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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The Day After Pearl Harbor

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6 to 12
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Here's a collection of audio recordings of interviews with "ordinary Americans" conducted by the Library of Congress on December 8, 1941. Users can hear how people reacted to the Japanese...more
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Here's a collection of audio recordings of interviews with "ordinary Americans" conducted by the Library of Congress on December 8, 1941. Users can hear how people reacted to the Japanese attack, and the thoughts that were foremost in their minds as America went to war. This one could be an interesting sidebar to the study of World War II.

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

In the Classroom

Open the section entitled "Marine Valentines" on the interactive whiteboard or projector, and play a few minutes of it for the class. Use this as a way to discuss how life may have been for families on the home front and how they were affected by more than rationing. Some of the letters are touching, so be aware if you have quite a few sensitive girls in your class when to stop. But the letters show a different side of the war than normally discussed in class. Teachers can also have students use this as a writing prompt - have students write a letter from the perspective of a soldier on different fronts. Letters can be used to detail the different experiences of soldiers or even how varying locations were subject to more or less warfare. A touching side to war - who would have thought?!

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Atomic Archive

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6 to 12
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While it covers all aspects of American involvement with nuclear activities, this site's coverage of the history of atomic investigation will be particularly attractive to students...more
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While it covers all aspects of American involvement with nuclear activities, this site's coverage of the history of atomic investigation will be particularly attractive to students and teachers. There is a timeline on the history of atomic energy, and the teacher's section includes several activities built on the effort to build the first atomic bomb. There's a lot of content in this site that is too advanced for secondary students, but creative teachers will find lots of opportunities here.

tag(s): atomic bomb (11), energy (198), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Save this site in your favorites on your class computers and use it as a point of reference for students working on research projects or papers. The information is reliable and plentiful, spanning all issues of atomic energy - from the Manhattan Project to Nuclear Facilities, this site has it all. It is a little advanced, but science and history teachers in the upper levels of high school will appreciate the resources this site has to offer.

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Japanese Americans at Manzanar - Library of Congress

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6 to 12
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Ansel Adams' images of the Manzanar Japanese internment camp are haunting for both their subject matter and their artistic qualities. This collection from the Library of Congress includes...more
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Ansel Adams' images of the Manzanar Japanese internment camp are haunting for both their subject matter and their artistic qualities. This collection from the Library of Congress includes both scenic photographs and images of the camp's occupants during the war.

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

In the Classroom

Teachers will need to supply the context for these images, but they are an important historical resource.

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Japanese Americans and the Constitution - Smithsonian Institution

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6 to 12
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The Smithsonian presents this nicely-designed site describing the internment and discrimination against Japanese Americans during World War II. Students can listen to an audio introduction...more
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The Smithsonian presents this nicely-designed site describing the internment and discrimination against Japanese Americans during World War II. Students can listen to an audio introduction which provides a summary of the events of the period, and sets the stage for the larger presentation. This one is well worth a visit.

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

In the Classroom

This site is a great way to address the topics of racism and the Japanese internment in your classroom. Teachers can either save this and use it as a learning center or have the students do it together on classroom computers. Don't teach this topic without looking at this site first!

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World War II Poster Collection - Northwestern University

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6 to 12
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A collection of posters from the war years, combined with a search engine and index. ...more
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A collection of posters from the war years, combined with a search engine and index.

tag(s): world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Use the images on this site to create a visual discovery activity in your classroom, introducing the topic of propaganda in wartime, or even a lesson on Nationalism. Select 3-5 images from this site, choosing the most powerful and moving images. Placing the images on individual slides, allow students 1-2 minutes to observe each image. During that time period, students should be taking notes based on what they observe, predict and infer about each image. The more powerful and detailed the image is, the more information students can take out. After the class has observed all the chosen images, have a class discussion based on the notes students took. This is a great way to introduce content in a way that gets students thinking, as well as avoiding the typical lecture format. In concerns to WWII, this activity might be even more powerful if the posters were from different countries and students had to compare and contrast the posters afterwards. This will encourage some of the critical thinking skills that are so useful in history.

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World War II Resources

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9 to 12
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This is a collection of primary source documents from American and Allied sources. This site includes pre-war assessments and intelligence, cryptography studies, and even the actual...more
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This is a collection of primary source documents from American and Allied sources. This site includes pre-war assessments and intelligence, cryptography studies, and even the actual German and Japanese surrender documents. It would be a great starting point for students interested in using primary sources.

tag(s): world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Primary sources could be used to teach both the content and historical thinking skills in your classroom. Divide students into 5-6 groups, with each group assigned a different primary source to read and evaluate. (Sources should come from various perspectives to make the game more interesting, but should have the same general topic) Have the groups present quick summaries of their source to the class, making sure to mention who the author is and whether or not there could be bias. After all have presented, have each team pick a representative to argue in front of the class as to why their source is the most reliable and valid. After all have made their argument, have the class vote off the least reliable "survivor style" until you are left with just one!

