Collection of high school activities from ABMC Education on critical understanding of issues of World War II.

Collection Contents


In this lesson plan, students will use a social sharing platform like Twitter to share information with a wider audience, for more effective means of communication with each other, for incorporating viewpoints from all students in the classroom, and a means to reference thinking and learning by the use of a hashtag at a later time. Students will understand the role the Allied air forces played in the Normandy Invasion.
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The goal of this lesson is to explain the vital role of the Red Ball Express, and more specifically, African Americans serving in Western Europe. This lesson will help students to develop an understanding of the importance of transportation during the war. Through the examination of primary and secondary sources, students will be able to assume the role of a Red Ball driver and construct a journal entry to a relative explaining their lives in Western Europe.
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These activities simulate the experiences of the Lane family of Bartholomew County, Indiana. The Lanes are a real family whose oldest son gave his life during World War II. This simulation takes place from late 1944 to early 1948. The students will experience the tragedy of losing a loved one during the U.S. operations in the Rhineland and deal with the repercussions of that tragedy. Students will grapple with choices of how to best honor their fallen family member.
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Students will understand and evaluate the purpose of the Monuments, Fine Art, and Archives Commission during World War II. They will investigate the career of the only U.S. member of the MFAA killed in action, Walter J. Huchthausen. Students will consider multiple viewpoints in the modern controversy over returning artworks removed from their original site during World War II.
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Some Gave All

by Lani deGuia

In this lesson, students will study the profiles of two men killed in the Battle of the Bulge, Captain Charles Dunbar Lancaster Hewes and Private First Class James H. Vrtatko. The lesson will allow students to understand the aftermath and meaning of this pivotal military campaign.
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Using interactive technology from the American Battle Monuments Commission, maps, and primary and secondary sources, students will determine which technologies and tactics were most important in helping the Allies win the Battle of the Atlantic.
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In this lesson, students will look at five principal sculptures at Lorraine American Cemetery in France. Initial discussions will center on why these sculptures were chosen. After teaching on the purposes and design of Lorraine as well as the fallen heroes buried there, students will have a second discussion that centers on making the sculptures more culturally relevant.
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Students will increase their knowledge to identify the tactics used by the German Wolf Pack and how the U-boats impacted the Battle of the Atlantic by watching primary source video clips and analyzing data. Percent circle graphs will be created to show the tonnage of merchant ships lost to U-boat attacks. Students will create a model of a submarine to understand the effect of positive and negative buoyancy in water. By analyzing primary source documents, students will understand the role of First Lieutenant Gale B. McGowan in the Atlantic Theater during World War II. This lesson is designed to create a middle-level team integration between Social Studies, Mathematics, Science, and English/Language Arts.
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As General Eisenhower stated in a speech on November 14, 1957, “plans are worthless, but planning is everything.” Using the military five-paragraph OPORD (operations order) format, students will be able to compare and contrast Operation Neptune with Operation Market Garden in order to understand and explain why Neptune succeeded while Market Garden failed.
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Using primary and secondary sources, students will identify the major challenges of fighting in the hedgerow country of Normandy. Students will independently develop tactics to attack the hedgerows, then learn how American forces finally adapted to combat in the hedgerows.
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During this lesson students will take notes on a variety of secondary and primary sources in order to build their background knowledge about the Dutch experience during World War II and the work of the Foundation for Adopting Graves at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten. Students will also be introduced to a fallen soldier from Lewiston, Maine named Private First Class Stanley Clark and they will record information based on an interview with his grave sponsor, Nowy van Hedel. Finally, students will write up their different theories as to why many Dutch people are committed to the care of American graves in the Netherlands in the form of a fictional email between Nowy van Hedel and the Clark family. This lesson is designed for the end of a World War II unit.
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In this lesson students will use ABMC and other available resources to research and gather information regarding World War II news correspondents who made significant contributions to the field of journalism during the war. Students will read and listen to historical news items (articles, cartoons, photographs, radio broadcasts, etc.) from the time period and analyze and interpret them. Following this research, students will write a multi-genre research paper, based on the historical facts of their correspondent’s experience. Follow up will include a written editorial, wherein students will take a position on a current war, and write commentary for publication in the school newspaper’s op/ed page regarding the risks undertaken by journalists who cover war.
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This lesson addresses the Battle of the Bulge, one of the largest battles in American history and one of the pivotal battles of World War II. It challenges students to interpret the battle by using a set of primary and secondary sources. Working in groups, students will analyze sources using historical thinking and writing skills.
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Students will be given a series of document packets concerning the Akimoto family during World War II. Each of the four groups of documents deals with a different time period in the lives of the Akimotos. Once the students have reviewed the documents, they will act out specific scenes for the rest of the class. While students are acting out the scenes, the rest of the class will be completing a visual graphic organizer.
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These lessons are student-centered activities where students will explore medical technological advancements made during World War II and the vital role that medics played in the application of this technology. Students will examine a variety of sources in order to produce an informational artifact highlighting the importance of several medical advancements made during World War II. They will also use sources to determine the best method of implementing combat aid for a variety of injuries and will play the role of a combat medic to determine the best method for wound treatment and triage. Finally, students will gain an understanding of the unique perspective that combat medics had during their service by generating a news story featuring accounts of combat medics.
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Students will investigate the role of American service members in Great Britain before the Normandy invasion and the impact the V-1 and V-2 vengeance weapons had upon the British civilians at the close of the war. Students will write from the perspective of either a British civilian enduring a bombing raid or an American pilot conducting a raid.
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This lesson asks students to put themselves in the context of late fall/early winter 1944 as advisors to military planners. Students will determine what the Allies could consider their biggest strengths but also their largest concerns as they crafted their strategy to defeat Germany. Students will analyze a variety of primary sources and draft a memo with their strategic recommendations for Allied military planners.
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Operation Fortitude was essential to the success of Operation Overlord and the Normandy Invasion. This lesson explores the reasons behind the success of Operation Fortitude, why this operation was so successful, and how this major deception was planned and executed. Students will learn the reasons for and the necessity of Operation Fortitude, use critical thinking skills to determine the impact of Fortitude, and write narratives of the events using historical evidence.
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Students will learn about Gordon Chamberlain’s career as a glider pilot and Operation Varsity, the military action in which he perished. Students will then examine Chamberlain’s grave marker and several other art works at the Netherlands American Cemetery through visual images and text. After evaluating the style, purpose, and meaning of these art works, they will design their own memorial to commemorate Chamberlain and the soldiers who perished in the crossing of the Rhine. Art History students will have the ability to compare and contrast World War II war memorials with other historical war memorials.
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Students will read primary source articles from the Chicago Tribune archives from 1945, and a secondary source reading about the 18th Infantry Regiment of the 1st Infantry Division. Both readings discuss the role of African-American soldiers during World War II. Students will answer guided reading questions to go along with the readings and then write a comparative piece synthesizing what they have learned from the sources.
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These lessons are designed to help students understand events in World War II using non-textual sources (photographs, film, interactive websites, and apps). Students will analyze photographs of selected World War II events and subjects. Through photograph analysis, students will make observations, draw inferences, create questions, and participate in group discussions to develop and expand their knowledge of selected Word War II events and topics. These lessons are designed to provide students with learning disabilities and limited English language proficiency with alternative learning opportunities.
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