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Japanese Internment Camps

Lesson Author
Grade Level(s)
Lesson Abstract
To assist students in developing analytical skills that will enable them to evaluate primary sources and images such as documents, photographs, political cartoons and posters related to the Japanese Internment Camps during World War II.

This lesson can be integrated into classroom activities by individual students, cross curricular with Language Arts and/or as a cooperative learning endeavor.  Students will analyze Internet websites and access links to a variety of primary and secondary documents.

Rationale (why are you doing this?)
  • To assist students in developing analytical skills that will enable them to evaluate primary sources and images such as documents, photographs, political cartoons and posters related to the Japanese Internment Camps during World War II
  • To introduce students to the Stanford History Educational Group’s Reading Like A Historian teaching strategies to help them investigate historical questions by employing the following reading strategies: Sourcing, Contextualizing, corroborating and close reading
Lesson Objectives - the student will
  • Analyze historical data through the use of primary source documents, posters, photographs and political cartoons
  • Develop a sense of historical understanding of the internees' experiences during and after the Internment.
  • Evaluate the themes of tolerance and prejudice towards the Japanese during World War II
  • Scrutinize the implementation of Executive Order 9066
District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met

Omaha, NE Public Schools 9th Grade U.S. History Standards

01: Examine and analyze conflict and resolution both domestically and internationally in the 20th and 21st centuries 03: Interpret (writing, discussion and debate) primary and secondary sources

11th Grade. Modern History

04: Explain how certain cultural characteristics such as language, ethnic heritage, religion, political philosophies, shared history and social and economic system can link or divide regions and cause global conflicts in the 20th Century such as World War II and the Cold War

National United States History Standards for Grades 5-12

Standard 2: The student comprehends a variety of historical sources:

Standard 3: The causes and course of World War II, the character of the war at home and

       abroad, and its reshaping of the U.S. role in world affairs 

Thinking Standard 3: The student engages in historical analysis and interpretation:

Thinking Standard 4: The student conducts historical research:

Thinking Standard 5: The student engages in historical issues-analysis and decision-making

State: Nebraska 

NE Dept. of Edu.


SS 12.4.2 (US) Students will analyze and evaluate the impact of people, events, ideas, and symbols upon

US history using multiple types of sources.

SS 12.4.2.c (US) Analyze and evaluate the appropriate uses of primary and secondary sources

SS 12.4.3 (US) Students will analyze and evaluate historical and current events from multiple perspectives

SS 12.4.4.a (US) Compare and evaluate contradictory historical narratives of Twentieth-Century U.S. History

through determination of credibility, contextualization, and corroboration

SS 12.4.5.b (US) Obtain, analyze, evaluate, and cite appropriate sources for research about Twentieth-Century

U.S. History, incorporating primary and secondary sources (e.g., Cite sources using a prescribed format)

SS 12.4.5.c (US) Gather historical information about the United States (e.g., document archives, artifacts,

newspapers, interviews)

SS 12.4.5.d (US) Present an evaluation of historical information about the United States (e.g., pictures, posters,

oral/written narratives and electronic presentations)


Common Core


Key Ideas and Details

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.3 Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.

Craft and Structure

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.5 Analyze in detail how a complex primary source is structured, including how key sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text contribute to the whole.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.6 Evaluate authors’ differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors’ claims, reasoning, and evidence.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.8 Evaluate an author’s premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.9 Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.
Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed

Smithsonian in Your Classroom.  “”Letters  from A Japanese American Internment Camp.” Pp. 42-60. Fall, 2002

Special Section: Fifty Years of United States-Japanese Foreign Relations.  Social /Education.  Pp. 433-458.  November/December 1991.

The Home Front. World War II.  Japanese American.”  American History Illustrated.  Pp. 31-34.  July, 1979.

Primary sources needed (document, photograph, artifact, diary or letter, audio or visual recording, etc.) needed

Ansel Adams’s Photographs of Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar




Dorothea Lange.  Omen Come to the Front.  Japanese Americans


Internment Camps in America


Japanese Internment. Political Cartoons


Korematsu v. United States. December 18,1944.

Library of Congress. Japanese American Internment


National Archives.  Teaching With Documents and Photographs Related to Japanese Relocation During World War II