Lesson PlansBack to lesson plans archive November 10, 2014
The greatest sacrifice – Veterans Day Lesson Plan
By Katie Gould, NewsHour Extra Teacher Resource Producer
World history, government and civics, U.S. wars, geography
One 45-minute class
Middle and high school
Warning: Due to the large number of students who either have friends or family that serve in the armed forces please take care and be sensitive when discussing Veterans Day.
Warm Up Activity
2. Watch “Bet You Didn’t Know – Veterans Day” from the History Channel (below) as a class.
3. Watch Student Reporting Labs’ Veterans Day video featuring students from military families living here in the U.S. and around the world.
Background on U.S. Wars
Share the interactive timeline below with students and watch videos associated with U.S. wars. You may choose the wars your class knows the least about or play what you have time for. Click on the timeline to scroll through to each event, and click on the images above the timeline to watch short videos on the war.
Main Activity – Special Issues for Today’s Veterans
- As a class, brainstorm the risks and benefits of being a soldier today and write answers on the board. Let the class know that they are going to take a closer look at some of the issues that veterans face today and how these challenges are being treated.
- Read to students: With new medical and life-saving technology more troops are surviving traumatic injuries that would have sealed their fate just decades ago. The effects of the increase in soldiers dealing with severe injuries such as losing limbs, traumatic brain injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has taxed the Veterans Administration (V.A.) at unprecedented levels leaving response time to disability claims anywhere from months to years. Further, both an increase in an aging veteran population as well as female veterans brings new challenges to the V.A. Let’s look more in depth at the issues facing today’s veterans.
Part 1 – Waiting for benefits
- Watch the above video clip, “Veterans’ Disability Delayed.”
- Read the Center for Investigative Reporting article “For Disabled Veterans Awaiting Benefits Decisions, Location Matters” by Aaron Glantz.
- Explore the accompanying interactive map either as a class or in pairs and pass out the “Waiting for Help” worksheet to students.
Part 2 – How phantom limbs are successfully being treated today
Watch the TED Talk “3 clues to understanding your brain” by VS Ramachandran (in particular, highlight the excerpt from 9:15-17:45).
Part 3 – Unique challenges that women veterans face
Watch the PBS NewsHour report “Women Veterans Face Unique Obstacles, Needs.”
Part 4 – Veterans and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- What is PTSD, and how does it manifest in veterans? Watch the story of one veteran.
- How is PTSD diagnosed? Look at the Diagnostic Statistical Manual V Criteria for PTSD or Self-Report Questionnaire for PTSD.
- How is it treated? Hear about treatment options from the Veterans Association.
- Write a Veterans Day thank you note. Use this lesson plan to help your students identify and understand important veterans in their life.
- Write an argument to either support or reject claims that veterans today face challenges that veterans in the past did not using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
- Choose one of the wars that were featured on the interactive timeline and write three short narrative-snap shots including one day in the life of that veteran before, during, and after the war using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
A special thanks to my grandfather, Joe Sidor (pictured above), and his family for his many years of service as a Marine during World War II, his work in China after World War II and the Korean War.
An additional thank you to Susan Dickson for contributing photographs for the story.
The Materials You Need
Tooltip of materials
Tooltip of standarts
Relevant National Standards:
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.7.7 Compare and contrast a text to an audio, video, or multimedia version of the text, analyzing each medium’s portrayal of the subject (e.g., how the delivery of a speech affects the impact of the words).
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.7 Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (e.g., print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2 Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.
Tooltip of related stories
Tooltip of more video block
Tooltip of RSS content 3
Rising ocean temperatures threaten world’s coral reefs
Rising ocean temperatures resulting from climate change are killing coral reefs across the planet. Continue readingclimate changecoral bleachingcoral reefsecologymarine biology
Supreme Court confirmation hearing begins for Gorsuch
Confirmation hearings for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch began this week. Continue readingcivics & governmentNeil GorsuchSocial StudiesU.S. Supreme Court
How one female ice hockey player from the United Arab Emirates is living her dream
The National Hockey League celebrated ‘Hockey is for Everyone’ in February, as a time for promoting inclusiveness and a positive environment for all–including both men and women. Continue readinggenderice hockeyIslamUAEWashington CapitalsWomen's History Month
Federal courts rules Texas gerrymandering unconstitutional
A panel of federal judges in Texas ordered the state to redraw its congressional district map because it discriminates against Hispanic voters. Continue readingCivicsconstitutiongerrymanderhispanicracismSocial StudiesTexasvoter ID lawvoting rights act
Republican health care bill faces opposition from within party
Republican lawmakers introduced their replacement for former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) this week, but face opposition from both Democrats and members of their own party as they push to move the bill through committee and into the U.S. House of Representatives for a vote. Continue readingCongressGovernment & Civicshealth careObamacareSocial StudiesU.S. House of Representatives