearl Harbor for one class or spend an entire unit on World War II or the Holocaust, the ideas included within the "In the Classroom" portion of reviews will launch discussions and meaningful projects for student-centered learning. Take your classes beyond infamy to inspiration. 

 

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Echoes of War: Stories from the Big Red One - Ball State University

Grades
8 to 12
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"The War," the PBS series by Ken Burns on World War II, has provided teachers with a fabulous new resource for teaching this time period. This site focuses on ...more
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"The War," the PBS series by Ken Burns on World War II, has provided teachers with a fabulous new resource for teaching this time period. This site focuses on one component--the 1st Infantry Division, or "The Big Red One,"-- and its role during that war. The site includes close-ups of artifacts, interviews with soldiers, a Flash-enabled video gallery featuring historical footage, and a great Q & A style quiz on tactics and weapons.

tag(s): veterans (19), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

This site will be useful on a number of "fronts." Provide a link to this site for students who are doing research on World War II. Use the documentary footage to introduce a lesson or to provide visual impact. Use the highlighted artifacts (projected on a screen or whiteboard) to give a cultural or anthropological slant to a discussion of the war. The soldiers' stories might provide inspiration for students to interview local veterans (perhaps from WWII, but more likely from Vietnam or more recent Middle East conflicts), or could prepare a class for a guest speaker.
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The Home Front - Snaith Primary School

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6 to 9
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This British website looks at life in London during World War II, with a focus on the Blitz. Written with younger students in mind, the site is easy to ...more
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This British website looks at life in London during World War II, with a focus on the Blitz. Written with younger students in mind, the site is easy to navigate and highlights the difficulty of rationing, living in fear of German bombing and the need for the entire family to contribute to the war effort. Middle School teachers planning lessons on World War II will find good resources here. Students may be amused by the subtle differences between British terminology and American English. The writing style is youth-oriented, and may be help U.S. students get a feeling for what it might be like to live in a war zone.

tag(s): england (57), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Assign students to navigate the site with a partner on laptops or in a lab, making a list of things that changed for the people at home in Britain during the war. Have them orally share "surprises" they discovered about the experience or write a "blog entry" from the point of view of a Brit during the war.

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September 11,2001 documentary project - Library of Congress

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7 to 12
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From the Library of Congress' American Memory project, this site links to a large collection of audio, video, text, and artwork related the events of September 11, 2001. Users ...more
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From the Library of Congress' American Memory project, this site links to a large collection of audio, video, text, and artwork related the events of September 11, 2001. Users can search by media, by topic or by title.

tag(s): new york (26), sept11 (21), terrorism (49)

In the Classroom

This site would be most useful to students doing research on the 9/11 attacks, but also could provide teachers with supplemental material for a lesson on the events of that date. Although teachers will remember the day vividly, most students were young enough when it occurred that their memories will be clouded. Another use for this site is as an example of the power and necessity of primary sources in documenting any event. Compare these resources to accounts we have of Pearl Harbor and other major events as you ask student to conduct an interviewing project of their own, perhaps of local history.

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Teaching about Japanese-American Internment - ERIC

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9 to 12
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ERIC was a government-sponsored clearinghouse for educational resources that has recently lost funding. This site maintains some of the files from the ERIC database, and in this case,...more
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ERIC was a government-sponsored clearinghouse for educational resources that has recently lost funding. This site maintains some of the files from the ERIC database, and in this case, focuses on resources relative to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. It includes some very helpful suggestions for explaining this process to students and placing it in a larger context of civil rights, immigration, and the study of World War II.

tag(s): civil rights (117), japan (61), japanese (42), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Teachers have to walk a fine line between helping students see history as it was experienced at the time, and showing them what we may have learned from those events. This site can assist with the difficulty of discussing the blatant racism of Japanese-American internment while acknowledging its presence in American history.

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Anne Frank Center - Anne Frank Center USA

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6 to 12
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This site would make a nice accompaniment for students reading "The Diary of Ann Frank." This site includes exerpts from Anne's diary, lesson plans and downloadable readers' guides...more
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This site would make a nice accompaniment for students reading "The Diary of Ann Frank." This site includes exerpts from Anne's diary, lesson plans and downloadable readers' guides for teachers. Go directly to "Ann Frank: Life and Times" to access the excerpts from her diary and the scrapbook. This include pictures and artifacts along with a biography of Anne Frank suitable for middle school students.

tag(s): anne frank (10), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

A "scrapbook" section would be very effective on a projector or interactive whiteboard. The scrapbook might function as a good anticipatory activity to set up a unit on the diary, although it does give away the ending of the story. There is also a section for teachers which includes some downloadable handouts, a bibliography and other resources.

