Lesson Plan Library

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. You can find more teaching resources on the Korean War on the Korean War Legacy Foundation website. Visit teachingaboutnorthkorea.org to find lesson plans and activities for teaching about North Korea.


A Critical Analysis of the Trajectory of Two Economies Divided by War and Unified by History

street scene

Students will be given the compelling question which will guide the entire inquiry. This lesson is a student driven lesson in which they will build their own understanding through the analysis of rich texts which depict the transformation in the South Korean economy, the causes for the economic growth, and a contrast with current status of the North Korean economy.
Advanced Placement Lessons: Lesson 5.5 and 5.6 address curricular requirements in the Advanced Placement Macroeconomics curriculum. As opposed to teaching economic growth and the use of fiscal policies in a vacuum, real examples from South Korea’s economic growth are utilized to enhance student understanding of the curricula.



Author: Michelle Penyy

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: 2-3 sessions

Participation Year: Fellowship 2019

Skills: Contextualization, Inquiry

Topics: Economics, Globalization

Innovation in Early Modern Korea

metal artifact

Much of East Asian History focuses on China and Japan. Korea is often an afterthought, or taught as a tributary state under the influence of China. Also, much of Korean History is taught with a modern lens, where Korea is a victim of China and Japan. This lesson will introduce students to the cultural achievements of Korea during its Early Modern Era, showing that Korea has important cultural achievements of its own and is not always influenced by other cultures, but has its own history. It will focus on Moveable Type Printing, King Sejong and Hangul, Admiral Yi and Turtle Ships, and citizen governance under the Joseon. These topics tie into the Iowa Standards about cultural advancement as well as those about individuals impacting history. They also tie into change over time and causation standards in the C3 Framework.



Author: Kelsey Hudson

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: 2 45-minute classes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2019

Skills: Continuity, Inquiry

Topics: Jikji, King Sejong

Korea and the United States: Postwar Perceptions

desolate war scene in black and white

The main topic of the lesson comes from a chapter on the Korean War Legacy Foundation website called Korea and the United States: Postwar Perceptions. Students do a close reading on the chapter, summarize the chapter, listen to one of the interviews in the chapter, and then use what they learned as a springboard to form their own research question about a topic related to the chapter. This is related to Korea because students will learn how the Korean War affected soldiers and civilians and then they will research a topic related to the Korean War or Korea today.



Author: Donald Jenkins

Grades: Middle (6-8)

Time: 2-3 45 minute periods

Participation Year: Fellowship 2019

Skills: Analysis, Inquiry, Perspectives

Topics: Korean War

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.



Author: Elaine Alvey

Grades: K-3

Time: 40 minutes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2019

Skills: Comparison, Inquiry

Topics: Geography, Schools

What makes an invention successful? A case study on the Jikji

tablet with Korean writing

This lesson will have students assess the impact of jikji movable print on Korean society and beyond. Though the Gutenberg Press is credited as being the birth of movable type, the jikji predates the Gutenberg Bible by 70 years. In this focused inquiry lesson, students will focus in on what ideas were preserved within the jikji. This exploration can supplement analysis of the Gutenberg Press, providing students a case study in assessing the factors that hinder or promote different inventions’ influence. Likewise, assessing jikji and other inventions that influence mass communication allow students to grapple with how such mediums can preserve the past or be the mechanism that brings global change.



Author: Carly Mutterties

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

Time: 1- 2 50-minute classes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2019

Skills: Analysis, Inquiry

Topics: Jikji