Overview and Rationale


This unit on Japanese American Internment is designed for a fifth grade classroom.  The unit itself gives a short overview of World War II (Utah Core Standards) and focuses on the internment and the affect on the nation’s people (citizenship and economy).   The average social studies classroom does not teach controversy.  However, preparation for an adult life comes through exposure to debates and opposing sides of an issue. Throughout the unit, students will be faced with controversial opinions. They will be asked to take an “imaginative entry” into the past and view each situation from multiple sides (Levstick and Barton, 2001).  Participating in the classroom lectures and activities will help the students “develop critical sensitivities” (NCSS 2e) allowing them to “neither ignore…nor…passively accept someone else’s historical interpretations” (Levstick and Barton, 2001).  Students will then have the knowledge and understanding to confidently and critically evaluate not only the issue of internment but also numerous other issues that face each child today.