Common Sense Review
Updated May 2014

National WWII Museum

High-quality resources and activities offer an in-depth study
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Common Sense Rating 4
  • Both students and teachers have access to an extensive set of materials.
  • Lesson plans engage students in a variety of WWII topics.
  • Featured programs include contests and field trips.
  • The Kids Corner features interactive WWII games and activities.
  • Research Starters offer basic overviews of major events, and suggestions for primary and secondary research sources.
Students will enjoy the online exhibits and activities; teachers will find classroom-ready lessons that support learning.
Some lessons may need to be adapted to improve accessibility for students with special needs.
Bottom Line
Materials and activities support a thorough study of World War II, making this a valuable resource for both teachers and students.
Jennifer Sitkin
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Thoughtful lessons and interactive activities will engage students in fascinating topics related to World War II. The site offers many interesting ways to explore the history and long-term impact of the war.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 5

The lesson plans are grade level appropriate and standards aligned -- many include a variety of instructional strategies. The site's student-facing activities support independent work and exploration.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

Resources include all necessary materials for classroom use, and the museum can be contacted with questions. Directions for student activities are clear and easy to follow. 

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How Can Teachers Use It?

Educators can use resources on the National WWII Museum site in many ways. It's best to take some time to explore all of the site's materials and offerings. An entire unit can be created with the lessons and activities provided, or teachers could pick and choose a few lessons to supplement an existing WWII unit.

If you're assigning a WWII research paper, be sure to include the site's Research Starters section as a resource for your students. Be sure to offer your students in-class time to explore the site. They'll be able to see short overviews of the content, access primary sources, and find links to other recommended sources. They can freely explore all of these resources, or give them some guidelines to focus their experience on specific learning objectives.

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What's It Like?

The National World War II Museum's website provides educators and students with an abundance of learning materials on the war. Under the site's Learn tab, users will find a series of well-organized resources that allow students and teachers to dive into an extensive study. Students can simply read about the war or access the Kids Corner for related interactive games and research assignments. Guidelines on how to conduct an oral history interview are provided, as are research starters on a variety of topics related to the war.

For students who want to extend their learning, there's information about a student essay contest and opportunities for student travel. For teachers, the site offers detailed, standards-aligned lesson plans that include procedures and materials. In addition to the history content, interdisciplinary resources are provided for students and teachers on Victory Gardens and the Science and Technology of WWII. 

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Is It Good For Learning?

The online National World War II Museum is the place to go to find meaningful and engaging resources for exploring the history of World War II. The site's teaching materials are up to date and classroom-ready. Lesson plans go beyond simply learning the facts by also encouraging the development of critical-thinking and literacy skills. For example, in a lesson on D-Day, students read an excerpt of a soldier’s diary to learn about the event and then analyze the value of using a diary as a primary source for historical research.

Student-facing content is accessible for many types of learners, though more accessibility for those with special needs would help the materials reach more kids. Nevertheless, the topics covered are likely be of interest to students as they study the war's history. The site provides multiple options for student engagement, with activities that range from reading about the war to playing interactive games, conducting an oral history, or planting a school victory garden.

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Lesson Plans

  • What If?
    English Language Arts
    Grade 9
    Bethany R.
    WAY Academy of Flint
    Flint, MI
    4 steps
    February 2, 2016