D-Day Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has an Masters of Science in Mathematics and a Masters in Education

Use this lesson plan to increase student understanding of D-Day. Students will watch a video lesson that provides an overview of events, discuss and interact with content, and apply to an activity.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • describe the sequence of events up to and following the Normandy invasion during World War II
  • discuss and explain causes and effects of events in late World War II


1 hour for the lesson, plus time for the extension activity

Key Terms

  • D-Day
  • Dwight Eisenhower
  • Battle of the Bulge
  • VE Day

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.3

Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.1

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.


Warm-Up and Connection

  • Prepare students for this lesson by dividing them into small groups and having them discuss:
    • What started World War II?
    • How were things going for the French and British before 1942?
    • What caused the United States to enter the war? What about the Soviet Union?
  • After each question, discuss student answers as a whole group to ensure understanding. Review information as needed.
  • Now ask students to share their prior knowledge of D-Day with their group and discuss briefly as a whole class.
  • Distribute paper copies of the lesson The D-Day Invasion: The Beginning of the End of Nazi Germany and start the lesson, instructing students to follow along as the lesson plays and take notes/highlight as necessary.
  • Pause the lesson at 1:46 and review the battles discussed in this section and the results of each. Ask:
    • Why did the allied leaders decide it was time to retake Europe? What events led to this decision?


  • Resume the lesson, pause again at 5:28 and ask students to discuss in their small groups:
    • What was the plan for Operation Overlord? What actually happened? Why?
    • What does the phrase 'largest amphibious invasion on record' mean?
    • What helped Operation Overlord to be successful? Why was Hitler not prepared?
  • Resume the lesson and pause again at 8:56.
  • Assign groups one of the following events: Operation Overlord, D-Day, the liberation of France, the Battle of the Bulge, or VE Day.
  • Distribute chart paper and instruct the students to make a two-column chart titled 'Cause' and 'Effect.' Using the lesson for guidance, have them map out the events for their topic in a way that describes the causes and effects that led to the allied victory. Do a few together to get students started, if necessary.
  • Have groups share their work with the class, then play the remainder of the lesson and allow students to ask any remaining questions.


  • Students will now write an imaginary first-person account of D-Day. Ask students to choose a role, such as a paratrooper or soldier who landed on Omaha Beach, and research the event.
  • When ready, students should write an imaginary account as if they survived the event. Allow them to use (but not copy) real accounts from surviving soldiers.
  • As students work, walk around to scaffold and support. Guide students when necessary.
  • When finished, break students into small groups and allow them to share their stories, then give them the quiz as an exit slip.


  • Invite veterans to speak to your students about their experiences in combat. Write thank-you notes to veterans for their service.
  • Have students pick a big number from the war, whether it is the number of casualties at D-Day or the total number of Allied troops to come ashore. Then, use paperclips, small candies, or other small items to conceptualize it.

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