Inspiration 2: Internment Camps
Posted by newbie-tchr at 4:44 pm in 1

For the second change to my curriculum, I was inspired by a new WWII book I’m reading called “The Great Escape,” a novel that details the plight of British and American POW’s in German camps.

Often when people teach about WWII, we discuss Japanese internment camps in a brief, cursory manner. What I wanted to do instead was to spend a day focusing on the experience of the Japanese-American citizens in the camps, before having students debate in assigned roles whether or not the government should have the right to do such a thing.

For the resources I would use to have kids get a closer look at life in the internment camps, I plan on having a few computers set up with the following websites up: The first is a site from the National Park Service that looks at the experiences in certain “relocation centers.” The second is a gallery of photos taken by the famous Ansel Adams that document the experience, and the third is a site from PBS that has many primary sources, including Executive order 9066 and the history of what happened in 1988 when victims were issued apology and reparations.

After students have had time to explore all the sites, most likely accompanied by some self-made graphic organizers, I plan on having a discussion on whether or not the government should be allowed to put citizens in internment camps, and what sorts of things can/if ever it can be justified.

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