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1 Hour
1 Day
8th - 11th
1942 - 1946
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Academic Standards (1)

Lesson 1: Executive Order 9066

CCSS English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.

NCSS C3 Framework

  • D2.His.1.9-12: Evaluate how historical events and developments were shaped by unique circumstances of time and place as well as broader historical contexts.

Lesson 2: Japanese-American Incarceration

CCSS English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.11-12.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

NCSS C3 Framework

  • D2.His.5.9-12: Analyze how historical contexts shaped and continue to shape people’s perspectives.
Tag with text: War Relocation Authority, Bill Fuchigami
Identification tag for Bill Fuchigami, 1942

Key Terms and Concepts

  • nativism
  • Pearl Harbor
  • Executive Order 9066
  • relocation center
  • Nisei, nisei
  • Issei, issei
  • Fred Korematsu
  • incarceration
  • internee
  • resettlement
  • redress

Essential Questions

How have arguments about national identity, security, and patriotism been employed in the targeting and “othering” of Americans from certain racial, ethnic, religious, or linguistic identity groups?
What are the circumstances and contexts in which American beliefs and attitudes about belonging become less open and more discriminating?


Executive Order 9066

Students will analyze primary and secondary sources to answer the essential question on their Exit Ticket.


Warm Up (1)

  • Have students explore the online exhibit, Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II. To provide necessary background for the lesson, assign reading of the following sections: Japanese Immigration, Racism, Americans by Birth, Fear of the Rising Sun, and December 7, 1941.
  • Have students debrief by discussing the readings with each other in small groups first, and then as a whole class. Sample questions: What did you learn? What was the main idea of the section you read?
  • Teacher Tips
    • If students are seated in groups, you can either jigsaw the sections so that each student teaches the rest of the table group; or jigsaw the entire class to get students up and moving. At each table group, single-round-robin is a strategy to get every student to contribute.
    • If internet access is an issue, the sections can be printed in advance and used as hard copy texts.

Background Reading (1)

As context to the theme of belonging, have students read selected excerpts with the goal of identifying and understanding xenophobia and its related political movement, nativism, in “Contesting the Nation, 1900–1965” (MVON, pgs. 137–154).

Close Reading (1)

  • Provide students with the primary source document, Executive Order 9066. Signed by President Roosevelt in 1942, the order resulted in the relocation and incarceration of nearly 120,000 men, women, and children.
  • Assign students to analyze the document on their own or with a partner, using this written document analysis worksheet.

Primary Source Lab (1)

  • Access and review the internee biographies on the Manzanar National Historic Site Educator Resources page. Brief notes about each internee are included and can be used to make selections from more than sixty ID booklets.
  • Consider: Will you allow students to choose biographies, or will you choose for them in advance? How can you use information about camp locations or the ages and genders of internees? Plan for each student to have an ID booklet.
  • Once everyone has an ID booklet, go around the room and have students introduce their internee to the class, including basic information such as their name, gender, age, and the camp where they were incarcerated. Tell students to consider the experiences and perspective of their internee as they go through the rest of the lesson.
Japanese-American Incarceration

Students will interpret and analyze documents, artifacts, photographs, and maps to draft a narrative that assumes the perspective of another person and has a clear main idea, point of view, and unifying event.


Warm Up (1)

Have students reacquaint themselves with the internee they met in the previous lesson using stand up, hands up, pair up.

Note to educators: This lesson explicitly builds on the previous lesson in this case study.

Primary Source Lab (1)

  • There are several ways you can set up your primary source lab, for instance:
    • Have students work independently or in pairs using the primary sources.
    • Identify, curate, and print a collection of primary sources in advance. Make them available at stations around the classroom.
  • Explain that this primary source lab is meant to help students think about the causes and consequences of this tragic period in American history. Pass out the Note-taking Sheet and assign students to complete it while examining the various primary sources.

In Their Shoes (1)

Assign students the following In Their Shoes writing prompt: “The year is 1946. The War is over, Japanese internees have been sent home and all of the camps closed. Imagine you are [internee]. It is important to you that no one forgets what happened and what it was like for you personally. So, you’re writing a letter, telling your future kin (children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews) what it was like to experience removal, incarceration, and resettlement.”

Exit Ticket (1)

The Day of Apology and Sigh of Relief provided reparations in the form of an apology and financial compensation to Japanese Americans who were incarcerated by the U.S. government during World War II. Have students write a short note to their internee, sharing this news and giving their opinion of whether the apology repairs the wrongdoing.