Submitted by galactikcat on Thu, 2005-10-27 02:57.U.S. History
Fighting for Democracy, Fighting for Me
This unit weaves together the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy’s Curricular Understandings with state and national learning standards and current events to help students gain a better understanding of how their lives are connected to those who have struggled in the past for the power, privilege, and equal standing promised to them by the U.S. Constitution.
Students begin by investigating specific individuals involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom and working backward to stories from World War II. Students will review documents such as the Four Freedoms speech, as well as less prominent documents that depict the conflicts faced by individuals during World War II. Evidence gathered will help students respond to the essential question, “If somebody is denied power, privilege, and equal standing with other Americans, how should he or she respond?”
Grade Level: 9-12
Subjects: U.S. History
Unit Duration: Projected length of time is 2 class periods
Lessons can be modified and extension activities can be easily added.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: If somebody is denied power, privilege, and equal standing with other Americans, how should he or she respond?
GUIDING QUESTION FOR LESSON FIVE: How did African Americans, Japanese Americans, and Mexican Americans respond when they were denied power, privilege, and equal standing during World War II?
After hearing President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Day of Infamy speech, students will evaluate various groups’ responses to World War II by examining multiple primary and secondary sources.
Students will create oral presentations describing how various groups were denied power and privilege during World War II and how these groups responded by creating opportunities and/or taking action.
1. Point out some of the events leading up to U.S. participation in World War II:
September 1, 1939 - Hitler invades Poland and World War II begins
January 6, 1941 - Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech
December 7, 1941 - Japan attacks Pearl Harbor
December 8, 1941 - Roosevelt addresses U.S. Congress and asks it to declare war on Japan
(Remind students that a president cannot declare war; only Congress can do so.)
2. Select a student to read an excerpt of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s December 8, 1941 address before Congress. (Document 5-1)
Set the stage for the speech by dimming the lights and asking students to imagine that they have not yet heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor because communication technology isn’t yet sophisticated enough. Ask them to imagine that they are listening to the radio in the evening with their families and they hear the speech. Then, read the speech. Alternately, an audio clip can be found at http://www.radiochemistry.org/history/video/fdr_infamy.html.
3. Using background knowledge of the Voting Rights and Citizenship timeline, the Four Freedoms speech, and President Roosevelt’s request to declare war, students will now explore how different groups of Americans responded to the dilemmas presented to them during World War II.
4. Divide students into groups of no more than four and give each group a packet of cards. The packet focuses on one group of Americans (African Americans, Mexican Americans, or Japanese Americans) and contains:
One Activity Card with a set of discussion questions and a task
Six Resource Cards with information to support discussion questions and the task
Note about the Resource Cards: These resource cards represent only three groups of Americans. Resource cards about other groups of Americans can be created for even richer classroom discussion.
5. One student in each group should act as a facilitator to guide the group to:
Study the Resource Cards
Answer the Discussion Questions
Complete the Tasks
Prepare to present the completed Tasks to the whole class
6. During each group’s presentation, have students in the audience take notes on the accompanying handout. (Student Activity Sheet 5-2) These notes will be needed for a future writing assignment.