Attack on Pearl Harbor (6-8)

Attack on Pearl Harbor (6-8)

I can explain the cause of the Pearl Harbor attacks, describe the attacks and...

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Attack on Pearl Harbor (6-8)

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In this lesson, students learn about what events led up to the attacks on Pearl Harbor and the response from President Roosevelt and the United States. Students will analyze the president's speech and reflect on the causes and effects of the attacks.



Learning objective

Students will be able to explain the causes and effects of the Pearl Harbor attacks.


Begin by reviewing World War II and the initial role of the United States. Ask students what it means to be “neutral” and why they believe the US chose to remain neutral during this time. Go over the Axis Powers and show these countries on a map. Explain why tensions rose between the US and Japan prior to the Pearl Harbor attacks. Have students work with a partner to review what they’ve learned so far.


Describe the attacks on Pearl Harbor and discuss why Japan took this action. Explain that the attack came as a complete surprise to the United States. Have students reflect on other “surprise attacks” they can think of that have had a significant historical impact. Next, watch and analyze a video of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “Day of Infamy” speech. You might choose to have students work in groups to analyze and respond to the discussion questions.

Students will then drag the countries into the correct box (Axis Powers or Allied Powers). Have students observe the image of the poster on the interactive whiteboard. Students will analyze the image with the provided questions. Students will then learn about the Japanese internment camps and the tragic effects of this course of action. Students will reflect on this part of our history and fill out a graphic organizer recalling the causes and effects they’ve learned about in the lesson.


Students respond to ten true/false and multiple-choice questions.


Have students write a diary entry as an observer describing the attacks on Pearl Harbor.

Teaching tips

You may choose to print FDR’s speech and distribute it to students to annotate and analyze more closely individually, in groups, or with a partner.

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