Pearl Harbor Gallery Walk Ideas

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

The attacks on Pearl Harbor are an important part of American history, and learning about them can be very meaningful for students. This lesson provides ideas for gallery walks that will teach students more about Pearl Harbor.

Using the Gallery Walk for Instruction

Are you interested in teaching your students more about the attacks on Pearl Harbor and how they influenced US and global history? There are so many different ways to teach students about this topic, but you might consider making learning more active by incorporating a gallery walk into your instruction. A gallery walk is a pedagogical strategy in which you display different materials around your classroom, and students mill around individually or in groups. They look at what you have displayed and answer questions or engage in thoughtful reflection. At the end of the gallery walk, you bring students together to talk about what they learned or discovered.

The gallery walk ideas in this lesson will help your students learn more about Pearl Harbor, what it was, and what it meant for the course of history.

Visual Gallery Walk

This kind of gallery walk is great for students who learn well from images. Of course, since the images associated with the attacks on Pearl Harbor are often violent, you will want to take that into consideration when making your choices. Select a set of five different images that teach something about the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Some possibilities might include:

  • photographs of the actual planes
  • photographs of the destruction that occurred
  • maps of Pearl Harbor itself
  • global maps that show the relationship between the US and Japan
  • pictures of the Pearl Harbor memorial

Under each image you select, post the following questions:

  • What is happening in this image?
  • What does this image teach you or make you wonder about Pearl Harbor?
  • What do you think or feel when you look at this image?

After your students have had a chance to circulate and answer each of the questions, bring them together for a discussion of the collective impressions left by the images.

Quotes and Perspectives

In this gallery walk, students will think about the different points of view held by various people and groups about the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Choose five to ten different quotes from speeches or articles about Pearl Harbor. Try to choose quotes from different types of people; for instance, what did American leaders say about the attacks? What about American citizens, and what about Japanese leaders? You can also find quotes from American allies. Keep the quotes you select relatively short, but make sure they are substantive and students will be able to understand the embedded vocabulary.

Post the quotes you have chosen in different places around your classroom. Under each quote, post the following questions:

  • How would you express the ideas from this quote in your own words?
  • What does this quote teach you or make you wonder about Pearl Harbor?
  • What is your own emotional or thoughtful reaction to this quote?

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