If you are teaching about World War II, this would be a good resource to share on your teacher web pages for independent projects.

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Remembering Pearl Harbor - National Geographic

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6 to 12
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This site focuses on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It includes an outstanding interactive multimedia map and narrative of the attack that integrates audio (complete with a scratchy...more
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This site focuses on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It includes an outstanding interactive multimedia map and narrative of the attack that integrates audio (complete with a scratchy old-time radio sound), 1940s style maps and a "you are there" interface that is really stunning. There is also a searchable archive of survivor stories. This first person "memory book" provides eyewitness accounts that give an immediacy to the study of the attack not possible with text book narrative. Related NatGeo features add dimension to understanding of Pearl Harbor.

tag(s): pearl harbor (12), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

This site would be perfect for use on a projector or interactive whiteboard. It will give students a great introduction to the bombing at Pearl Harbor. Ask students whether Pearl Harbor or September 11 was the most devastating attacks ever made on American soil...and why. If you have the technical capability, challenge your students to create their own (historical fiction) "memory book" accounts of World War II events-- or of events happening today. This is an ideal topic for podcasts.
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The Holocaust Lesson Plan - Vanderbilt University, University of Texas-Austin

Grades
6 to 12
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This comprehensive approach to studying the Holocaust has students reading, viewing the film Devil's Arithmetic, and doing research about a real person who was involved in the Holocaust....more
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This comprehensive approach to studying the Holocaust has students reading, viewing the film Devil's Arithmetic, and doing research about a real person who was involved in the Holocaust. The lesson plans include videos of the different phases of the plan for teachers who would like to see it modeled. The questioning encourages the development of higher order thinking skills, and presents a well-considered approach to the study of the Holocaust, providing students with a template for future historical study. Student final presentations include students preparing their own PowerPoint or Hyperstudio presentations, an appropriate use of technology to express their own observations and research findings. Detailed student outcomes are available to instructors who wish to use this plan. Examples of student projects as well as links to other sites about the Holocaust complete the site offerings.

tag(s): hitler (10), holocaust (39)

In the Classroom

Video files of the model lesson are large and take a long time to download (use Quicktime). You will also need to find a copy of the film licensed for school use. Teachers may want to use these lesson ideas and products as a springboard, picking and choosing from the activities.

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U-505 Submarine - Museum of Science and Industry

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6 to 12
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Associated with the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and their exhibit of a German U-Boat, this site includes three online Flash animated games that illustrate principles used...more
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Associated with the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and their exhibit of a German U-Boat, this site includes three online Flash animated games that illustrate principles used in navigating and commanding a German U-boat. Users can target a ship for a torpedo attack, locate a ship using sonar and radar, and listed to radio signals that might signal the presence of an enemy ship. The games illustrate triangulation and the use of latitude and longitude and refer to the use of Morse Code. The games run a little slowly for students used to rapid fire video games, but are extremely well crafted and educational. Remember to get the most recent FLASH plug-in from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page if you do not have it.

tag(s): german (64), germany (28), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Teachers could use these activities as an extension for a study of World War II, or as a reward for completing tasks early or particularly well after the unit. Alternatively, teachers could provide the link for students to explore from home.
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No Job for a Woman - Imperial War Museum

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6 to 12
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This British site looks at women's roles in war time from 1900 to the present. Divided chronologically (pre-1914, WWI, WWWII, and post-1945) the site focuses on five main themes: ...more
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This British site looks at women's roles in war time from 1900 to the present. Divided chronologically (pre-1914, WWI, WWWII, and post-1945) the site focuses on five main themes: A Woman's Place is in the Home, Woman's Work: War Work, That's no job for a woman: The Services, War Babes: Stereotypes, pin-ups and prejudice, and You have no Right: Protest and Equality. There is an image guide for each theme, lesson plans, reading lists and suggestions for further research.

