Date of Defense



Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies

First Advisor

Ann Pegg

Second Advisor

Archie Watson


World War II is the turning point of the Twentieth Century. It marks the death of the last European empires and the rise of the Super Powers and the Atomic Age. It is the event that ended the Great Depression and helped to define a generation that knew what it was like to suffer and fight to survive. World War II is what forever changed America's roll in world affairs, thrusting us from an isolationists country to policeman of the world. It is because of these monumental changes that World War II brought to America and the world, that makes it a very important period of American history to study. To understand the United States' foreign policy today and everything that America was involved in after the war, you first need to understand the war and how it shaped Americans.

Even as we look forward to beginning the Twenty-First Century, students need :o grasp the significance and lasting impact that World War II has to this day. For it is this world that they are being prepared to soon run. To help reach this goal, it is important that students see the war from all angles. They need to not only know the facts of the war, like the early Sunday morning bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, bat they also need to understand how these events changed and shaped American society then and today. To aid in achieving this goal, of helping the U.S. History student better understand America's roll in World War II, I have put together three lesson plans that can be used in a comprehensive unit on World War II.

Narrowing down the period down to these three lesson was hard, for it is a rich period in American history. They are any things of significance and importance to study like: events leading up to Pearl Harbor, American preparedness, American POWs, POW camps in America, women in the workforce, women in the military, Japanese internment camps, or American Indian "Code Talkers," to name just a few. After sifting through the possibilities, I picked three that caught my attention and that I felt would make the war and the experience of those who lived through it, more personal to the students. The three items I chose to make into lesson plans were: a poetic eyewitness account of an island battle, the experiences of three young soldiers, and the black Americans' experience of racial prejudice as they fought to become military aviators. Each of these helps the student experience World War II as those who were there did, to see it through their eyes.

This Senior Thesis is designed to be of immediate use. After having taught World War II to my students at Plainwell High School, I felt it needed to be better. I felt that the students needed to have something that they could connect with. So, after much thought on topics for a Senior Thesis (traditional massive research paper vs. something that could be used), I decided to make three lesson plans that could be dropped into any unit on World War II. The following pages contain those lesson plans I put together. The pull together the timeless resources of the archives with the technological sources of the Internet. Everything needed to teach the lessons are included. Enjoy!

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only