Becoming aware of the Japanese American Internment Camp Experience

Lesson Overview:

The objective of this classroom activity, based on the Smithsonian's exhibition A More Perfect Union, is to help students become aware of, and sensitive to, the Japanese American interment camp experience. They will develop a sense of empathy by simulating the situations which Japanese American children faced.

In Part I (writing exercise), students will write lists of things we often take for granted—things Japanese Americans were often deprived of when they were interned.

Part II (discussion) calls for responses from students to situations similar to what Japanese Americans faced.

Part III (web site exploration and discussion) provides the teacher with a brief conclusion and a summary of the lesson.


Smithsonian Institution (adapted from the JACL Curriculum and Resource Guide)


Grade Band:

K-4, 5-8

Integrated Subjects:

Language Arts, Social Studies



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