Lesson Plan: The Alignment of Nations
The 30-11th & 12th graders will know the geography of World War II Europe and discuss the various pacts, political ideologies, and military strategies involved in the years preceding the war and the initial confrontations that began the war.
Each student will need a blank sheet of paper for the activity and a blank sheet of paper and pencil to complete the activity.
I will question various students regarding their knowledge of Pre-World War II Europe and the various leaders involved politically. A list will be created on the chalkboard so I can assess the depth of their prior knowledge.
Teach to the Objective/Procedure:
I will ask the students to take out a sheet of blank paper and turn to a page in their books depicting a map of Pre-World War II Europe. I begin calling out the names of European countries, asking for volunteers to be representatives of those nations. After all of the students, either individually or in pairs, have been assigned a country, I will demonstrate that I want them to tear out the shape of their country from the blank sheet of paper. I will ask them to consult with those pairs or individuals that are creating bordering countries to their own in order to gauge proportion. This will also simulate the idea of forming alliances, which I will point out at the end of the lesson. After everyone has created their country from the sheet of paper, I will have the students form their desks into a circle. Beginning with Germany, each student will attach the bordering country they've created until there is a map of Europe lying on the floor in the middle of the circle of desks. As the map is filling in, I will begin discussing things like the Maginot line, the Rhineland, Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, Isolationism, the Blitzkrieg, and so on. I will demonstrate the tactic of the Blitzkrieg and its effectiveness when used against Poland. The students will be expected to take notes on the topics discussed.
I will debrief the students by asking them to write outcome sentences. Specifically, what they learned, how they learned it, what makes it important to them, and what conclusions they can draw from the experience?