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.

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PDFWord

Author: Michelle Sowinski

Grades: Middle (6-8)

Time: 50 minutes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2019

Skills: Comparison

Topics: Korean War

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.

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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

Freedom’s Legacy

black and white photo of street with tanks

This lesson is intended to succeed lessons covering the end of World War II and the rise of Communism at the onset of Cold War and to supplement the scant content on the Korean War in the Tennessee World History and Geographytextbook published in 2015 by McGraw Hill Education. Prior to the start of this lesson, students should be able to differentiate between Capitalism and Communism (website link included in the resources section for review purposes if needed) and should possess basic knowledge of the competition between the world’s two superpowers representing each at the time—the United States and the Soviet Union. This lesson (or lessons dependent upon time allowance) touch upon the Korean War itself in regards to the lead up, start of the war, relations between countries involved, US intervention and aftermath. The main focus of this lesson/lessons is to develop a deeper understanding of why the US chose to defend freedom in Asia and of freedom’s legacy in the Republic of Korea in comparison to North Korea.

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PDFWord

Author: Maranda Wilkinson

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: 1 90- minute block

Participation Year: Fellowship 2018

Skills: Analysis

Topics: Freedom, Korean War, Legacy, Soviet Union

History Beyond the Textbook

video frame of man with glasses

Students will learn about the improtance of oral histories as they relate to the Korean War.

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PDFWordPowerPoint

Author: Jennifer Madden

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: 90 minutes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2020

Skills: Analysis

Topics: Korean War

Honoring Korean War Veterans

black and white photo of bugler in military cemetery

This lesson will allow students to apply the information they have learned about the Korean War and develop a medium to honor the sacrifices of Korean War Veterans. The lesson will be the culminating activity on the study of the Korean War. It is designed to develop empathy and understanding of sacrifice and need to honor veterans.

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PDFWord

Author: Bobbie Downs

Grades: Middle (6-8)

Time: Three- five 40-minute classes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2018

Skills: Analysis, Presentation

Topics: Korean War, Veterans

How Do We Memorialize a “Forgotten War”?

white statues of soliders in field

This lesson helps students answer the question, “How do we choose to remember and memorialize people and events from history?”

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PDFWordPowerPoint

Author: India Meissel

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: 90 minutes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2020

Skills: Analysis

Topics: Korean War

International Conflicts

three soldiers with rifles jumping over wall

In this lesson, students analyze secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Who started the Korean War? The teacher begins by first explaining that textbooks can be biased sources and then uses a brief PowerPoint to show the geography of Korea and why/when war began there. Students then form pairs and read 2 accounts of the war: one from a South Korean textbook and another from a North Korean book. For both, students not only summarize and answer questions, but they must identify which source is which (North or South Korea?) and use textual details to prove it. In a class discussion, students share their answers. Students will also study the Montford Point Marines. They exceeded expectations and served tenaciously in the Korean War. These African American men were finally recognized by Congress and received the Gold Medal of Honor as a group on June 28, 2012. Guest speaker will be an academic coach from the school whose father served in the war and she has several primary documents to share with the students about her father’s experience in the war. Our school is primarily African American so I must incorporate the Montford Point Marines in this lesson, especially since a relative of a Korean War veteran works at the school. The conversation will lend itself to African Americans serving in a war and returning home to constant racism.

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PDFWord

Author: Valencia Robinson

Grades: Middle (6-8)

Time: Five 45-minute classes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2018

Skills: Analysis

Topics: Korean War

Korea and the United States: Postwar Perceptions

soldier on the march

In this lesson, students will examine how Americans and South Koreans view each other today.

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PDFWord

Author: Donald Jenkins

Grades: Middle (6-8)

Time: 90 minutes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2020

Skills: Analysis

Topics: Culture, Korean War, Perspectives

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.

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PDFWord

Author: Donald Jenkins

Grades: Middle (6-8)

Time: 2-3 45 minute periods

Participation Year: Fellowship 2019

Skills: Analysis, Inquiry, Perspectives

Topics: Korean War

Korean War Chapters: Korea: Forgetting and Remembering

soldiers in battle with rifles and sandbags

This lesson focuses on the question, “Why is the Korean War considered one of the most important conflicts of the Cold War and why should we remember it?”

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PDFWord

Author: Natia Deisadze

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: 90 minutes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2020

Skills: Analysis

Topics: Korean War

Korean War Perspectives

officials signing documents at table

Using the information from “Beyond the Bridge of No Return”, Perspectives from the Korean War Legacy Foundation, and the image collection, consider the perspectives of the various people involved in the Korean War. Students will write a detailed statement and draw faces/ heads with emotions that match an aspect of their experience.

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PDFWord

Author: Raechel Bunnel

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: 2 45-minute classes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2019

Skills: Analysis, Perspectives

Topics: Communism, Korean War

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.

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PDFWord

Author: Matthew Cottone

Grades: Middle (6-8)

Time: One 55-minute class

Participation Year: Fellowship 2018

Skills: Comparison

Topics: Economics, Korean War, Politics

North Korean Defectors: An Analysis of the Human Side of the Story

barracks with guards

This lesson analyzes sources related to historical and current events on the Korean peninsula, focusing on the stories and experiences of North Korean refugees and defectors. Using differentiated primary and secondary sources, students will review the history of Korea in the 20th century, the division of the Korean Peninsula, the and major events up to the present day in order to better understand the background behind the division of Korea as it stands today. Students will then use this background knowledge to understand the setting and circumstances behind the stories of real North Korean defectors.

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PDFWord

Author: Randy Martin

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

Time: 3 60-Minute Classes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2019

Skills: Analysis

Topics: Communism, Korean War, North Korea

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Impact of the Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1952: (Korean GI Bill)

soldier hugging older man

This lesson explores the question, “How did the Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1952 (Korean GI Bill) impact the Korean War veterans and American society as a whole?”

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PDFWord

Author: Kate Ehrlich

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: 90 minutes

Participation Year: Fellowship 2020

Skills: Analysis

Topics: Korean War

War in Korea: How Would You Respond?

black and white photo of soldiers with ladders

This lesson will help students understand the major events of the Korean War and how the War impacted the lives of regular people. By introducing students to the story of the ROK Student Soldiers, they will think about the War’s impact on people their same age and how they might have coped with such an extreme situation. This will help students to better understand what it is like to live through a war and may help them to better understand the Korean people.

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PDFWord

Author: Erica Curtis

Grades: Secondary (9-12)

Time: One 90-minute class

Participation Year: Fellowship 2018

Skills: Analysis

Topics: Korean War, Legacy

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.

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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

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.”

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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