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Pearl HarborPearl-Harbor

  • Subject: U.S. History
  • |
  • Grade(s): 9-12
  • |
  • Duration: One or two class periods

Lesson Plan Sections


Students will
  • research the events that took place at Pearl Harbor;
  • write an in-depth article as though they experienced those events firsthand; and
  • discuss what lessons can be learned from Pearl Harbor.


  • Paper and pencils
  • Computer with Internet access


  1. Set the stage for the lesson by showing a few segments of the video Pearl Harbor . Encourage students to imagine what it was like when the military base at Pearl Harbor was surprised by the Japanese attack.
  2. Tell students that their assignment is to write a newsmagazine story about Pearl Harbor as though they were living at the time. Students can write a general article about the attack or one from the perspective of military or medical personnel. Students could also write an article from a Japanese perspective.
  3. Give students enough time in class to do their research; the Web sites below have helpful information. Suggest that students download pictures from the Internet to include in their articles. And encourage them to use vivid language to make the events come alive for the reader.



  4. Have students share their articles with the class. Make sure they include in their presentations the perspective of their article and the experiences of the individuals featured.
  5. Conclude the lesson by asking students what they have learned about Pearl Harbor that they can apply to the present day.

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Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.
  • Three points: Students completed their research carefully and thoroughly, wrote an informative, creative article, and were able to apply what happened at Pearl Harbor to the present day.
  • Two points: Students completed their research, wrote a competent article, and made some comparisons between what happened at Pearl Harbor and the present day.
  • One point: Students did not complete their research, wrote an article with gaps and misunderstandings, and had a hard time applying what happened at Pearl Harbor to the present day.

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Battleship Row
Definition: The area where the U.S. battleships were moored and the target of the Japanese attack
Context: Eight battleships moored along Battleship Row were damaged during the attack, but after repairs six returned to service.

Pearl Harbor
Definition: A naval air base on the island of Oahu in Hawaii and the site of the surprise attack by the Japanese on December 7, 1941
Context: Immediately following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States entered World War II.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Definition: The President of the United States who served four terms, from November 1932 until his death in 1945
Context: On Monday, December 8, 1941, Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the declaration of war presented by Congress.

U.S.S. Arizona
Definition: A U.S. battleship hit by the Japanese during their attack on Pearl Harbor
Context: The Japanese explosion destroyed the U.S.S. Arizona, causing her to sink to the bottom of the sea, along with 1,300 men who were onboard.

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This lesson plan addresses the following standards from the National Council for the Social Studies:
VI. Power, Authority, and Governance
IX. Global Connections
Civic Ideals and Practices

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Marilyn Fenichel, education writer and editor

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