World War II Media Literacy Education Lesson Plan


Unit Title: World War II

Grade Level: 11th Grade American History

Lesson Title: America on the Homefront

Overview: This lesson would be included during the World War II Unit. The students should already have covered how the war started, the US involvement before Pearl Harbor, the US entering the war in both Europe and the Pacific, the genocide of Jewish people in Europe, the internment of Japanese and Japanese Americans in the US, and who is involved in the war. This lesson should be offered before the lesson on the ending of the War in the Pacific and in Europe. This lesson will teach students what efforts were made here at home in the US to assist in the war time effort. This lesson will touch upon key terms/events/names like rationing, war bonds, Uncle Sam, Rosie the Riveter, and propaganda. Since the students have already completed 8th Grade American History, most of this should be recalled from their prior knowledge. Introducing media literacy education and decoding techniques will be the target goal for this lesson.

Learning Objectives:

• Students will be able to recall the definition of key terms like rationing, war bonds, and propaganda;

• Students will be able to describe who was included as the people on the Homefront;

• Students will be able to summarize how propaganda was used to aid the war effort in the United States during World War II;

• Students will be able to make connections between what was asked of the American people and how it would impact the United States during World War II;

• Students will be able to apply the NAMLE Key Questions to analyzing political cartoons/war posters;

• Students will be able to incorporate decoding techniques to identify the truth behind media messages;

• Students will be able to create their own war time propaganda posters that would have been distributed in the United States during World War II.

Key Terms: World War II, Homefront, Rationing, Propaganda, War Bonds, War Powers Act, Rosie the Riveter, Liberty Loan Drives.

Prerequisites: It is vital going in to this lesson that each student has a good understanding of the World War II Unit up to this point. Make sure to look for any cultural factors that may interfere with learning and any disabilities that may prevent the ability to complete this lesson.

Time Needed: 90 minutes

Materials Needed: Reading materials (textbook or online link to unit), NAMLE Key Decoding Questions Sheet, lesson posters, PowerPoint/poster visual, pencils, pens, paper, markers, construction paper, computer with internet access, printer.


• Review what has been learned so far regarding the beginnings of World War II and the United States involvement in both Europe and the Pacific; (5 minutes)

• Have each student take out their textbook or bring up their online visual of the lesson’s reading titled, The American Homefront (link: ); (1 minute)

• Have each student read through the section and field any questions that arise. Ask questions about the reading and ask for volunteers to make sure of transfer. Ask students what they thought of the visuals used in the reading; (15 minutes)

• Distribute War Time Posters Worksheet to each student. Go over the NAMLE Key Questions listed on the sheet and explain that students will be using this worksheet to answer questions in regards to real war time posters that were distributed to the American people during World War II. Explain that by using these questions, students will gain a deeper understanding of the posters than if they were just to look at them War Time Posters Worksheet. Field any questions; (4 minutes)

• Students will work independently to answer the key questions regarding three War Time Posters. They should be able to use the internet if need be but should be able to use their critical thinking skills and prior knowledge to be able to answer the questions; (15 minutes)

• After the required allotted time has passed, review each War Time Poster and ask for volunteers to share their answers. Explain the importance of being able to decode these pieces of media so that students are able to be literate when viewing historical documents like this; (15 minutes)

• Have a discussion about what the students thought went well and what was challenging in decoding these messages. Make sure the students understand the impact these posters had on the Homefront. If possible, incorporate a teachable moment about how media has an impact on our lives today; (10 minutes)

• Break your class into workable groups (at least 2 and no more than 4) and assign that each group will create their own War Time Poster. They may do so either with the use of the computer or using hand written materials. They will have the remaining class time to create their poster and then present it to the class. The students will be assessed on their presentation of the poster and understanding of how their media message would be viewed by their classmates. Classmates and the teacher will ask follow up questions from the NAMLE Key Questions work sheet to make sure that the group who created their poster, comprehends what their message was. (25 minutes)

Assessment: The NAMLE Key Questions Worksheet will be collected and graded to see that all questions were answered correctly. The students will also be assessed on the poster that they created with their group as well as their ability to answer the NAMLE questions asked by their peers and the teacher.

Moving Forward: Media literacy education is a great skill to teach your students. Going forward in your future units, make sure yo incorporate ways to use the NAMLE Key Questions and decoding strategies to help your students become media literate.

Return to: Lesson Three- How to Connect This With Your Social Studies World War II Unit