Once you get past World War 2 all of the wars the United States are involved in become much less clear cut (I’d also say that about the wars we were involved in prior to World War 2, cough Spanish-American War, cough cough, World War 1)………..
If you ask most people about the Korean War, the first response will be, along the lines of “What’s that?” Then you’ll get, “Ohhhh, wait wasn’t MASH about that?” If you get even that much of a response. Let’s face it, it was over-shadowed by the Vietnam War.
But, it lays some important ground work so I wanted to make sure my kids understood it, and I wanted to make sure I understood it.
After searching for a good hour googling “Korean war lesson plan for elementary,” and finding NOTHING, I found this website for high school, EDSITEment!, and picked out their timeline events (activity 1). I printed off the first 5 or so pages, the timeline of events.
Then we split the kids into two groups, one to convince the president we needed to intervene, and another to convince the president it was a terrible idea to intervene. Because there are valid arguments for either side. It was not clear cut.
They spent 30 minutes coming up with their reasons why we should or should not go to war. At the end of that time they needed a visual (the poster board) and a well explained presentation that everyone would participate in. I wanted even the youngest kid to have part of the presentation.
In the end, there wasn’t a clear cut way to decide. This group is pro-intervention. They had great information.
Why should we intervene in Korea?
We should help South Korea the “shining light and beacon to the rest of the world, they are surrounded by Socialists and Communists on all sides.” They presented a good oral argument, but their visual was muddy and not well-defined. It lacked color and ideas to draw you in.
Why shouldn’t we help Korea?
Our army is tired, they might bomb us, and we might not be able to stand up against the combined might of all the communist countries.
This group had well thought reasons, and a great visual for conveying their reasons, but they did not come up with a great presentation, Princess was silly and dancing off, and the boys were silly.
If President Truman (me) was going solely on these presentations than we would not have intervened in Korea. As it was, we did intervene, and that may or may not be the subject of another post.
At the end of both presentations we discussed how each side did, and I warned them, we would repeat this activity when we reached the Vietnam War, and to prepare for presenting better.
If you want the rubric I used to grade them, click on the picture below:
For more US history ideas check out my pinterest board:
Don’t you just hate when you have the feeling there’s something you’re missing. I’ve read this post through 3 times and I can’t figure out what it is………
Phyllis at All Things Beautiful says
I had the same difficulty finding information on the Korean war. This war is a topic that adults have difficulty sorting out. The presentations idea is a good one, but I agree that it is tough for the younger ones.
It really helped them to be with the older kids, they provided a bit of a steadying hand……..
It was even worse finding information about the Vietnam War.
That was a great exercise, Ticia! If my high school history teacher had done something similar (instead of 2 pages of reading in the text book and a fill in the blank worksheet) I may have actually understood the Korean war a bit better. I am so very thankful for your creativity!
Lindsay @ Bytes of Memory says
Love it! I love that this will help them in the future with other reports and that you will repeat the activity for another war to help them improve their presentation skills!
Their skills really did improve when we got to the next one, it was great to see.
maryanne @ mama smiles says
I love the age range you have working on this project!
Everything from entering high school to Kindergarten.
Magic and Mayhem says
I love your history posts! My FIL fought in the Korean war. He is in his 80’s and still has PTSD and nightmares that never leave. He has two purple hearts. He was injured once, was hospitalized, and returned to the war. The second time, he was the only one in his entire platoon to survive. His body is filled with shrapnel fragments and he visited high schools for Memorial Day for years in order to talk to the kids about what war was really like and what the Korean War was about. He goes to the VA hospital a couple of hours north every week for various appointments and he talks to the new injured vets. He’s a pretty remarkable man. He shows our kids all sorts of things he brought back from there and he has made the Korean War very real for them.
Thanks for all that you share.
What an amazing story your FIL has. We were privileged to go a local history museum in NM and it had an amazing section on WW2 and the Korean War because they had many vets. I loved seeing all of the artifacts people had brought back.