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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Our Story in History - National Museum of American History

Grades
2 to 6
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This small but creative collection of activities spans a diverse range of topics from American history and taps into the imaginative minds of elementary students. Visit the "Try It...more
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This small but creative collection of activities spans a diverse range of topics from American history and taps into the imaginative minds of elementary students. Visit the "Try It At Home" section to learn about great women of the past, WWII Japanese interment camps, or slave life and the Underground Railroad. Each topic includes background information, links to related children's literature, and ideas for hands-on activities. The "Try it On-Line" section provides interactive activities that immerse students in creating Native American buffalo hide paintings, building a sod home, and looking at life through the eyes of an historian.

tag(s): underground railroad (11), women (101), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite and use it as a learning center or station during a US history class!

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Witness to the Holocaust

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9 to 12
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Primary source material including photographs and personal interviews form the basis for this revealing look at the Holocaust. Visitors can explore three separate paths: a history section...more
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Primary source material including photographs and personal interviews form the basis for this revealing look at the Holocaust. Visitors can explore three separate paths: a history section that provides a brief overview of the Holocaust and the experiences of the victims; a liberators section that offers 10 transcriptions of interviews with those involved in the liberation of concentration camps; and a camps section that profiles four of the most notorious concentration camps. The images and recollections are troubling, so use carefully in the classroom. Developed by the Georgia Institute of Technology Library and Information Center.

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

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. The information is very dark and graphic, but if your students are mature enough it provides amazing insight into the camps and havoc they wreaked. Have students explore the site and challenge them to create an online graphic to share using Tabblo reviewed here.
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Churchill Papers - Cambridge University

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9 to 12
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Those interested in Sir Winston Churchill will find this site's offerings more than ample. An online biography and chronology will probably be most helpful, but there are also links...more
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Those interested in Sir Winston Churchill will find this site's offerings more than ample. An online biography and chronology will probably be most helpful, but there are also links to various collections of Churchill's papers, and also to several online features designed for use in British schools. Americans will likely find these materials most relevant to a unit on World War II.

tag(s): britain (35), churchill (5), england (57), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

What a cool way to bring some personality to the characters that often seem too stoic to be human. Use the primary sources on this site during an introductory activity about the characters predominantly studied in WWII. Show students some of the materials over the interactive whiteboard or projector during a lecture on Churchill, Stalin and Truman.

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Churchill - PBS

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6 to 12
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One of the twentieth century's real giants, Churchill's accomplishments go well beyond the content on this companion site to the PBS series of the same name. While most famous as ...more
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One of the twentieth century's real giants, Churchill's accomplishments go well beyond the content on this companion site to the PBS series of the same name. While most famous as a World War II leader, his influence on the British government stretched from the 1920s well into the 1950s. This site is a great introduction, but serious secondary students should be prepared to delve more deeply.

tag(s): churchill (5), middle east (30), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on WWII. Because there is a lot of information on this site, it would probably work best if students had a graphic organizer to guide them through. For help creating graphic organizers, we recommend using Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).
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Perilous Fight - World War II in Color - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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American History teachers should turn their visual learners loose on this one. Based largely on collections of color still photos taken during World War II, the site - a companion ...more
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American History teachers should turn their visual learners loose on this one. Based largely on collections of color still photos taken during World War II, the site - a companion to the PBS show of the same name - examines the progress of the war in Europe, in the Pacific, and on the home front. The narrative is secondary to the photos and provides only a synopsis of some events, but visually, this is powerful stuff.

tag(s): world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Save this site on classroom computers and use it as a learning center or station. Some of the content does have sound, so make sure to include headphones for student use. This site does have a lot of information, and would perfectly be utilized during a unit on WWII or on the evolution of aircrafts in general. Tech-geeks will love this one!
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Days of Infamy - American Radio Works

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6 to 12
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Here's a web site comparing American reactions after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the attacks on the World Trade Center. The real substance of the presentation is a series ...more
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Here's a web site comparing American reactions after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the attacks on the World Trade Center. The real substance of the presentation is a series of audio recordings of commentary and "person in the street" reactions to the two events. To supplement these, there are image sets that contrast American responses to the two events. Transcripts are also available.

