World War II Simulation Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

This WWII simulation lesson plan gives you step-by-step directions for students to act as world leaders making decisions before and during the conflict like managing natural and military resources.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate understanding of military strategy and decisions before and during WWII
  • explain reasons leaders had for managing natural and military resources


Two class periods lasting 1 - 1.5 hours each

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.7

Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.9

Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1

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.


  • Access to technology and the internet

Key Vocabulary

  • Allies/Allied Powers/forces
  • D-Day
  • Axis Powers/forces
  • Holocaust

Warm-Up and Preparation

  • Warm students up for the lesson by reviewing reasons for and events leading up to WWII.
  • Divide students into small groups and discuss:
    • What countries were part of the Allied Forces?
    • Which countries were part of the Axis of Power?
  • Work with students to draw a timeline of events of WWII on the board, listing the entry of each country into the war.
  • Now divide students into small groups and assign each a country.
  • Tell students they will be acting as leaders of their country in this WWII simulation.

Simulation One - The Decision to Enter the War

  • For the first simulation, students will research and review information about their country's entry into WWII. Give students 15-20 minutes to do this research.
  • Have each group answer the questions:
    • What reasons do we have for entering the war?
    • What reasons do we have for not entering the war?
    • How do my colleagues feel about our entry into the war?
    • How will it benefit our country to enter the war?
    • How will it impede our country to enter the war?
  • As student groups discuss the questions, circulate the room to listen in to conversations and monitor content, prompting when necessary.
  • Instruct each group to choose half to argue for entering the war and the other half to argue against entering.
  • Come back together as a whole group and, using the timeline as a guide, have each group debate their entry into WWII.
  • After each country has participated, discuss:
    • What may the leaders have been thinking when deciding to enter the war?
    • How did it feel to be making these decisions?

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