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What Did You Do in the War, Grandma?

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7 to 12
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This is a collection of oral history information compiled by high school students in Rhode Island as a class project. Well-done student effort. ...more
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This is a collection of oral history information compiled by high school students in Rhode Island as a class project. Well-done student effort.

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

In the Classroom

Use the timeline on this site to guide your class through the events of WWII. It is primarily focused on Womens history, but the content is well-researched and pertinent to a classroom studying WWII. Open this site on the interactive whiteboard or projector and maneuver through it during your lecture.

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Voices of the Holocaust

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6 to 12
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Illinois Institute of Technology hosts this site, developed to share first-hand experiences of holocaust survivors. The site is particularly interesting, because the memories were collected...more
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Illinois Institute of Technology hosts this site, developed to share first-hand experiences of holocaust survivors. The site is particularly interesting, because the memories were collected only a year or so after the end of the war, and were transcribed verbatim by interviewers. The result is a collection of several dozen interviews which are remarkable for their clarity. This site would be a great primary resource for any holocaust study.

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

In the Classroom

These very powerful and graphic interviews from Dr. Boder could be extremely beneficial to a class studying the Holocaust - as long as the maturity level of your students is high enough to be able to take the content seriously. Have students listen to an interview as a starter or introduction to a unit or lesson on the genocide. Have the audio playing as students are coming into the class, with instructions written on the board explaining what the clip is and what students are to do while it's playing. Some teachers prefer for students to listen and reflect afterwards OR take notes of the audio for a class discussion afterwards. Regardless of what you choose, be sure students understand so that you can quickly move on to a discussion of the audio and how it represents what happened to victims of the Holocaust. Teachers could easily incorporate the interviews into learning centers, a cooperative group exercise or as a writing prompt to close the unit with. An excellent resource for any history teacher covering WWII.

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U-Boat U-505 - Chicago Museum of Science

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6 to 12
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We're not sure how a German submarine ended up at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, but this site will tell you about it. The contents include both an ...more
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We're not sure how a German submarine ended up at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, but this site will tell you about it. The contents include both an on-line tour of the boat and background information on the role of the U-boats in World War II, and what life was like inside these machines. Great fodder for a report or research project.

tag(s): museums (49), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Within the learning tools portion of the site are some brief but interesting interactive games that would make for great learning centers or stations during a lesson on the atlantic front of WWII as well as a lesson on the new technology that was being utilized by either side. Allow students to complete the site individually on classroom computers - just be sure to save it as a favorite on the computer to allow for easier retrieval of the site.

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Trinity Web - The nuclear bombing of Japan - Seattle Times

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6 to 12
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Created by the Seattle Times, this site focuses on the initial nuclear tests that preceded the bombing of Japan to end the war. Additional links to first-person chronicles, other related...more
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Created by the Seattle Times, this site focuses on the initial nuclear tests that preceded the bombing of Japan to end the war. Additional links to first-person chronicles, other related W.W.II sites, and nuclear resources. Well done.

tag(s): atomic bomb (11), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

During a unit on WWII or Nuclear Technology, this site would be a great supplementary resource that teachers could use for classroom activities or to buff up on their background information. In regards to classroom activities, teachers could use this site for a cooperative learning activity. Have students read the articles on the site in groups, and have students use the information in some of the interactive activities provided. Teachers can differentiate for students, allowing them to reflect in a writing prompt, take the quiz or try and complete the calculations activity. There is also a study guide at the bottom that students can use to help them review and teachers can peruse to find more classroom ideas. A lot of information on this site - history teachers will enjoy this one.

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Women and the Holocaust

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9 to 12
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A haunting, sometimes disturbing site that chronicles the experiences of women in the holocaust. This is an important story to tell. ...more
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A haunting, sometimes disturbing site that chronicles the experiences of women in the holocaust. This is an important story to tell.

tag(s): holocaust (39), women (101), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Teachers may want to think carefully about how and when it is presented.

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Women's History - The History Channel

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6 to 12
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The popular cable channel's women's history site provides images, content, and links to related resources. ...more
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The popular cable channel's women's history site provides images, content, and links to related resources.

tag(s): women (101), womens suffrage (26), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

This site has plenty of relatively short videos that could easily be played in class to supplement lecture. For a unit on WWII, play the short 3 minute video about the Women Auxiliary Corp on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Short and sweet, the video addresses what the domestic front was like and addresses the issues of women's rights simultaneously. Have students watch the video, and then hold a class discussion as to the differences seen in the WAC video and videos that they might have seen concerning the mens army. After the discussion, have students create venn diagrams highlighting the differences. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here).

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center

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8 to 12
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The foremost organization for the study and memorialization of the holocaust provides a variety of resources for those researching this topic. ...more
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The foremost organization for the study and memorialization of the holocaust provides a variety of resources for those researching this topic.