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

In the Classroom

Of particular note to teachers: the audio can be used in either short segments or as a complete one-hour presentation.
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Anne Frank the Writer - Smithsonian

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6 to 12
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This site documents the US Holocaust Museum's recent exhibit about Anne Frank's unpublished writings. The site includes an introduction, interviews, excerpts from a number of unpublished...more
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This site documents the US Holocaust Museum's recent exhibit about Anne Frank's unpublished writings. The site includes an introduction, interviews, excerpts from a number of unpublished works, and a series of links for additional information. This one could be an interesting bridge between a writing assignment and the study of World War II.

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

In the Classroom

Use the virtual exhibit as a learning center or station during a unit on WWII in a history class or during a study of her book in an English class. This would be a great way to introduce Anne Frank, the exhibit serving to put all students at the same level of understanding of her life. If in need of some sort of assessment to see what students have learned from the site, challenge students to create an online graphic to share using Tabblo reviewed here.
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Oral Histories of the Holocaust

Grades
6 to 12
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This site, created by High School Students in San Francisco, presents personal oral Holocaust accounts in written and audio formats. The site provides a unique perspective on the manner...more
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This site, created by High School Students in San Francisco, presents personal oral Holocaust accounts in written and audio formats. The site provides a unique perspective on the manner in which the Holocaust affected so many lives, by providing the detailed accounts of six survivors. Due to the nature of the subject matter, teachers may want to limit access of this site to older students.

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

In the Classroom

Beyond the obvious testimonials this provides to the content, this site can also be used as the perfect example of how students can complete a similar project. During a modern history unit, select a topic that students have the potential to interview their own family members on. Instead of the typical tape recording, try a new technology similar to one used on the website. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).

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Experiencing War - Library of Congress

Grades
6 to 12
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No, it's not blood and gore up close, but rather a collection of audio reminiscences from American veterans about their experiences in wartime. Created by the Library of Congress as...more
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No, it's not blood and gore up close, but rather a collection of audio reminiscences from American veterans about their experiences in wartime. Created by the Library of Congress as part of their American Folklife series, these stories are surprisingly personal and therefore all the more powerful. A faster connection improves performance.

tag(s): korea (15), memorial day (13), veterans (19), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Use the audio interviews over the interactive whiteboard to show students what the war was like from the perspective of people on the ground, and the difference between the first hand account and the textbook. This is a great way to not only teach the content, but display for students the difference between a primary and secondary source. To further argue a point, use a Venn diagram on the interactive whiteboard to graphically display the differences. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here).
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WASP on the Web

Grades
6 to 12
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While this site really assumes the user knows the story of the women who helped ferry aircraft of all sorts from factory to front during World War II, the various ...more
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While this site really assumes the user knows the story of the women who helped ferry aircraft of all sorts from factory to front during World War II, the various site elements offer glimpses of the people, airplanes, and places that made the WASPs an indispensable element of the war effort. The sounds add some additional realism.

tag(s): air (163), aviation (39), women (101), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Use the audio/video on this site over the interactive whiteboard to show students who the WASPS were as well as the contribution they made to the war effort. This would be a great addition to a lesson on WWII as well as the fight for equality between the sexes. History teachers will like this one.
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Women Come to the Front - Library of Congress

Grades
7 to 12
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The Library of Congress does its usually thorough job in this presentation on the roles of female journalists during World War II. These included domestic and foreign assignments. While...more
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The Library of Congress does its usually thorough job in this presentation on the roles of female journalists during World War II. These included domestic and foreign assignments. While we wish more of these images were available on line, there are certainly enough photos in this collection to provide students with a sense of what war meant to America in the 1940s.

tag(s): journalism (46), women (101), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on the battle front in WWII. The content is still valid, and would be a great center to break up others based on the battles and the men who are normally focused on. A useful resource for a US history classroom.

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Number the Stars - Lesson Ideas - McDougal Littell

Grades
6 to 8
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This lesson plan for Lois Lowry's book emphasizes the concept of 'resistance to injustice'. The summary is well presented and the lesson begins with vocabulary suggestions and a Quick...more
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This lesson plan for Lois Lowry's book emphasizes the concept of 'resistance to injustice'. The summary is well presented and the lesson begins with vocabulary suggestions and a Quick write task to allow teachers to tap into the student's existing knowledge. The Research assignments direct students to learn more about resistance efforts in Nazi occupied countries, the tasks do assume a level of student skill. Teachers will be able to use this as a great introduction to WWII curriculum.

tag(s): holocaust (39), stars (61), world war 2 (142)

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Number the Stars - Lesson Units - Book Club Online Archive

