D-Day 70th Anniversary Classroom Resources
As the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy approaches on June 6th, many teachers are looking for educational resources to help bring this content into their classrooms. A great place to start is with some of The National WWII Museum’s D-Day lesson plans and fact sheets. One way to appeal to visual learners and to introduce students to the magnitude and the significance of the D-Day landings in turning the war in favor of the Allies is through the use of historic photographs. Our lesson “A Picture’s Worth A Thousand Words” contains several iconic D-Day photographs and teaches students to “read” the images as primary sources to learn more about the high degree of planning and preparation, as well as the tremendous challenges that Allied soldiers faced in making the D-Day landings a success. This lesson can be enhanced with some lesser known Normandy photographs from The National WWII Museum’s Digital Collections site, or can be paired with our D-Day Diary, Eisenhower Speaks, WWII by the Numbers or Mapping the Geography of D-Day lessons for a more interdisciplinary approach.
Other resources which can help bring the events of D-Day to life for students and assist them in developing historical empathy is through the use of the Museum’s oral histories. The National WWII Museum’s Digital Collections contains a number of compelling interviews with WWII veterans who experienced D-Day and lived to tell about the invasion. For instance, Coast Guard coxswain Martin Perrett from New Orleans, LA vividly recalled the tension and fear of the soldiers as he ferried them to fight at Utah Beach in his LCVP boat on June 6, 1944. Len Lomell, Company D, 2nd Ranger Battalion shared his inspiring story about how he and other Rangers risked their lives to storm and capture German guns at Pointe du Hoc. Students can also listen to Walter Ehlers, as he recounts his heroic actions near Normandy that earned him the Medal of Honor, and Abe Baum, as he reflects on D-Day and what it meant to be an American Jew fighting against the Nazis in WWII. Finally, any teachers and students who are in or will be near New Orleans next week are welcome to join us onsite at The National WWII Museum for our D-Day Commemorative events on Friday, June 6th and Saturday, June 7th. For those who are unable to visit us in person but who still want a unique way to observe D-Day on Friday, June 6th, please check out our new minute-by-minute D-Day timeline on the Museum’s D-Day70.org website.
Post by Megan Byrnes, K-12 Curriculum Coordinator.