For most students, Memorial Day means a three-day weekend, one last mini-break before the end of the school year. But the last Monday in May is perfect for engaging projects that honor the men and women who lost their lives in war.
Here are some of the best lesson plan resources for Memorial Day, along with some engaging multimedia resources. It's not always easy to capture student attention late in the school year, but hopefully these resources help. First, this brief video from The History Channel looks at the origins of the holiday, and you might also want to check out their resource page as well.
Fun, Insightful Memorial Day Multimedia
- 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Memorial Day from Time: If you’ve got some extra time, these interesting, little-known facts about Memorial Day are worth a read.
- Veterans History Project from Library of Congress: Here, classrooms can listen to the personal accounts of war from U.S. veterans; the collection has many dynamic uses in the classroom, from sources for essays and research, to giving a broader perspective on military conflict.
- Take A Virtual Tour of the National Museum of the Marine Corps: Here's a super interactive tour of the Marine Corps museum in Virginia. The easy-to-navigate tour features 360-degree views of many of the exhibits, along with narrative text and related media. Other engaging virtual military museum tours include:
- Memorial Day Activities for Kids from FamilyEducation.com: Here there are plenty of engaging Memorial Day learning resources for younger kids, including crafts, coloring pages and quizzes.
Classroom Ideas for Remembering and Honoring Veterans
- K-12 Lesson Plans for Memorial Day: From HotChalk’s Lesson Plans Page, many different subjects are covered here -- from art and music to English and social studies -- and resources are provided for every grade.
- Engaging WWII Lesson Plans: The National World War II Museum in New Orleans produced this extensive collection of lesson plans. The plans are arranged by topics, including "STEM," the "Home Front," and "The War in the Pacific," and they're designed mostly for students in middle school and high school. Each plan includes related media, discussion questions, and a downloadable PDF version.
- Memorial Day Collection from ReadWriteThink: This collection offers a lot of inspiration. Here, you'll find Memorial Day-themed activities, links to useful websites, and six ELA lesson plans.
- Memorial Day in the Classroom: The National Constitution Center produced a few useful Memorial Day resources -- which are the bottom of the page following the link -- and they mostly center around wartime artwork. One fresh idea, Comparing and Contrasting Photograph and Painting in War Art, is available as a free PDF; the lesson is designed for students to analyze artwork from the Center’s Art of the American Solider Web gallery.
- Memorial Day History Lessons from TeachingHistory.org: There are some great teaching and learning resources here, with plenty to help teachers and students dive into learning about veterans, war, and its affect on the world.