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Ken Burn's - The War

Ken Burns WW2 Masthead

WORLD WAR II Resources

For more resources, veteran profiles, and stories, see the Maryland Public TV Program Feature and PBS.org.

Online Resources:

WWII Chronicles -- World War II Chronicles is a weekly documentary series highlighting the events of the Second World War from Pearl Harbor to V-J day. Narrated by Ed Herlihy and recorded in the traditional style of the "newsreel".
Subject(s): Social Studies
Grade Level(s): Kindergarten, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

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Video Clips:

Video Censorship in Japan Part 1 and Part 2-- During the U.S. occupation of Japan following World War II, the American government monitored all Japanese publications and censored what they deemed to be inappropriate material. An extensive collection of Japanese materials from the occupation is now housed at the University of Maryland. The issue of censorship, as well as what qualified materials for censorship, is explored in this clip.
Subject(s): Social Studies
Grade Level(s): 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

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Lessons and Activities:

The American Experience - Bataan Rescue - Civics -- Bataan Rescue offers insights into American history topics including World War II in the Pacific theater, military strategy and special operations, first-person accounts of war, heroism, war prisoners and the Geneva Conventions.
Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies
Grade Level(s): 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Higher education

The American Experience - Battle of the Bulge -- Battle of the Bulge offers insights into American history topics including World War II, military strategy, the importance of the technology of war, and first-person accounts of war unilateralism or multilateralism in foreign policy.
Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies
Grade Level(s): 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Higher education

The American Experience - D-Day: Civics -- D-Day offers insights into American history topics including World War II, and unilateralism or multilateralism in foreign policy, and the role of the military in a democratic society.
Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies
Grade Level(s): 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Higher education

The American Experience - Fly Girls -- The video and resources on the Web site help students explore the many roles American women played during World War II, especially women aviators enlisted as Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPS).
Subject(s): Health, Social Studies
Grade Level(s): 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Higher education

The American Experience - Race for the Superbomb -- The video and companion online educational resources explore the end of World War II, the Cold War, and the development and deployment of atomic weaponry.
Subject(s): Health, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies
Grade Level(s): 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

America Responds - Tolerance in Times of Trial -- Designed for middle-high school students, this lesson plan uses the treatment of citizens of Japanese and German ancestry during World War II.
Subject(s): Foreign Language, Health, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies
Grade Level(s): 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Anne Frank: One of Hundreds of Thousands -- This lesson, one of a multi-part unit from EDSITEment, invites students to connect Anne Frank's "The Diary of a Young Girl" to the historical events of World War II.
Subject(s): Social Studies
Grade Level(s): 6, 7, 8

Argument, Persuasion, or Propaganda? Analyzing World War II Posters -- In this lesson, from ReadWriteThink, students analyze World War II posters to explore how argument, persuasion, and propaganda differ. The class first examines the famous "I WANT YOU FOR U.S. ARMY" poster.
Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies
Grade Level(s): 9, 10, 11, 12

Attu: North American Battleground of World War II -- is the site of the only land battle on the North American continent during World War II. In June 1942, Japanese forces invaded Attu and other Aleautian islands.

The Battle of Midway: Turning the Tide in the Pacific -- examines a pivotal World War II battle. In the spring of 1942, Japan attempted to establish a toehold in the Aleutian Islands, convert Midway into an air base for invading Hawaii, and lure the U.S. Pacific Fleet into a final battle.

Economic Spotter: Resources During World War II -- In this lesson, from EconEdLink, students play economic spotters as they travel back to a time when the world was at war.
Subject(s): Social Studies
Grade Level(s): 3, 4, 5

For European Recovery: The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Marshall Plan -- Exhibit -- commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of American assistance to Europe in recovering from World War II. It features photographs, cartoons, letters, memos, and printed material that document the early days of this international initiative.

Getting Involved in War -- This lesson, from Xpeditions, introduces students to the reasons why the United States became involved in World War II and asks them to consider the reasons Japan decided to attack Pearl Harbor.
Subject(s): Social Studies
Grade Level(s): 6, 7, 8

Giving Voice to History -- In this ARTSEDGE lesson, students come to understand a somber period in American history. During World War II the U.S. government ordered more than 120,000 Japanese Americans to detainment camps --the only reason given: being Japanese American.
Subject(s): Arts, Language Arts, Social Studies
Grade Level(s): 5, 6, 7, 8

Japanese Americans and WW II -- In this ARTSEDGE lesson, students learn about the experiences of Japanese Americans who were relocated from their homes to detainment camps during World War II.
Subject(s): Arts, Social Studies
Grade Level(s): 5, 6, 7, 8

Jazz and World War II: A Rally to Resistance, a Catalyst for Victory -- This EDSITEment lesson helps students understand the effects that World War II had on jazz music and the contributions that jazz musicians made to the war effort.
Subject(s): Arts, Social Studies
Grade Level(s): 9, 10, 11, 12

Monumental Battles: Major Turning Points of World War II -- This Tech Tour is designed to guide the research of middle school students through various web sites organized in a chronological fashion as they answer the challenge question: what were the major turning points of World War II?

A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans and the U.S. Constitution -- tells the story that began during World War II, when nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced from their homes into detention camps established by the U.S. government. Many spent three years living under armed guard, behind barbed wire.

Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself -- Students learn what the World War II experience was like for the thousands of Japanese Americans living on the West Coast.
Subject(s): Social Studies
Grade Level(s): 5, 6, 7, 8

People's Century: 1900-1999 - Brave New World (Teacher's Guide) -- The PBS program "People's Century: Brave New World" explores how, after World War II, political leaders of Great Britain, Russia, and the United States redrew the map of Europe, displacing millions of people.
Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies
Grade Level(s): 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Higher education

Sadako: A Tribute to a Girl With Cancer -- There is an old Japanese fable that if you fold a thousand paper cranes, the gods will heal you. Read the story of Sadako, a Japanese girl who contracted leukemia due to radiation poisoning from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
Subject(s): Arts, Language Arts, Science
Grade Level(s): 5, 6, 7, 8

Should We Drop the Bomb? -- Did the U.S. act responsibly when it dropped the two atomic bombs on Japan in World War II? Have your class investigate the issues that impacted Truman's decision and create a PowerPoint presentation to display their point of view.
Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies
Grade Level(s): 9, 10, 11, 12

Social Witness During World War II -- In this ARTSEDGE lesson, students analyze various texts within their larger historical and social contexts, and examine how differences in an artist's perspective, purpose, and audience can affect his or her artwork. They also compare and contrast ...
Subject(s): Arts, Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 9, 10, 11, 12

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U.S. Department of Education Star Schools Program