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Lesson Plan

Pearl Harbor by Discovery Education

Course, Subject

United States History and Government, Social Studies, Social Studies (NYS K-12 Framework Common Core)

Grade Levels

Commencement, 9th Grade, 10th Grade, 11th Grade


Students will

  • research the events that took place at Pearl Harbor;
  • write an in-depth article as though they experienced those events firsthand; and
  • discuss what lessons can be learned from Pearl Harbor.


  • Paper and pencils
  • Computer with Internet access


  1. Set the stage for the lesson by showing a few segments of the video Pearl Harbor . Encourage students to imagine what it was like when the military base at Pearl Harbor was surprised by the Japanese attack.
  2. Tell students that their assignment is to write a newsmagazine story about Pearl Harbor as though they were living at the time. Students can write a general article about the attack or one from the perspective of military or medical personnel. Students could also write an article from a Japanese perspective.
  3. Give students enough time in class to do their research; the Web sites below have helpful information. Suggest that students download pictures from the Internet to include in their articles. And encourage them to use vivid language to make the events come alive for the reader.

     Have students share their articles with the class. Make sure they include in their presentations the perspective of their article and the experiences of the individuals featured.

      Conclude the lesson by asking students what they have learned about Pearl Harbor that they can apply to the present day.


Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.

  • Three points: Students completed their research carefully and thoroughly, wrote an informative, creative article, and were able to apply what happened at Pearl Harbor to the present day.
  • Two points: Students completed their research, wrote a competent article, and made some comparisons between what happened at Pearl Harbor and the present day.
  • One point: Students did not complete their research, wrote an article with gaps and misunderstandings, and had a hard time applying what happened at Pearl Harbor to the present day.


Battleship Row:
Definition: The area where the U.S. battleships were moored and the target of the Japanese attack
Context: Eight battleships moored along Battleship Row were damaged during the attack, but after repairs six returned to service.

Pearl Harbor:
Definition: A naval air base on the island of Oahu in Hawaii and the site of the surprise attack by the Japanese on December 7, 1941
Context: Immediately following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States entered World War II.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt:
Definition: The President of the United States who served four terms, from November 1932 until his death in 1945
Context: On Monday, December 8, 1941, Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the declaration of war presented by Congress.

U.S.S. Arizona:
Definition: A U.S. battleship hit by the Japanese during their attack on Pearl Harbor
Context: The Japanese explosion destroyed the U.S.S. Arizona, causing her to sink to the bottom of the sea, along with 1,300 men who were onboard.


Access this resouce at:

Pearl Harbor

Content Provider

Discovery Education


Discovery Education offers a breadth and depth of digital media content that is immersive, engaging and brings the world into the classroom to give every student a chance to experience fascinating people, places, and events. All content is aligned to state standards, can be aligned to custom curriculum, and supports classroom instruction regardless of the technology platform.


Whether looking for a digital media library service, an implementation to help you transition your classroom to a 21st century environment or to move completely to replace textbooks with digital resources, Discovery Education offers a continuum of solutions to meet your district's specific needs. In addition, we offer real-time assessment services and a variety of professional development to ensure effective implementation in the classroom. You know your needs. We know our services. Together we can create an effective solution.


And, add the vast number of additional classroom instruction opportunities available such as virtual experiences, compelling Discovery talent, free lesson plans and materials, and a variety of contests and challenges and with Discovery Education teachers are truly able to give students opportunities to soar beyond the traditional textbook for endless possibilities.

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