Lesson Plans

Free Lesson Plans for Teachers

WHDE offers a set of free resources for teachers to help students better understand Korea. The lesson plans cover a variety of topics including geography, religion, economic development, culture, history, and the Korean War. Search our archive of lessons plans by topic, skill or grade level.

 
Skills
 
Topics

A Child’s Perspective of the Korean War

woman with child on her back in front of tank

The main focus of this lesson plan is to make students aware of the impact the Korean War had on children. They will examine pictures and text to help them make a connection to children during war. The reflection piece of the lesson lets them compare how children (maybe their age) were affected by the war and its implications.

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Michelle Sowinski

Grades: Middle (6-8)

Time: 50 minutes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2019

Skills: Comparison

Topics: Korean War

A Gallery Walk of Ancient Korea

temple with mountains in background

This lesson can serve as an introductory lesson to a unit on Korea. In this lesson, students will be interacting in a photo gallery walk activity. In various places around the classroom, there will be exhibit stations that pertain to different factors regarding Ancient Korea’s geography, history, and culture. Students will work in pairs or small groups. They will have 3 minutes at each station to read the descriptions, analyze images, and answer questions about Korea. Afterwards, students will come together as a class to discuss the new information they learned.

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Mariah Pol

Grades: Middle (6-8)

Time: 1 75-minute class

Participation Year: Fellowship 2019

Skills: Comparison

Topics: Geography, Geomancy, Jikji, Joseon, Religion

Choosing Sides in the Korean War

convoy of military trucks

This lesson is primarily designed for use in a modern world history survey course, specifically within a unit that examines how forces unleashed by the Cold War and decolonization affected many developing nations in the post-WWII era. The lesson is purposely brief so that it can be realistically incorporated into a survey course, although lesson activities could be expanded. In this lesson, students will explore how the forces of decolonization and the Cold War impacted the people of Korea between 1945-1950, as well as determined policy choices made by the United States and the Soviet Union. Students will examine the various perspectives that existed within post-colonial Korea, as well as those from the Americans and Soviets. Students will use these perspectives to identify likely allies and will create a criteria for alliances.

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Kristin Kramer

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: 1-2 50-minute classes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2019

Skills: Cause and Effect, Comparison

Topics: Cold War, Korean War

Constitutional Rights in the U.S. and Republic of Korea

people in city square with statue

With the assistance of the United States and numerous other foreign nations and the dedication and sacrifices of the Korean people, the Republic of Korea emerged out of the oppressions of Japanese occupation and the chaos of the Korean War. Through a tumultuous political history over the next several decades, Korea has emerged as a vibrant democracy that consistently ranks among the most democratic societies on the globe and particularly in Asia. This lesson explores the different approaches to rights reflected in the constitutions of the United States and South Korea. Students will examine Chapter II of The Constitution of the Republic of Korea in relationship to their study and understanding of the United States Constitution. The students will then be able to compare and contrast specific provisions of the two documents and formulate hypotheses about why the two documents approach rights differently.

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Dan Kelly

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: One 90 minute block period or two 45 minute regular periods

Participation Year: Fellowship 2019

Skills: Analysis, Comparison

Topics: Communism, Politics

Cultural / Historical Legacy of the Korean Peninsula through Unesco World Heritage Sites

In this lesson, students will identify the cultural / historical legacy of Unesco World Heritage Sites of the United States and the Korean peninsula. Students will create a web page explaining the cultural / historical legacy of one Unesco World Heritage Site located on the Korean peninsula.

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Karen Kelly

Grades: Middle (6-8), Secondary (9-12)

Time: Three-five 50-minute classes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2018

Skills: Analysis, Comparison

Topics: Geography

Do Borders Matter?

landscape

Students will research and compare the current economic development of Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Linda Burrows

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: Two 55-minute classes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2018

Skills: Analysis, Comparison, Evaluation

Topics: Economics, Politics

Economic Development: Is Korea the Key?

city seen from above with river

During the Development Unit of AP Human Geography, students will look at data from other countries who were similar to South Korea in the 1960s, then the same data for today. Based on GDP, IHDI, and GNI they will use the obvious differences in development to draw conclusions as to how South Korea was able to develop so quickly, and what those countries can do to in an attempt to reach the same development level as South Korea.

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Karen Coss

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: Two 50-minute classes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2018

Skills: Analysis, Comparison

Topics: Economics, Geography

Geomancy: The Power of Place

old map

The main focus of this lesson centers on how humans shape and are shaped by the places chosen to develop communities. In Korean culture geomancy plays a major role in shaping communities. Based on a system of beliefs similar to Chinese feng shui, Korea’s pungsu-jiri focuses on creating harmony with nature and is the basis of the formation of what we know today as Seoul. Similarly, throughout the United States and other areas of the world, humans interact with place in a way that illustrates each societies ideals and priorities. In these lessons, the students will examine the similarities and differences between Seoul and Washington, D.C. as they come to understand how physical and human characteristics of places are connected to human identities and cultures.

