ALEX Lesson Plan


Creating Interactive Maps of World War II

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Mark Coleman
System: Montgomery County
School: Booker T Washington Magnet High School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33063


Creating Interactive Maps of World War II


Students demonstrate the scope, locations, and events of World War II by creating an interactive map showing the theaters of the war using Google Maps. These maps will not only show event locations of the European and Pacific Theater, but will allow students to relate the details, causes, and ramifications of these events through images and text.

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
SS2010 (11) United States History II: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
9. Describe the significance of major battles, events, and consequences of World War II campaigns, including North Africa, Midway, Normandy, Okinawa, the Battle of the Bulge, Iwo Jima, and the Yalta and Potsdam Conferences. [A.1.b., A.1.c., A.1.d., A.1.e., A.1.g., A.1.i., A.1.k.]
  • Locating on a map or globe the major battles of World War II and the extent of the Allied and Axis territorial expansion
  • Describing military strategies of World War II, including blitzkrieg, island-hopping, and amphibious landings
  • Explaining reasons for and results of dropping atomic bombs on Japan
  • Explaining events and consequences of war crimes committed during World War II, including the Holocaust, the Bataan Death March, the Nuremberg Trials, the post-war Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Genocide Convention
  • Local/National Standards:

    Literacy.RH.11-12.1- Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.

    Literacy.RH.11-12.3- Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.

    Literacy.RH.11-12.7- Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.


    ISTE NETS-S Standards: 

    3B Students will locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.

    Primary Learning Objective(s):

    Students will create an interactive map that utilizes cited images and text to demonstrate their knowledge of the major military campaigns of World War II.

    Additional Learning Objective(s):

    Technology Standards:

    12.) Use digital tools to publish curriculum-related content.

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    91 to 120 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:

    None needed

    Technology Resources Needed:

    Internet-connected computer for each student.

    Student Google logins. (note: logins for Google Apps for Education may not be enabled for logins to Google Maps. If Google Maps is not enabled for your GAfE domain, students may use traditional Google logins for Android, GMail, etc.)



    Students should be familiar with the theaters of World War II, as well as how those events and battles relate to each other.


    1) Students are to log in to Google Maps with a Google login.

    2) Students are provided with a list of important battles of World War II. Example lists:

    European Theater: Dunkirk Evacuation, Saar Offensive, Battle of Sedan, London Blitz, Operation Overlord: Normandy, Battle of Brest, Ardennes Counteroffensive, Gleiwitz incident, Stalingrad, Leningrad, Battle of Berlin
    Pacific Theater: Pearl Harbor, Midway, Coral Sea, Bataan, Guadalcanal, Leyte Gulf, Luzon, Iwo Jima, Hiroshima, Naanking, Shanghai, Malacca Strait

    The list of battles may vary for your class. The most important factor for inclusion is a specific locale for the battle. For example, Operation Barbarosa would not work for this lesson, as it was a several thousand mile front, where Stalingrad is a specific place. Another factor for consideration is the relevance of the battle/event. There are hundreds of island battles to choose from in the Pacific Theater, but battles that portray a major confrontation or a turning point (e.g. Leyte Gulf or Midway) are preferred.

    3) Students will log in to Google Maps. They will click the buttons for "My Places" and choose to create a map with Classic MyMaps. The link is under the red "Create Map" button. (See attached image CreateWithClassic.png)

    4) Students will find the location of the battle on the Custom Google Map, and using the blue pinpoint tool in the upper left hand corner of the map screen (See attached image BluePinpoint.png) place a map point on the location of the battle. Wikipedia, while not an adequate source for most purposes, contains coordinate locations of most battles if you wish to allow them to use it as a source.

    5) In the Map Point Description for each pinpoint, students should include the name of the battle as the Title for the pinpoint. Using the Rich Text Editor, students will then include a picture, using the Add Picture button, from the battle, a description of the battle, and its relevance to the narrative of the theater of War. Images and information should be cited with a clickable Web link using the Link button. (See attached image DescriptionFrame.png)

    6) Students should click the Link button at the top of the sidebar next to the Map. The checkbox marked "Short URL" should be checked. Students should copy and paste the shortened URL (it should resemble and submit this URL to the teacher for grading.

    Ideas for variation:

    The scope of the project may be moved to other wars or cultural movements.

    Students may be asked to make their own list of important points to map and relevance of the selected points incorporated into assessment.

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    Assessment Strategies

    Typically this assignment would be graded with a rubric to check for proper placement of all points, the description of the battle, the relevance of the image, and the spelling and grammar of the pinpoint descriptions. A sample rubric is attached (see attached Rubric-Creating Interactive Maps of World War II.docx). Teachers may want to vary the point weight of the different aspects of the map.




    Students who are not familiar or have issues with plotting coordinates on a map using Google Search or Google Image Search, or citing their sources may begin this lesson with a review of those topics.

    Students who need remediation with this lesson may redo the assignment descriptions in a Word document format and then aided in transferring the information to the Map with images.

    Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

    Presentation of Material Environment
    Time Demands Materials
    Attention Using Groups and Peers
    Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
    Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.