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Educational Resources

From woolly mammoths to Native American communities to World War II, we provide audio resources and stories from witnesses and people connected to Minnesota’s history and culture.

Minnesota Contributions to WWII

Lesson Duration: 55 Min

Materials Needed:
Condensed overview of WWII video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUqy-OQvVtI
District technology: iPads, Chromebooks, Computer Lab
Poster making supplies: makers, board, glue, etc.

Lesson Description:
This lesson teaches students about the contributions of Minnesota and its people to WWII. Students will be given a brief history of the war and then given the opportunity to hear personal stories of people who were there or helped in the war effort. Students will then be able to create a profile of that person in poster form.

MN 2011 Social Studies Standard/Benchmark: Identify contributions of Minnesota and its people to World War II? describe the impact of the war on the home front and Minnesota society after the war. (The Great Depression and World War II: 19201945)

Goal: Learning targets/objectives/”I can” statements:

  • I can understand a brief history of WWII.
  • I can identify a contribution of Minnesota to the WWII war effort.
  • I can create a poster describing a contribution of Minnesota to WWII.

Access Prior knowledge: 10 minutes
To start the lesson, create a “what we know” forum. Write “WWII” in the center of the board with a circle drawn around it. Then ask students to tell you what they know about the war. You are creating a concept web illustrating the knowledge of your students in regards to WWII. As students share, write down their feedback as the facts/ events connect to WWII and each other. Use your knowledge of the war to organize it and elaborate upon when necessary. After the feedback from students starts to slow, pose the question, where does Minnesota fit into all of this? Did any of these events affect Minnesota and its people? If students are finding it hard to make connections, ask students if WWII happened today, how would it impact themselves and Minnesota?

New Information: 10 Minutes.
Then project a short video giving a condensed overview of WWII as it played out domestically and abroad. Add any new and important information to the concept web on the board. Ask students if they have any new ideas of how Minnesota was affected by WWII. You are trying to get students to realize that war affects everyone, and to make war happen, an entire nation’s people, resources, and production have to contribute even if there are little to no famous connections to a particular place or person.

Play ‘The Woman Veteran’ segment from the Ampers website: http://ampers.org. Tell students that Jeanne is just one Minnesotan who contributed to WWII. Introduce to students what they will be doing to apply what they have learned today. Use ‘The Woman Veteran’ to model what your students will produce. Students will find a segment from the Ampers series Veteran’s Voices: World War II.  They will then make a profile of that person in poster form. The poster must include the name of the person, their contribution to WWII, an illustration of that contribution, and an additional fact or statement that contextualizes or elaborates upon that contribution. Ask students how they would make the poster of the segment they just listened to. Create the example poster as students give feedback. What was her name: Jeanne Bearmon. What did they contribute to WWII: Female Captain in Women’s Army Corps. What could you illustrate for this contribution? How could you elaborate upon or contextualize this contribution? Students can research the Women’s Army Corps or research more information on how women contributed to WWII.

Apply: 25 minutes.
Students will now have the opportunity to go to the Veteran’s Voices: World War II series website and choose a segment that informs them on a Minnesotan who contributed to WWII. They will be given 25 minutes to listen to the video and create their poster.

Generalize (closure): 10 minutes
After students have completed their posters, ask for volunteers to share their posters and the information put on them. After each student shares, include the contribution to the concept web started at the beginning of class to further contextualize the contributions of Minnesotans to WWII.

While students are working, meet with each student to make sure they understand what is expected of them. Monitor each student’s progress and re-teach when you find a student misunderstanding an expectation. Stop the whole class if a clarification is needed based on your assessment of student progress.

Exit ticket idea:
As you are dismissing students from class, ask students to name a way that Minnesota contributed to World War II. You can do this individually, by table or row, or by project groups.

A poster that describes the contribution of a Minnesotan to WWII.

Extended lesson project idea:
After this lesson, have your class take the concept map created in class and turn it into a large wall display outside your room, in a hallway, or on an accommodating wall in your classroom. Attach the posters made by the students to the applicable areas of the concept map.


Ampers Website: The Woman Veteran
Ampers Website: World War II
Overview of WWII video

Supported by...

McKnight FoundationPohlad family foundationThe Minneapolis FoundationSaint Paul & Minnesota Foundation