Japanese American Internment

Grade Range: 5-8
Resource Type(s): Reviewed Websites, Primary Sources, Lessons & Activities
Duration: 90 minutes
Date Posted: 10/12/2016

This historical investigation is aligned with the C3 Framework and is from C3teachers.org.

This eighth grade annotated inquiry places students in the middle of an important debate—a debate that goes beyond semantics and hypothetical constructs. The trade-off between freedom and security is one of the thorniest dilemmas in United States history. From the Sedition Act of 1798 to the Patriot Act of 2001, the United States has sought to find the right balance between these two fundamental concerns. This inquiry places students in the middle of that important debate—a debate that goes beyond semantics and hypothetical constructs. The compelling question asks what limits we are willing to place on freedom in the face of real and perceived threats to our security. The internment of Japanese Americans represents one instance when the freedom of some Americans was sacrificed in the name of national security and thus can be seen as a case of the balance between freedom and security. The inquiry includes four related formative performance tasks that collectively enable students to build up their knowledge of the issues and events related to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the resulting lawsuit, Korematsu v. United States, which challenged the constitutionality of the internment policy. Students continue the inquiry as they investigate the reconsideration of internment by the US government in the 1980s.

National Standards

United States History Standards (Grades 5-12)

Historical Thinking Standards (Grades 5-12)

Common Core State Standards (Grades K-12)

Common Core State Standards (Grades 6-8)

College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards (Grades 6-8)