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

In the Classroom

If looking for more materials and information about the Holocaust or anti-semitism in general, check out the library and archives section of this website for primary sources, a searchable catalog of materials, and even a "ask a survivor" portion of the site dedicated to providing students with a better understanding of the Holocaust. US & World history teachers will like this one - particularly the "ask a survivor" portion of this site. If your class was doing an in-depth study, it would be a great way to introduce or finish the unit!

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Remembering Nagasaki - The Exploratorium

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6 to 12
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This site presents and elegant, powerful photoessay showing the devastation caused by the bombing of Nagasaki. The photos were taken only a day or two after the event, and are ...more
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This site presents and elegant, powerful photoessay showing the devastation caused by the bombing of Nagasaki. The photos were taken only a day or two after the event, and are offered with only enough commentary to give them context. Local sensibilities vary, so please preview this one before using.

tag(s): atomic bomb (11), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Use the images on this site to create a visual discovery activity in your classroom, introducing the topic of the atomic bomb and its use at the end WWII. Select 3-5 images from this site, choosing the most powerful and moving images. Placing the images on individual slides, allow students 1-2 minutes to observe each image. During that time period, students should be taking notes based on what they observe, predict and infer about each image. The more powerful and detailed the image is, the more information students can take out. After the class has observed all the chosen images, have a class discussion based on the notes students took. This is a great way to introduce content in a way that gets students thinking, as well as avoiding the typical lecture format.

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Private Art - A collection of letters to and from home

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6 to 12
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This is a collection of letters exchanged between one soldier and his family. The material is indexed chronologically and is easy to retrieve and use, though the site is probably ...more
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This is a collection of letters exchanged between one soldier and his family. The material is indexed chronologically and is easy to retrieve and use, though the site is probably more technically complex than necessary. Nice use of graphics and illustrations.

tag(s): world war 2 (142)

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Pearl Harbor - Battleship Row

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4 to 12
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This on-line collections aerial photos of Pear Harbor will interest younger students, and older users will want to read the first-hand accounts of the Pearl Harbor attack from survivors....more
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This on-line collections aerial photos of Pear Harbor will interest younger students, and older users will want to read the first-hand accounts of the Pearl Harbor attack from survivors. There are also links to related content about Japanese and American forces during the conflict.

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

In the Classroom

Use the images on this site to create a visual discovery activity in your classroom, introducing the events of Pearl Harbor to students. Select 3-5 images from this site, choosing the most powerful and moving images. Placing the images on individual slides, allow students 1-2 minutes to observe each image. During that time period, students should be taking notes based on what they observe, predict and infer about each image. The more powerful and detailed the image is, the more information students can take out. After the class has observed all the chosen images, have a class discussion based on the notes students took. This is a great way to introduce content in a way that gets students thinking, as well as avoiding the typical lecture format.

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Remembering Pearl Harbor - National Geographic

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6 to 12
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The National Geographic's visually attractive presentation on the Pearl Harbor attack includes several resources that could easily be adapted for instructional purposes, and the interest...more
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The National Geographic's visually attractive presentation on the Pearl Harbor attack includes several resources that could easily be adapted for instructional purposes, and the interest in first-person accounts and recollections could be adapted for many different subjects. This site could also be a nice resource for student research and reports.

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

In the Classroom

Use the "attack map" on this site as a learning center or station during a lesson on the attack on Pearl Harbor. Students can view the map in cooperative learning groups or individually, although because there is a lot of information - we recommend creating a follow-along to highlight for students what's most important. For help creating graphic organizers, we recommend trying Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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Oral Histories of World War II

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6 to 12
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This is a collection of oral histories from people involved in the war. Most of the material has been transcribed, but there are a few bits that can be heard ...more
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This is a collection of oral histories from people involved in the war. Most of the material has been transcribed, but there are a few bits that can be heard as RealAudio clips. Many of the segments could use some additional context, but they effectively capture the scope and intensity of the experience.

tag(s): primary sources (86), veterans (19), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study of WWI. Open the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector to have students hear some of the interviews from veterans of the Great War. Play the interviews following a lecture, and have students write down their responses at the end. This will insure students are listening and provide direction for a classroom discussion afterward.

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Omaha Beachhead - US Army

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9 to 12
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This is the Army's official history of the Omaha beach invasion effort and subsequent progress inland. The site is entirely text, written as adult-level military history. There's plenty...more
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This is the Army's official history of the Omaha beach invasion effort and subsequent progress inland. The site is entirely text, written as adult-level military history. There's plenty of material here - and in other corners of this vast site - for the patient reader.

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

In the Classroom

Use the maps and images offered at the bottom of the site to aid presentations and lectures about D-day. The images are in black and white, but are still useful for discussing troop movements and the geography of the land and the battle scenery.

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