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Anthony Roy

Grades: Middle (6-8)

Time: Three 50-minute classes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2018

Skills: Comparison

Topics: Geomancy

Korean Currency

person holding Korean bills

These lessons will involve student research about famous Koreans featured on Korean won. They will research the important people featured on South Korean currency in small groups. Students will then compare their new knowledge to what they know about US currency. This may require additional research by the students.

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Karen Krzystof-Bansley

Grades: Middle (6-8)

Time: 3 50-minute classes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2019

Skills: Analysis, Comparison

Topics: Economics

Let’s Build A Home

wall decorated with banners

Students simulate the differences between Capitalism and Communism. They are tasked with working as a group to develop homes out of notecards. Only the Capitalist will have an incentive. This will build upon the previous day’s lesson revolving around students learning about the basics of the Korean War and the outcomes.

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Matthew Cottone

Grades: Middle (6-8)

Time: One 55-minute class

Participation Year: Fellowship 2018

Skills: Comparison

Topics: Economics, Korean War, Politics

Metal Movable Type: The Jikji and the Gutenberg Bible

book with Korean writing

The main topic of this lesson is the place of Korea in the global history of printing technology. Students examine both video and written sources to determine the comparative importance of Korean and European moveable metal type printing.

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Patrick Whelan

Grades: Middle (6-8), Secondary (9-12)

Time: 1- 45 minute class

Participation Year: Fellowship 2019

Skills: Comparison, Evaluation

Topics: Jikji

One Peninsula, Two Systems: Explaining the Economic Rise of South Korea

night-sky scene of city

Why do some countries develop rapidly, growing their economies and influence on the world stage while other countries struggle to achieve economic takeoff? This is a central question in Human Geography and an important question in World History. The Korean Peninsula provides a case study for the exploration of this question. This peninsula of a common people with a shared history was divided not only by a civil war but by competing ideologies and foreign alliances. In this lesson students will explore the causes of South Korea’s rise and the sharp divisions that remain between the two Koreas.

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Matthew Sudnik

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: 2 80-minute classes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2019

Skills: Comparison

Topics: Economics, North Korea, Politics

Overlapping and Competing Religions and Cultural Traditions in Korea

ornate template roof

This lesson examines the overlap of major religious and cultural traditions in Korea. It invites students to consider the role of culture and religion in the lives of indivuals as well as the exclusivity of religious systems in Korea and East Asia. It also invites students to consider their own religions and cultural traditions and how they do or do not overlap. (In this lesson the term overlap is used, however teachers can also use the term “syncretism” when appropriate).

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Evan Liddle

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: 2- 55 minute classes or 1- 90 minute class

Participation Year: Fellowship 2019

Skills: Application, Comparison

Topics: Confucianism, Culture, Religion, Syncretism

Population Pyramids: A Case Study

then and now scene, side by side photos

South Korea experienced a dramatic and sudden shift in economic and demographic standards during and after the Korean War. Students examining population pyramids for this same time period recognize and correlate the data in order to explain how the population of the country changed and how this impacted South Korea’s standing in the DTM.

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Lisa Waligora

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: Two 50-minute classes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2018

Skills: Analysis, Comparison

Topics: Geography

Revolutionary Thinking: Extending Knowledge of the American Revolution through Korean History and Culture

two flags in front of wall

In order to connect the content to the district curriculum (7th grade American History), this lesson will be taught during the month of May. The timing is important because May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Students will be provided with information about Korean history, while also linking the form of sijo poetry to the content that I’m teaching at the time, which is the American Revolutionary War. Students will compare and contrast the Japanese colonization of Korea with the American Revolution. Then students will go on to create a sijo poem about a person or event of the American Revolution.

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Georgette Hackman

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: Two 45-minute classes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2019

Skills: Analysis, Comparison

Topics: Sijo Poetry

Schools Around the World Focused Inquiry K-2

three smiling children

This inquiry leads students through an investigation of schools around the world, using a case study of elementary schools in South Korea. Students investigate the compelling question “How is school different around the world?” by evaluating images, videos and infographics about schools in a different part of the world. The formative performance tasks build on knowledge and skills through the course of the inquiry and help students see similarities and differences between their own lives and those of children living around the world. Students create an evidence-based argument about the ways in which schools are similar and different between cultures and geography.

