World War II Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Kristen Goode

Kristen has been an educator for 25+ years - as a classroom teacher, a school administrator, and a university instructor. She holds a doctorate in Education Leadership.

With this lesson plan, students will learn about the major parties of World War II as well as the destruction it caused and the lasting effects it has had. Students will then create a radio address to present to the class.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify the countries that fought during World War II
  • Discuss some major events of WWII


90 - 120 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.


Pose and respond to specific questions by making comments that contribute to the discussion and elaborate on the remarks of others.


Review the key ideas expressed and draw conclusions in light of information and knowledge gained from the discussions.


Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.



  • Begin by introducing the lesson and asking students to share what they might already know about World War II.
  • Pass out the text lesson and read the Introduction and the first section 'World War II: the Allies and the Axis.' Discuss:
    • What countries aligned with the Allies?
    • What countries aligned with the Axis?
    • Define the word holocaust.
    • Who was the target of the Holocaust in World War II?
    • What does it mean to be neutral?
    • Which countries managed to remain neutral?
    • Discuss the map shown in the lesson.
  • Read the next section 'Destruction and Hope.' Discuss:
    • Why did the British send children away to Canada and Australia?
    • How did some people manage to help during the war?
    • Who was Anne Frank?
    • Discuss the picture shown in the lesson.
  • Read the next two sections, 'The End of the War' and 'After the War.' Discuss:
    • Before 1941, who controlled most of Europe?
    • Who controlled most of Asia?
    • What happened to turn things around in 1941?
    • How many people are estimated to have died during WWII?
    • What did the United States do to help end the war?
    • Where did the United States drop the two atomic bombs?
    • What was a positive result of the war?
    • What is the purpose of the United Nations?
  • Read the 'Lesson Summary' then allow time for class discussion and any remaining questions about what has been taught.
  • To check for understanding, pass out the lesson quiz and have students complete it independently.
  • Once finished, review the answers as a class.


To further the learning in this lesson, guide students through the following activity:

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