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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

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

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.

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Dawn's picture
Algebra Teacher

I recently did a little research on Memorial Day (actually hitting some of the sources you mentioned). I was shocked that there was a national moment of remembrance. I had no idea. My guess is that my students are equally in the dark. I'm playing with an idea on how to incorporate Memorial Day facts will still being true to my curriculum.

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