- Be able to explain the sequence of events leading to, during, and following Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941
- Recognize the human dimension of events at Pearl Harbor through the personal accounts of people who were there
- Use a time line to understand historical events in relationship to one another
- Analyze the influence of geographic location and geographic features on political events
- Become familiar with vocabulary associated with war and military combat
- Attack on Pearl Harbor: An Online Learning Activity
Scholastic's We Witnessed the Attack on Pearl Harbor online activity introduces your students to the momentous event of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Through this learning adventure, students will come to know about the events that led to the bombing, read the accounts of Pearl Harbor eyewitnesses, and relive the day Pearl Harbor was bombed through an interactive hour-by-hour account.
Relive December 7 (Grades 5–8)
Relive the day Pearl Harbor was bombed through an interactive hour-by-hour account of the moments before, during, and after Japan's surprise attack. Along the way, visit the Pearl Harbor Activity Stations filled with discussion starters and in-class and online projects.
Meet Pearl Harbor Eyewitnesses (Grades 5–8)
Learn firsthand about the day Pearl Harbor was bombed by reading an interview with Hubert "Dale" Gano, a retired U.S. Navy Commander who was based at Pearl Harbor, and his wife, Margaret Ellen "Johnie" Gano.
Timeline: Pearl Harbor (Grades 5–8)
Travel back in time and discover the key events that led to the date President Franklin Roosevelt said would "live in infamy."
Pearl Harbor Glossary (Grades 5–8)
Relevant terminology is provided in this area of the project. You may wish to print the glossary page as a reference tool for students who may benefit by having the definitions and explanations readily available to help them better understand the concepts explained throughout the story.
Lesson Planning Suggestions
We Witnessed the Attack on Pearl Harbor includes an abundance of information and the flexibility to design its use to meet your classroom's needs. Below are some suggested ways you might use the activity in your school or classroom.
Relive December 7
Begin the study of the story of Pearl Harbor by reviewing the hour-by-hour events, re-creating history with your students. Throughout this section of the project area, use the Activity Station suggestions with several of the chapters to stimulate discussion or as writing prompts for your students.
Meet the Eyewitnesses
Once students have gained a basic familiarity with the historic events of December 7, 1941, explore the personal experience of people who lived through them in the profile and interview with the Ganos. This can also serve as an opportunity to teach your students about the interviewing process. Ask students to then interview family members or older individuals in the community about their memories of Pearl Harbor, or about other significant wartime memories, and to write about and share those interviews with the class.
Explore the History of Japanese American Relations
You may want to assign small groups to research each event on the timeline leading up to December 7. Students can start by clicking each date to access detailed information about the event. The hyperlinked websites within the text will provide additional online resources. Have each group present their event to the class, including their response to the discussion starters related to various items on the timeline.
The links provided suggest teacher-approved websites where your students can safely extend knowledge on this topic using the Internet for further research on World War II.
Art, Reading, Vocabulary, Writing
Talk with your school librarian or media center director about creating a special World War II exhibit area through the library setting, highlighting related fiction and nonfiction works and other special resources in a specific area. As an extension, students can write reports about their readings and illustrate favorite passages to be displayed.
Art, Research Skills
Ask your students to develop their own personal timeline about their families during the years 1941–1945, or a timeline of their own lives. A timeline can be as traditional in format as a listing of events or represented through a chart, photographs, or objects. Provide an opportunity for your students to be true constructivists of their timelines, using whatever medium best fits their personal histories.
Sharing Family Stories
The story of Pearl Harbor provides a way to discuss the importance and power of storytelling using personal experience and remembrance. Discuss with students how oral history makes historical events more real for us. Students can then interview family members and share their histories.
Map Skills, Research
Look at world maps, discovering the location of the historical events described throughout this project. Where did the events occur? How did the events impact your community? Research what life was like in your community during World War II. Compare and contrast life then and now.
There are a variety of assessment opportunities built into this project. Throughout the project, teachers can observe and evaluate:
- Social skills and process through collaborative assignments
- Oral discussion and comprehension skills
- Interviewing process, procedure, and presentation
A rubric for assessment of student participation in this project might include the following general criteria:
|Level One||Level Two||Level Three||Score|
Essay Writing using an Activity Station topic or discussion starter from the timeline
|Misspelling; grammatical errors; not clearly written||Fewer technical mistakes; expressed a point of view but offered no supporting facts||Error-free; well-organized arguments with supporting facts|
Use of a map to demonstrate knowledge of the countries involved in World War II
|Did not establish a knowledge base of historical location||Learned specific information but was unable to demonstrate location when shown a map or globe||Demonstrated on a map or globe familiarity with the location of historical events and our own location|
In-class discussion of the historical significance of Pearl Harbor, giving students an opportunity to answer questions
|Did not demonstrate an understanding of how this event relates to other historical events||Learned specific facts but did not demonstrate understanding of events' impact and importance||Demonstrated an understanding of the events and their impact on political and social history|
National Standards Correlations
Scholastic's We Witnessed the Attack on Pearl Harbor activity helps students meet the following thematic strands identified in the national standards set forth by the National Council for the Social Studies:
- Culture: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of culture and cultural diversity.
- Time, Continuity, and Change: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of the ways human beings view themselves in and over time.
- People, Places, and Environment: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of people, places, and environments.
- Individual Development and Identity: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of individual development and identity.
- Individuals, Groups, and Institutions: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions.
- Power, Authority, and Governance: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of how people create and change structures of power, authority, and governance.
- Global Connections: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of global connections and interdependence.
- Civic Ideals and Practices: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of the ideals, principles, and practices of citizenship in a democratic republic.