Teaching American History Project Lesson
  Julie Wakefield

Author: Julie Wakefield

Unit Title: World War II

Lesson Title: Analyzing Maps of Pearl Harbor

Subject: US History, Geography

Level: 9-12

Length of Lesson: One fifty five minute class period 


The road to war between Japan and the United States began in the 1930s when differences over China drove the two nations apart. In 1931 Japan conquered Manchuria, which until then had been part of China. In 1937 Japan began a long and ultimately unsuccessful campaign to conquer the rest of China. In 1940, the Japanese government allied their country with Nazi Germany in the Axis Alliance, and, in the following year, occupied all of Indochina.

The United States, which had important political and economic interests in East Asia, was alarmed by Japanese aggression. In response, the U.S. increased military and financial aid to China, embarked on a program of strengthening its military power in the Pacific, and cut off the shipment of oil and other raw materials to Japan.

Because Japan was poor in natural resources, its government viewed these steps, especially the embargo on oil as a threat to the nation's survival. Japan's leaders responded by resolving to seize the resource-rich territories of Southeast Asia, even though that move would certainly result in war with the United States.

The problem with the Japanese plan was the danger posed by the U.S. Pacific Fleet based at Pearl Harbor. Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Japanese fleet, devised a plan to immobilize the U.S. fleet at the outset of the war with a surprise attack.

The key elements in Yamamoto's plans were meticulous preparation, the achievement of surprise, and the use of aircraft carriers and naval aviation on an unprecedented scale. In the spring of 1941, Japanese carrier pilots began training in the special tactics called for by the Pearl Harbor attack plan.


Students will be able to recognize and describe the importance elements of the map.

Students will be able to discuss the different points of view of the maps.

Students will be able to identify the purpose of the map.

Students will be able to analyze a primary document.


Nevada State Content Standards:

History Standard 8: The Twentieth Century, a Changing World: 1920 to 1945: Students understand the importance and effect of political, economic, technological, and social changes in the world from 1920 to 1945.
· Benchmark 8:12: 6: Describe the causes, course, character, and effects of World War II, including: campaigns and strategies

Geography Standard 1.0: The World in Spatial Terms: Students use maps, globes, and other geographic tools and technologies to locate and derive information about people, places, and environments.
· Benchmark 1.12.2 Select appropriate maps, map projections, and other representations to analyze and interpret geographic information.
· Benchmark 1.12.5 Analyze maps for similarities and differences in purpose, accuracy, content, and design.

Geography Standard 2.0: Places and Regions: Students understand the physical and human features and cultural characteristics of places and use this information to define and study regions and their patterns of change.
· Benchmark 2.12.3 Compare and contrast the characteristics of places and regions from different points of views.
· Benchmark 2.12.5 Analyze selected historical issues and questions using the geographic concept of regions.


Materials List:

For Opener:
Overhead of Oahu map found at http://www2.hawaii.edu/~benoit/Oahubw.jpg

Class set of Ford Island picture http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/g410000/g411119.jpg

For Lesson:
Colored printout of Japanese map of Pearl Harbor http://www.homeofheroes.com/pearlharbor/fuchida_map.jpg

Black and white printout of U.S. Pearl Harbor map http://www.ccds.charlotte.nc.us/History/Japan/03/rizzo/5map3.gif


In Class Student Activities:
1. (10 minutes) For class opener, pass out copies of picture of Ford Island and put up the overhead of the Oahu shape map. Ask the students the following questions:

1. Where is the picture located within the map?

2. What geographical features are found on the map? (bay, cape, islands, inlet)

3. What aspects of physical geography are seen in the picture?

4. What do you see in the picture?

2. Divide students into pairs, each pair receiving a copy of both maps and a two copies of the worksheet: http://www.archives.gov/digital_classroom/lessons/analysis_worksheets/map.html

3. (30 - 40 minutes) Students are to work together analyzing the information in the maps. Collect worksheets when complete.

4. (10 minutes) For closure, ask students to share information about the maps they found most interesting.

5. Additional activity if time allows, students can compare the colored Japanese map with the colored map found at this link http://www.delsjourney.com/images/family_history/ww2/neosho/pearl_harbor/Pearl_Harbor_Map_-_250dpi.gif


Evaluation /Assessment:
Students will be graded on the worksheet. Some questions on the worksheet have definite correct answers, others answers can vary and be graded at teacher discretion. Additionally they will be informally assessed on their map reading and analyzing skills, as this is a continuing skill building process throughout the year. A new map and similar questions can be added to a more formal assessment at the end of the unit to assess students' ability to analyze maps.


Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, Oahu Map

Naval Historical Center, Pearl Harbor Picture http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/g410000/g411119.jpg

Up from the Ashes of Pearl Harbor, colored Pearl Harbor Map

Pearl Harbor Attacked, Pearl Harbor Links, Black and White Map

NARA Primary document worksheet http://www.archives.gov/digital_classroom/lessons/analysis_worksheets/map.html

Dels Journey, Personal Page, map for additional activity with destruction results