Grades
4 to 6
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Book Club Online offers a set of complete lesson plans for this gripping tale of friendship and courage by Lois Lowry. The Outline of Lesson Plans conveniently describes ...more
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Book Club Online offers a set of complete lesson plans for this gripping tale of friendship and courage by Lois Lowry. The Outline of Lesson Plans conveniently describes the curriculum area and focus for each chapter's specific lesson. The lessons themselves have a topic introduction, the lesson goal, a writing activity and an online prompt. There are also a variety of related books and websites that further explore the Holocaust.

tag(s): holocaust (39), stars (61)

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Number the Stars Lesson - Carol Hurst's Childrens Literature Site

Grades
4 to 6
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The Holocaust can be a difficult subject to teach in the elementary grades. This site, created by Carol Hurst, helps teachers present the topic without focusing on the more ...more
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The Holocaust can be a difficult subject to teach in the elementary grades. This site, created by Carol Hurst, helps teachers present the topic without focusing on the more inappropriate areas of the subject. The discussion ideas provide important questions about the characters and the activities focus on the time and setting of the book. Teachers will find this a useful entry into a study of the world during World War II.

tag(s): holocaust (39), stars (61)

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Japanese American Internment Curriculum - National Japanese American Historical Society

Grades
6 to 12
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Developed by the National Japanese American Historical Society, this page is a well-organized meta-list of lessons relating to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War...more
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Developed by the National Japanese American Historical Society, this page is a well-organized meta-list of lessons relating to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The lessons include material for all grade levels, and they address the historical, literary, and constitutional aspects of these Americans' experiences. Today's students can learn much from this experience.

tag(s): constitution (79), japan (61), japanese (42), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities offered on this site! Save this site as a favorite for easy use and retrieval for future unit planning. Social studies teachers will love this one!

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World War II Relocation Camps - National Park Service

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9 to 12
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Part of the National Park Service "Teaching with Historic Places" series, this site uses the Manzanar Japanese-American internment camp as a starting point for an exploration of the...more
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Part of the National Park Service "Teaching with Historic Places" series, this site uses the Manzanar Japanese-American internment camp as a starting point for an exploration of the internment activities that took place during World War II. As with other lessons in this series, the lesson asks students to interpret archival photos and draw conclusions from the images and contemporary accounts of the internment.

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

In the Classroom

This is a very detailed and intricate lesson that can easily last a few days. However it is very informative and provides information about Japanese internment camps that is often brushed over in the book. Take advantage of this great lesson plan during a unit on WWII or discrimination in the United States.

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Battle of Midway - National Park Service

Grades
6 to 12
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This lesson from the National Park Service series "Teaching with Historic Places" outlines the background for the outbreak of the war with Japan and uses maps and historical photos...more
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This lesson from the National Park Service series "Teaching with Historic Places" outlines the background for the outbreak of the war with Japan and uses maps and historical photos to teach about the battle of Midway and the island's strategic importance in World War II. This site could be a nice add-on to a study of World War II, Japan, or the geography of the Pacific region.

tag(s): world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Teachers will appreciate the inclusion of printable versions of the maps.

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Elie Weisel - First Person Singular - PBS

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6 to 12
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This web site from the PBS program by the same name offers a biography of the author and Nobel Peace Prize winner, as well as a teaching guide linked to ...more
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This web site from the PBS program by the same name offers a biography of the author and Nobel Peace Prize winner, as well as a teaching guide linked to the program itself. History, social studies, or English teachers may find this content useful in a unit on the holocaust or in a discussion of World War II.

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

In the Classroom

This site is a very moving resource for covering WWII and the Jewish Holocaust. Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities offered in the teaching guide on this site. US and World history teachers will appreciate this one.

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Untold Stories of D-Day - National Geographic

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7 to 12
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National Geographic covers a wealth of topic areas in this elegant presentation about the Normandy invasion. While primarily a teaser for a print project, this site offers images, a...more
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National Geographic covers a wealth of topic areas in this elegant presentation about the Normandy invasion. While primarily a teaser for a print project, this site offers images, a downloadable map, a good variety of D-day trivia, and a 10-minute movie suitable for those with high-speed connections. There is also an extensive bibliography and listing of other web resources.

tag(s): d day (8), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Use this article as an introductory activity for a lesson on the Normandy invasion. Teachers can share just the article, or incorporate some of the images and maps in their lecture or classroom discussion. If reading the article, be sure help your weaker readers and ESL students by sharing the vocabulary words prior to reading, either on a handout or by projecting on an interactive whiteboard and highlighting them in the text as you come to them.
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