Inspiring through Experience

World War II & Vietnam War Memorials

WWII-Vietnam Memorial

LILI Unit: World War II & Vietnam War Memorials

Essential Question:

What was the United States’ involvement in World War II and the Vietnam War?

Pre-trip lesson:  This program introduces students during the course of two pre-trip lessons to two major international conflicts of the 20th century: World War II and the Vietnam War.  Students examine the causes of these conflicts and their effects – both in the U.S. and around the world.  They apply map skills as they track the involvement and alliances of countries in both wars.  In the first lesson, students learn about the events and people that precipitated World War II and led to U.S. involvement – from the violence carried out by Hitler and the Nazis throughout Europe, to Japan’s international aggression in the Pacific and ultimate attack on Pearl Harbor.  In the second lesson, students are introduced to the Cold War and the broader international tensions that created the Vietnam War.  They read and analyze letters from soldiers in Vietnam to help understand why the Vietnam War became so controversial in the U.S. and sparked such heated protests and debates. Students also work with tangrams to develop a conceptual understanding of area.
Level of Difficulty:


Trip:   At the World War II Memorial, students examine bas reliefs depicting various aspects of World War II.  They write captions describing the reliefs, and then share their thoughts with the whole class.  At the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, students learn about the design of the wall and why it was chosen as the appropriate design to commemorate those who perished during the Vietnam War.
Academic Standards:

  • English Language Arts (CC.6.R.I.2, CC.6.L.4.a)
  • Mathematics (CC.6.G.1)
  • Social Studies (6.1.4, 6.2.1)
Post-trip lesson:   As a culminating activity, students create a persuasive poster in the spirit of Vietnam protesters.  They express an opinion about a topic through words, symbols and pictures, and try to persuade others to agree with them.  Students also test their knowledge of 20th century history as they compete in a collaborative review game and take written assessments.