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Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Post-Visit Activity: Media Literacy & Propaganda during World War II

Grade Level: High School (9-12th grade)

Disciplines: World War II, Media Literacy, Propaganda

Using this lesson set, students will examine the fears, pressures, and motivations experienced by Americans living in Maryland during World War II. This is designed to be a post lesson to the Maryland Historical Society's new tour "The Homefront and World War II". This slide deck should be viewed as a class and projected for the class to view together. Each slide is accompanied by a series of questions that are meant to inspire classwide discussion. Teachers should provide each student with a copy of the graphic organizer attached to this lesson. 

Students will diagram World War II propaganda posters in order to understand the intended audience and messages of the posters. In the end students will have to determine if these posters were dangerous, and what the primary sources can tell us about what life was like on the home front. Throughout the program, students will be introduced to the important critical thinking skills they need to be conscious consumers of information today.


Learning Objectives: 

Students will: 

-Explore how propaganda shapes public opinion and behavior.
-Engage in a discussion about whether an example of propaganda was successful. 
-Compare examples of propaganda. 
-Develop a deeper understanding about the pressures, fears, and motivations experienced by Americans living on the home front of WWI. 
-Begin to develop the important media literacy skills needed to be a conscious consumer of information today.


National Standards Met:

United States History Content Standards

Era 8 : The Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945)
-- Standard 2C: The student understands the impact at home and abroad of the United States involvement in World War I.

C3 Framework for Social Studies

D2.Civ.13.9-12. Evaluate public policies in terms of intended and unintended outcomes, and related consequences. 
D2.His.3.9-12. Use questions generated about individuals and groups to assess how the significance of their actions changes over time and is shaped by the historical context. 
D2.His.4.9-12. Analyze complex and interacting factors that influenced the perspectives of people during different historical eras.
D2.His.5.9-12. Analyze how historical contexts shaped and continue to shape people’s perspectives.
D2.His.14.9-12. Analyze multiple and complex causes and effects of events in the past.
D4.1.9-12. Construct arguments using precise and knowledgeable claims, with evidence from multiple sources, while acknowledging counterclaims and evidentiary weaknesses.
D4.7.9-12. Assess options for individual and collective action to address local, regional, and global problems by engaging in self-reflection, strategy identification, and complex causal reasoning.

Common Core Standards for Literacy

RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
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.
RI.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone
RI.9-10.6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose.
CCR.S&L.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCR.S&L.9-10.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.

Maryland State Standards Met:

Maryland Content Standards:

United States History
3.A.3 Evaluate the economic, political and social impact of World War II on America’s home front (5.3.3).

Objective A) Describe how American citizens supported the war effort through rationing and purchasing of war bonds (PS, E)

Objective B) Evaluate the government’s use of propaganda in gaining support and cooperation for war efforts (PS, PNW, E)

Objective C) Describe the changing roles of women, African-Americans and other minority groups during the war years, such as access to education and jobs (PS, PNW, G)

1.1.4 The student will explain roles and analyze strategies individuals or groups may use to initiate change in governmental policy and institutions.

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