tag(s): women (101), world war 1 (54), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Although the focus of the site is clearly on Great Britain, the image galleries provide good primary source information. This site would be a great resource for incorporating women's roles into the study of the two World Wars in a regular Modern US History course. There is also great material for History Day projects on women's roles in wartime. The use of British terminology might be a little confusing, but also points up the different perspectives of another country, and might be useful in showing how the two World Wars were perceived outside the US. Despite the fact that the site is designed to cover up to the present time, it is not particularly useful for periods after World War II.
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Nuremberg Trials - WGBH

Grades
8 to 12
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This companion site to a PBS special is filled with riveting details and historical photographs that capture the significance of the Nuremberg trials, the people and events that defined...more
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This companion site to a PBS special is filled with riveting details and historical photographs that capture the significance of the Nuremberg trials, the people and events that defined this era, and the devastation experienced by citizens of Berlin after World War II. Includes an illustrated timeline with links to related sites, a photo gallery, and transcripts of interviews with a prison guard and an army photographer.

tag(s): courts (15), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Challenge students to think about the similarities and differences between the trial of Saddam Hussein and the Nuremberg trials.
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The Arts of the 1940s - John F. Kennedy Center

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8 to 12
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Click on the "Learn More About the '40s" link on this Kennedy Center site to experience an interactive tour of this pivotal decade. The focus is not just on national ...more
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Click on the "Learn More About the '40s" link on this Kennedy Center site to experience an interactive tour of this pivotal decade. The focus is not just on national and world events, but on the cultural components that defined the era. Get a glimpse of the fashion, music, dance, and theater that emerged as World War II drew to a close and the Cold War dawned.

tag(s): 1940s (13), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an in-class activity that teaches about the culture of the 1940's in a non-lecture format. Placing students in cooperative learning groups, have the groups research different aspects of the presentation with the intentions of summarizing their findings with the intentions of teaching their peers. Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts demonstrating their understanding of one of the concepts. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here). This would be a fun way to incorporate technology and content for a US history classroom!

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Perilous Fight - Timeline - PBS

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8 to 12
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Supplement a unit on World War II with this impressive interactive timeline. The pivotal events that occurred between 1933 and 1945 are represented against stunning photographic backdrops....more
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Supplement a unit on World War II with this impressive interactive timeline. The pivotal events that occurred between 1933 and 1945 are represented against stunning photographic backdrops. Links to more detailed descriptions are provided.

tag(s): timelines (62), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Use the interactive timeline on the projector as a way to introduce battlefront events during a unit on WWII. This could be used to accompany a lecture, or again at the end of the unit as a means for students to review the main events of the war. This is a great resource for a US or World history classroom.

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On This Day - BBC

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8 to 12
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This daily listing of facts and images covers historical events from World War II to 2003. Click on an event to read more about it and experience some multimedia features. ...more
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This daily listing of facts and images covers historical events from World War II to 2003. Click on an event to read more about it and experience some multimedia features. Includes impressive video and audio clips. Good source for a daily bit of meaningful primary source trivia.

tag(s): calendars (44)

In the Classroom

Keep this site up on the interactive whiteboard or projector in the beginning of class while students are walking in and settling down. This is a great way to focus their attention and get their brains warmed up for a World history classroom.
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A Personal Holocaust Remembrance - MSNBC

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7 to 12
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A Michigan teen has produced his own documentary based on first-person interviews with his grandparents about their experiences as holocaust victims. The interviews were the first time...more
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A Michigan teen has produced his own documentary based on first-person interviews with his grandparents about their experiences as holocaust victims. The interviews were the first time they had spoken with a family member about those events. Includes video clips.

tag(s): holocaust (39), nazis (10), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Open this site on the interactive whiteboard or projector to introduce a unit on the Holocaust during a World or US history class. Have students read aloud the information, or summarize the main points yourself before previewing the video in class. This is a great way to make the events of the Holocaust more real and personal.

