Aftermath of WWII Lesson Plan

Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 20 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

This lesson plan offers instruction for presenting the aftermath of World War II in Europe. Students will learn about the struggles of daily life and economic downturns after the war through active modeling, discussion, and written assignments.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Define containment
  • Explain the Marshall Plan
  • Describe the economic impact of World War II


1-2 Hours. The take home writing assignment has a length of 30 minutes.

Curriculum Standards


Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term or terms over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).


Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Key Terms

  • Marshall Plan
  • Containment
  • Cold War


  • Printed transcripts of the video lesson The Aftermath of WWII and hard copies of the lesson quiz
  • Audio/Visual equipment
  • Building blocks (neatly presented in boxes organized by color)
  • Graph/grid paper


  • Draw a T-chart on the board labelled 'Knew' and 'New'.
  • Instruct students to copy the chart onto their own paper.
  • Ask students to tell you what they know already about the aftermath of World War II. You may get answers like the:
    • Who the participants were
    • When the war ended
    • What happened in Germany afterward
  • Write up any answers given in the 'Knew' column of the T-chart and instruct students to do the same.
  • Guide students to consider the living and economic changes in Europe following the war.
  • Tell students that they will be watching a video on the aftermath of World War II.
  • Instruct them to update the 'New' column of their charts as they learn new information from the lesson.


  • Hand out transcripts of the video lesson The Aftermath of WWII.
  • Begin the video lesson, pausing at time marker 0:41 to discuss:
    • Did you need to add anything to your 'New' column? What was it?
    • Did this section remind you of anything that you already knew? Add it to your 'Knew' column.
    • Can you imagine what it might have been like to live in Europe during those times?
  • Continue the video, pausing at time marker 2:15 to discuss:
    • What can you add to your 'Knew/New' charts? (Allow time for students to add information to their T-charts.)
    • What is meant by containment and what was the reason for it in the aftermath of WWII? Did it work?
  • Continue the video pausing at time marker 4:55. Ask:
    • Who can summarize the Marshall Plan?
    • Why was it important?
    • Did anyone already know about the Marshall Plan?
  • Instruct students to update their 'Knew/New' charts with information presented in this section.
  • Finish the video.
  • Ask students to give final thoughts on the information presented. Guide discussion with summary questions such as:
    • What was the most interesting new thing you learned from this video?
    • With all the destruction and economic chaos, was the war effort worth the cost? Why or why not?
  • Hand out the lesson quiz. Go over each question and answer with the class after they have finished it.


Rebuilding Effort - Active Game


  • Building blocks organized by color (as many sets as you will have groups)


  • Students will need open space in which to build structures with the blocks.

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