Japanese Internment Process During WWII
Janie VandeBerg, a teacher at Spokane School District 81 Shadle High School, developed this curriculum plan on the Japanese immigration and WWII experience for the 9th grade Global Issues curriculum. The plan includes reading and writing excercies, and a PowerPoint presentation.
- Lesson Plan Outline/Sequence
- Section I-Module Overview & Pre-WWII Immigration (Lesson Materials, Additional teacher materials and resources)
- Section 2-Events Leading to the relocation of Japanese Americans (Lesson Mateirals, Additional teacher materials and resources)
- Section 3-Life in the Camps
- Section 4-Post-War Resettlement and Redress (Lesson Materials, Additional teacher materials and resources)
This module is an overview of the Japanese Internment process during WWII. Coverage will include a brief background of the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the 1942 government order to gather Japanese-Americans and move them from the Pacific Coast areas. The majority of the module will be based on the location of the centers, the effect on the private lives of Japanese-American individuals in the PNW, issues of freedom of movement, and the specifics of the relocation process. Primary and secondary source documents will be used throughout the module to provide students with information on the views and opinions of Japanese-Americans during the time period.
Spokane School District requires all 9th grade students to complete a 1-year course of Social Studies called Global Issues. The curriculum contains 8 units of study. One of those units being Human Rights Issues. Required within the Human Rights unit is a module on Japanese Internment in the Pacific Northwest. One of the main outcomes of the Global Issues class is to give students an opportunity to connect past events with current-day situations. This module attempts to address this outcome by comparing an historical example of racial prejudice and stereotyping with our current situation after the 9/11 attack. Another of the outcomes we strive for in our curriculum is to have students become more empathetic about other cultures, times, and ethnicities, so that they can become a more tolerant individual. Again, this module strives to show students, through the use of primary and secondary source documents, as well as demonstrations, activities, multi-media, and discussion, what it would be like to face this type of racial stereotyping.
Scheduling within the Human Rights Unit:
The Japanese Internment module is the second module I teach in the Human Rights unit. Students receive information about the Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations prior to learning about Japanese Internment. After learning about Japanese-Americans, they continue the unit with modules on the 1970’s in Cambodia and Pol Pot’s regime, then a module on current-day human right’s violations, such as women’s rights, the situation in Afghanistan and/or Iraq, and the civil rights in America. The entire Human Rights unit is completed in approximately 7 weeks, with the majority of the unit spent on Japanese Internment and current-day events.
Shadle Park High School is on a modified block schedule, with each class meeting 3-days a week for a total of 250 minutes. I have used minutes, instead of days, in the lesson outline to give a better approximation of time used for this module.
Geog: 3.3.3a Evaluate how the numerous subcultures that comprise a national culture interact and examine the consequences of their interaction.
Hist: 1.1.3b Compare and evaluate competing historical narratives, analyze multiple perspectives, and challenge arguments of historical inevitability.
Hist: 1.3 Examine the relationship between foreign policy and international conflict and the suspension or distortion of domestic human rights.
Civics: 2.2 Explain and give examples of situations in which personal, political, or economic rights are in conflict.
Civics: 2.3 Analyze the impact of public opinion and government policies on constitutional interpretation and civil liberties.
Geog: 3.3 Analyze and compare political, social, and economic discrimination against minority groups in the Pacific Northwest and different regions of the world.
Overarching enduring understandings for this unit: (Human Rights) All human beings deserve certain basic rights to preserve freedom, justice, and peace in the world.
Topical enduring understandings for this module: The relocation of Japanese-Americans during World War II, from the Pacific Coast, was a violation of the basic rights which should be afforded every individual.
Overarching essential questions for this unit: (Human Rights unit, in general)
- What are human Rights, and how do we protect them?
- Should terrorism and war in the world justify violating a person’s human rights?
- What areas of the world are human rights violations occurring today?
- Topical essential questions for this unit: (Japanese Internment module)
- Why did the U.S. require Japanese-Americans to be relocated?
- What was the response of Japanese-Americans? How did they feel about it?
- What was it like in the relocation camps?
- Was this relocation justified? Would we ever do it again?
Enabling knowledge (“What skills and conceptual knowledge must students possess in order to demonstrate understanding – especially on performance tasks?”)
Explanation: Describe the government’s process for incarcerating Japanese-Americans from the bombing of Pearl Harbor to relocation.
Interpretation: Make meaning of photographs of relocation and primary source government documents.
Perspective: Criticize the government’s position in the relocation mandate in regards to Human Rights Violations.
Empathy: Assume the role of a Japanese American to understand the effects of relocation.
Self-Knowledge: Reflect on the conditions that forced the relocation of Japanese Americans during WWII, and apply this knowledge to personal feelings about recent racial stereotyping of people of Middle Eastern descent in the United States.