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Elaine Alvey

Grades: K-3

Time: 40 minutes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2019

Skills: Comparison, Inquiry

Topics: Geography, Schools

South Korea: Then and Now

teachers in front of class of small children

In this lesson, students will be introduced to the country of South Korea and how it has changed over time. Students will be exposed to a variety of primary source photographs around 6 different themes (City of Seoul, Children & Schools, Businesses, Transportation, The Han River and Homes) that depict South Korea before the Korean War, during the war and modern day. Students will work in groups to compare and contrast what is happening in each of the sources.

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Rachel Turner

Grades: 4-5

Time: One 50-minute class

Participation Year: Fellowship 2018

Skills: Comparison

Topics: Economics, Korean War

The Cold War in Asia: Korea and Vietnam

black and white photo of group of soliders

The purpose of this lesson is to compare the Korean and the Vietnam wars. Student should have background knowledge of the beginning of the Cold War. Using different sources, students will analyze documents and videos to answer questions regarding the Cold War in Asia.

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Melani Lippard

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: One- Two 85-minute classes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2018

Skills: Comparison

Topics: Korean War

The Continuation of the Korean War Along the DMZ

four US soldiers with large gun

Since the surrender of Japanese forces in 1945 the Korean peninsula has been divided along the 38th parallel. North of the 38th parallel the communist nation of North Korea was founded and to the south the capitalist system of South Korea. As a result of the Korean War the 38th parallel became a demilitarized zone dividing the two countries until a formal peace agreement could be signed. Though this armistice has been effect since July 23, 1953 some events along the DMZ and other parts of the Korean Peninsula have increased the reopening of open conflict between the two nations.In the next lesson students will build on their knowledge of the Korean War and its legacy through reading primary and secondary sources about the events that have brought the two nations to the brink of open warfare. Students will complete the activity through a guided method to increase understanding.

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Craig Wood

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: 2 50-minute classes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2019

Skills: Cause and Effect, Comparison

Topics: Communism, DMZ, Korean War

The Little Green Frogs

book cover: The Green Frog

The purpose of this lesson is to develop an understanding of different global cultures using mentor texts. Using The Green Frogs, students will practice the whole book approach to reading a Korean folktale in order to better understand the role of folktales as a way of preserving culture

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Heather Brougham-Cook

Grades: 4-5

Time: Two 50-minute classes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2018

Skills: Analysis, Comparison

Topics: Culture, Folktales

The Republic of Korea and the Miracle of the Han River

city skyline at night

The Republic of Korea is a major player in Global Economics today. Students should be aware of the history of occupation and war that plagued Korea in the first half of the 19th century. Korea is a good example of how Government policy shifted the country from one of an aid recipient to a leading power. In the next lesson students will build on their learning by reading excerpts about Korea and the events that led to it becoming an aid nation, while answering questions. the teacher will guide students through readings that explain how government policy changed the outcome in South Korea allowing them to build upon the strong culture of education and hard work. Students will complete activities in the packet that clarify this process.

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Julie Cross

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: 2 50-minute class periods

Participation Year: Fellowship 2019

Skills: Comparison

Topics: Economics

What is required to fight a pandemic based on what we know as of April 30th 2020

two men with masks on city street

This lesson will give students the opportunity to explore what countries are doing to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Claire Delaroque

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: 45 minutes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2020

Skills: Analysis, Comparison

Topics: Current Events

What was the Role of Other United Nation Member Nations during the Korean War?

black and white photo of UN committee

This lesson will focus on the role other United Nation member nations played during the Korean War to help South Korea maintain its’ independence. From there the lesson will examine the changing role of South Korean foreign policy and its close ties with the United States and whether or not South Korea should seek a unique diplomatic path in the future.

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Henry Rehn

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: Four-Five 50-minute classes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2018

Skills: Analysis, Comparison

Topics: Korean War, United Nations

What Would We Do Without Printing?

stone tablet

In this lesson, students will analyze primary and secondary sources which depict three different printing technologies. Background knowledge for this lesson includes the purpose and significance of cuneiform and the Gutenberg Bible. Students will analyze images of primary sources and artifacts in order to compare the origins and purpose of printing technology.

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Lisa Kissinger

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: 1 50-minute lesson

Participation Year: Fellowship 2019

Skills: Comparison, Contextualization

Topics: Jikji

Whose War is the Korean War?

soldiers in cemetery

The main focus of this lesson is to illustrate why each party (South Korea, North Korea, US and China) are engaged in what has become a perpetual war of the Koreas. The lesson attempts to show that each nation has really no reason to end a “war” that for the most part is “bluster.”

Download:

PDFWord

Author: Matthew Britton

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: 135 – 180 min

Participation Year: Fellowship 2019

Skills: Cause and Effect, Comparison

Topics: China, Korean War, North Korea