Teach PA History
Remembering WWII Through Memorials
What to Know
Teaching Time
2- 50 minute class periods
Grade Level
Elementary School
  • Arts and Humanities
  • Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
  • History
Historical Period
  • The Great Depression and World War II - 1929-1945

Pennsylvania's contribution to World War II was both large and varied. Because of its steel industry the state contributed an incredible amount of the equipment and machinery needed to win the war and therefore became known as "the Arsenal of America." Much of this equipment was manufactured with the hands of women who had never before worked in the work force. Pennsylvania was home to many brave soldiers and generals who served in the war, as well as home to those who sacrificed on the homefront. In this lesson students will take a look at a few Pennsylvanians whose contributions to the war were significant: a young Czechoslovakian who fought at Iwo Jima, a woman who took to the skies, and an African American woman whose efforts on the homefront raised over $2 million worth of war bonds to fund the war. These individual stories will also be a window to discuss the war experience of larger sociological groups, African Americans and women in particular. Students will work in groups to create a memorial for these individuals/groups. To prepare students for their project they will first explore the topic of memorials.

  • What are memorials?

  • Why are they built?

  • What are different forms of memorials?

  • How does the design of the memorial support its purpose?

Let's begin by exploring these questions.


Students will be able to:

  1. Define "memorial" and understand its purposes.

  2. Identify different types of memorials.

  3. Read and analyze images of wartime experiences.

  4. Discuss the importance of specific Pennsylvanians in the WW II effort.

  5. Work in a group to design a memorial honoring this Pennsylvanian/related group.

  6. Think critically about their memorial design.

  7. Present their memorial to the class.

Standards Alignment

  • Arts and Humanities

    9.1.5. E. Knows and demonstrates how arts can communicate experiences, stories or emotions through the production of works in the arts
    9.2.5. E. Analyze how historical events and culture impact forms, techniques and purposes of works in the arts.

  • History

    8.3.6. B. Identify and explain primary documents, material artifacts and historic sites important in United States history from Beginnings to 1824.
    8.3.6. C. Explain how continuity and change has influenced United States history.
    8.3.6. D. Identify conflict and cooperation among groups.
    8.4.6. A. Identify and explain how individuals and groups made significant political and cultural contributions to world history.
    8.4.6. B. Identify and explain important documents, material artifacts, and historic sites in World history.

  • Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening

    1.1.5. G. Summarizes main ideas of the text
    1.2.5. A. Read and understand essential content of informational texts and documents in all academic areas.
    1.4.3. B. Write informational pieces.
    1.6.5. A. Listen to others.
    1.6.5. B. Listen to a selection of literature (fiction and/or nonfiction).
    1.6.5. C. Speak using skills appropriate to formal speech situations.
    1.6.5. D. Contribute to discussions.
    1.6.5. E. Participate in small and large group discussions and presentations.

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