Order 9066—Letters to Friends
Time Allotted: 80 min
Grade Level: 5th
Number of Learners: 30
Unit Theme: “Why
were Japanese-Americans interned, and what affects did internment have on their
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).
The learners will examine the role of the United
States leaders during WWII and will
determine who was making decisions by reading historical documents and writing
letters in which they will develop, identify, and interpret examples of
stereotyping, conformity, and altruism. (stand. 7 obj. 2; NCSS 4g)
Materials Needed: copy of Executive Order 9066 http://www.pbs.org/childofcamp/history/eo9066.html
, 60 sheets of lined paper, 30 pencils, 30 erasers, 30 envelopes.
Call upon the previous lessons about Pearl Harbor. Ask students to recall facts
and feelings they had while learning about Pearl Harbor. Were they scared, confused, angry? (5
and discuss the Executive Order 9066.
Who was to be evacuated?
Where were they going? What
reasons were given for evacuation?
Was the US
justified in making the Executive Order 9066—explain. (15 min)
the student to visualize themselves in the setting of three days after Pearl
Harbor. They have a best
friend who lives next door that is Japanese-American. Direct the students to write a letter to
this friend. They may write about
being scarred, saying good-bye, confusion, or even being angry. (15 min)
they are finished, instruct the students to fold their letter and put it
in the provided envelope. Have them
print their names on the front (return address position). Then, they must
find a partner to switch with. (3
everyone has switched, instruct the students to open the letter and
respond in another letter to the writer.
In this letter, they are no longer the “average American”, they are
the Japanese-American best friends.
the students to fold their letter and put it in the same envelope. Instruct them to return it to the
“return address”. (2 min)
the students to read the letters they received.
the students to share with the class.
What did you write and why?
What was the response? Was
the response what you expected? (5 min)
the discussion guiding it towards stereotyping and whether or not the
Executive Order 9066 was justified.
Should all the Japanese-Americans be interned? How would you choose which ones were if
any? How could the Executive Order
9066 been changed? (10 min)
the students reflect upon their letters and the ones they received. Ask them to discriminate between multiple
points of view through direct question such as what view did you take? Why did you decide to write that way? How did you feel when you read the
response? Did your opinion change? Instruct them to write a short summary of the
activity on the back of their first letter.
Put the envelope, with letters and summary, into their portfolios. (12
learners may work with a partner for the writing or may draw pictures with
short captions. For help reading, they
may ask the letter writer or teacher for extra help.
When having the closure discussion, listen for answers of
explanations on stereotyping. Can the
student discriminate between opinions and come to a conclusion? Review portfolio summaries of students who
did not participate in the discussion.
student finish writing early, they may include a picture in their letter.