Title:  Where the Camps/Assembly Centers were Located

Time Allotted: 90 min

Grade Level: 5th

Number of Learners: 30


Unit Theme:  “Why were Japanese-Americans interned, and how did the internment affect their lives?”

Standard(s) Met:  (see below)

Goal:  The learners will be able to explain different interpretations from diverse cultural perspectives and frames of reference (NCSS 1b); locate, analyze, organize, and apply information about a public issue recognizing multiple points of view (NCSS 10c).

Objectives:  Learners will map the location of camps and assembly centers to show how geographic features influenced the settlements. (stand. 1 obj. 1)

Material Needed:  30 colored chips (five of six colors), ten cut-outs of two” red squares, 16 cut-outs of one” blue triangles, enlarged poster of Western United States (only shapes of the states drawn), 30 copies of poster (downsized for each student to have a copy), five slips of paper with two relocation camp names and three assembly centers (one slip will have four centers), 30 pencils, 30 erasers, 30 red pencils, 30 blue pencil, tape.  Access to map of camps/assemble centers http://oz.net/~cyu/internment/camps.html


Motivation:  Ask the students to visualize themselves being relocated.  How far from home would they be going?  Where would they stay?  Are any towns around the camps?  How will they get there (bus, car, train)? (5 min)


  1. Pass out colored chips (yellow, red, green, blue, purple) and have the students get into color-coded groups. (2 min)
  2. Pass out one slip of paper to each group. (30 sec)
  3. Ask the students to research and determine whether the names on the slips are names of relocation camps or assembly centers.  Also, have them look for a description of the area around the camp i.e. sand choked, barren wasteland (Topaz).  Use textbooks, literature books, and internet sites.  The above site would be a good source, yet a last resort for students. (15 min)
  4. After ten minutes into the students’ research, instruct them to continue their research on location and also search for a story they could share about the camp (facts, experiences, what went on inside the camp). (10 additional min)
  5. After they have come to their conclusion, ask them to pick up whatever cut-outs they need to contribute to the classroom map (red squares=relocation camps; blue triangles=assembly centers). (3 min)   
  6. Ask for volunteer groups to go first.  Instruct each group that they must state their camp names, tape their squares and triangles on the enlarged map, and share the found facts, stories, or experiences. (30 min)
  7. After each group has had an opportunity for sharing, have the class evaluate the map.  Where were the majority of the assembly centers located?  Where were the relocation camps located?  What type of land and/or climate were the camps/assembly centers located in? (10 min)


Accommodations:  Provide ESL learners with a story that they may share with the class when it is their group’s turn.  If given at the beginning of class, the student will have adequate preparation time and will be able to present to the class orally.  They may ask the teacher for help.


Closure:  Have each group do an evaluation on the camp sites.  Now that they know where they are, why were they located there?  Who was afraid, and who volunteered their land?  What were the positive and negative aspects of the location? What side are they viewing it from?  Instruct the students to place maps in portfolios.   (10 min)


Assessment/Evaluation:  While students are researching, walk the classroom and pick five to seven students to observe.  During the presentation to the class, note how clear and effective the presentation was.  Did the students correctly locate the camps/centers?  Where did they find their story?   Quickly look at the maps of each student to determine whether they could accurately locate and determine cause of location.


Extension:  Encourage extra research for those who easily located their assignment.  Ask them to write a short blurb about the camp or write a poem or short drama act for their class presentation.