Lesson Plan

WWII- Manhattan Project

In this lesson, students will learn the significance of the role that Oak Ridge, TN played in World War II.
Kylie C.
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My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies

Students will be able to...

  • Explain the importance of Oak Ridge during WWII.
  • Identify Oak Ridge on a map.
  • Explain what the Manhattan Project is and its effect on WWII.


Tn State Social Studies Standards:

Life in the United States


2.36 Explain the connection between a series of events in United States history. Teachers may choose any events. Some suggestions are as follows: Jamestown, Plymouth, Westward Expansion, Trail of Tears, Industrial Revolution, ellis Island, Suffreage Movement, Great Depression, Dust Bowl, the Civil Rights Movements, and wars involving the United States.

Social Studies
Grades 2
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Activity: Exploring

Youtube Video(s)  about World War 2

History in 5 http://youtu.be/JSf3GOMziOg

Birthplace of the Atomic Bomb http://youtu.be/b7wrSI3ORUE

The students will watch both videos about the Manhattan Project and the role of Oak Ridge, TN in the project.

2 Instruction


Instructional Procedures

(This is the body of the lesson plan; it is the way in which information is shared with students and the methods used to help them assume a level of mastery of that material.)

26 minutes

After watching the videos, the students will each be given a bag of letters that spell the vocabulary words.  Students will work together to figure out how to unscramble the letters to create their vocabulary words.  Students will be instructed to keep very silent while working and not discuss anything with their group.  Once students have finished unscrambling their words, they will work with their small group to figure out how to arrange each word in a way that creates a statement regarding World War II.  Again, the students will be instructed to not speak to one another while completing this task.  This will simulate the work done in Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project, as plant workers were not allowed to discuss the jobs they were doing - even with their families and close friends.


Each group will read their sentences to the class.  Sentences will be checked for correctness.  As a class, discuss the meaning of each statement as an introduction to the lesson.  


Students will begin assembling their World War II lap books.  Each student should be given 2 pieces of construction paper.  Each piece should be folded in half vertically and taped together at the long end.


The teacher will pull up Oak Ridge, TN on Google Earth so that it is viewable by the whole class.  Students will be given copies of 5 maps that identify America, Tennessee and Oak Ridge.  Discuss each map as it relates to Oak Ridge as a class and refer to the Google Earth map as necessary.  Students will cut each map out and tape them together in a row.  Students will fold the maps accordion style and paste the back section into their lap books (place in the center section at the bottom right).  The teacher will walk around, assisting students when necessary and formatively assess the progress.


Students will each be given a copy of the mini-book The Story of Oak Ridge, Tennessee as Told by Tennessee History for Kids!.  Students will cut out the book pages and assemble them in the appropriate order, stapling them in the center of the pages.  Fold the pages in half to create the book.  As a class, read the book aloud.  Students will underline vocabulary words as they read about them in the book.  Allow students to interject to ask questions, make statements, and share any prior knowledge they may have.  Many students may be able to contribute to the topic, as many may have family members that participated in the Manhattan Project or currently work at one of the factories.  This will be a good opportunity to connect this event to the student in a personal way.  Once the class is finished reading the book, students will paste it into their lap book, next to the map inserts.  The teacher will walk around, assisting students when necessary and formatively assess the progress on their lapbooks.


After the lesson introducing Oak Ridge and the Manhattan Project to the students, instruct students to fold up their lapbooks and put them away.  The lap books will be used in subsequent lessons and additional inserts will be added as the lesson continues.  The lapbook will continue to be a source of formative assessment.  The lapbook will be completed by the end of this unit.


3 Closure

Activity: Assessing

10 minutes

The class will have a short discuss about everything they have learned during the lesson. The students will then take the summative assessment quiz.

10 question quiz on the Atomic Bomb



3 different quizzes about World War 2