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Battle of the Atlantic - BBC

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8 to 12
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Outwit German U-boats and lead your convoy of valuable supply ships safely across the North Atlantic with this interactive game. Players assume the role of a British Senior Officer...more
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Outwit German U-boats and lead your convoy of valuable supply ships safely across the North Atlantic with this interactive game. Players assume the role of a British Senior Officer Escort who must complete a series of virtual training courses (to learn about the enemy, Morse code, tactics and more), take command of the fleet, and find the best tactical solutions to a variety of scenarios.

tag(s): game based learning (103), navy (9), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a fun learning center or station during a unit on World War II. This would be a great way to break up a series of more serious or text heavy centers, as well as provide some review for students. BBC always delivers in providing interesting and fun review games!
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Face to Face: Stories from an Aftermath of Infamy - ITVS

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8 to 12
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This collection of real-life stories from Japanese Americans and Arab and Muslim Americans explores the issues of civil liberties in the wake of two days that changed the world forever...more
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This collection of real-life stories from Japanese Americans and Arab and Muslim Americans explores the issues of civil liberties in the wake of two days that changed the world forever - December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001. Racial hatred, fear, distrust, national loyalty, and the validity of constitutional rights are just a few of the complex issues addressed in the riveting audio interviews. A series of lesson plans guides teachers and students through a comparison of how America responded to these two ethnic groups after the two respective tragedies.

tag(s): racism (18), sept11 (21), terrorism (49), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities hosted on this site. The oral interviews would make a great in-class activity, playing them over the projector or interactive whiteboard. Select a section and play the interviews, usually around 5-10 minutes total. Have students listen to the interviews, and write or discuss a response afterwards. Very moving interviews, making a solid base for a class discussion on racism and the effects of globalization.

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Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State - Community Television of Southern California

Grades
9 to 12
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This is much more than a site about Auschwitz. In addition to presenting a portrait of one of Europe's most infamous concentration camps, the site explores the historical context in...more
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This is much more than a site about Auschwitz. In addition to presenting a portrait of one of Europe's most infamous concentration camps, the site explores the historical context in which Hitler and the Nazis rose to power and follows the chain of events that led to the development of mass extermination camps. There is much riveting and chilling information to be found in this resource - from interactive, captioned maps to reflections from victims and perpetrators.

tag(s): hitler (10), holocaust (39), jews (20), nazis (10), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and resources located on this site! A very interesting resource for a US or World History classroom.
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Price of Freedom - Americans at War - National Museum of American History

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7 to 12
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American military conflicts, from the War of Independence to the War in Iraq, are presented in this beautifully designed multimedia exhibit that examines their effect on American society...more
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American military conflicts, from the War of Independence to the War in Iraq, are presented in this beautifully designed multimedia exhibit that examines their effect on American society and our nation's history. Click on the interactive time line to access movies, photographs, artifacts, and text that provide succinct and riveting overviews of each conflict. This site would make an excellent independent computer lab activity. To enhance the experience, develop some essential questions and a "road map" to guide your students - then turn them loose. Downloadable teacher's manual available.

tag(s): civil war (145), vietnam (36), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Share this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector as an introduction to this unit or as review. The site hosts vast amounts of information about almost every major American conflict in exhibit form. Go through the exhibits with students through out the lecture as the images are of high quality and can supplement the lecture being given. This site also has valuable information for students working on research projects or papers. If thats the case, save this site as a favorite and refer students with questions to it.
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The Holocaust: A Learning Site for Students - Holocaust Memorial Museum

Grades
8 to 12
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This well-organized site presents an authentic and factual view of the Holocaust in a format appropriate for middle and high school students. Text, historical photographs, maps, images...more
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This well-organized site presents an authentic and factual view of the Holocaust in a format appropriate for middle and high school students. Text, historical photographs, maps, images of artifacts, and audio clips provide a riveting experience for visitors. This resource is organized by themes which include Nazi Rule, Jews in Germany, the "Final Solution," Nazi Camps, and Rescue and Resistance. Each theme is supported by in-depth information, a helpful glossary and timeline, and a list of key dates and events.

tag(s): holocaust (39), jews (20), nazis (10), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Use the images on this site to design a picture walk in your classroom about the holocaust. Select 10-15 of the more powerful images, choosing a variety of subjects. Assign students to begin at specific numbers, before allowing the class to rotate around the classroom every 30-45 seconds. At each image, students should quickly write down what they observe, infer and predict about each image. At the end of the picture walk, have a class discussion based on the notes students took during the walk. This would be a very interesting way to introduce the topic in a non-lecture format. For help creating the graphic organizers, we recommend using Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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