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Grade Level 4th

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Background: Pearl Harbor was the event that drew the US into WWII. It is a major historical event that continues to live in the memory of so many Americans. Every December 7th, our country pauses and reflects on the significance of that day. We remember all those who lost their lives and know that this was the beginning of a world war that would change the course of history.

That being said, this activity is not designed to evoke all the emotions that it could nor is it designed to study the event from an educational perspective. It is designed simply to give the student a starting point for WWII and a reference for future activities. Completion of this activity will require the assistance and guidance of a parent or adult.

Objectives: 1) to identify and speak about special memories 2) to understand  that December 7, 1941 is a special memory for our country 3) To understand that December 7th is the beginning of WWII for the United States. 4) to create and color a poster remembering Pearl Harbor.


It will be necessary to have a computer available to complete this activity. You will be asked to

  1. Tell the student that the activity today is going to be about important events in our lives and important events of our country. In your own words say something like, “I’m first going to tell you about an important event in my life that I can remember and then I’m going to tell you about an important event that I can remember about our country.” Proceed to tell them about your two events. Your two events do not have to be sad ones. They can be happy or even humorous events!
  • Next say something like, “Okay now it is your turn. Is there something that you can remember that made you happy or sad? Maybe it happened at home or school this past year or even when you were younger.” After they have told their memory ask them, “Do you think you will remember this next year. Do you think you will always remember it?” Then say “Okay, now can you tell me something that has happened recently, maybe that you have seen at school or on television or on the news that made you happy or sad?” After they have told their memory ask them, “Do you think you will remember this next year? Do you think you will always remember it?”
  • In your own words say something like, “There are going to be a lot of events that you will remember for the rest of your life. The ones I told you I think I will remember for the rest of my life and maybe the ones you told me, you will also remember for a very long time. You will have a lot of happy memories like when you graduate from high school, your first job, your first boyfriend/girlfriend and a lot more. But now I want to tell you about a special memory that belongs not just to me but for every one of us who live in this country and one day I think you will appreciate it too.

Before I tell you about the event, I want to take you back about 75 years. The year is 1941. Now, our family can watch the news on television and we can even get the news on our smart phones but how do you think people got the news 75 years ago? (let them answer) Well, before smart phones and television there were two main ways in which people received their news; through newspapers and by radio. (If you have a radio available show them what it looks like or show them the old time radio below.) People would buy the paper in the morning and then what was happening in their town or country or around the word. And while not everyone had a radio in their home, those that did would sit around the radio and listen to music, radio shows or the news. There were even radio shows that children listened to.”

  • Then tell the student you would like them to hear a few minutes of such a program.

Go to You Tube – The Old Time Radio Christmas Program in Chronological Order, Part 1 at and listen from 1:56:50 – 1:59:04. This will give them a chance to experience what it was like listening to the radio at that time. After listening to the segment ask them, “Do you think it would have been easy or hard listening to the radio back then?”

  • “Now I’m going to tell you about the event that happened 80 years ago and one that is remembered by many people throughout the world and one that every person in our country should know about. It is the event that happened at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941 and it is the event that brought our country into WWII.” (If the student is not familiar with Hawaii then show them a map of Hawaii and it’s relation to the US.) That day was a terrible day for our country because many soldiers died and many more would die in the next four years of the war.” Then show them the following pictures.

You don’t have to get into the details and horror of the day. In fact, encourage the child to ask questions about the photos. The point is not to get into the horror of the day but just to know that this was the beginning of WWII for the US.

  • Tell the student that the event at Pearl Harbor happened on a Sunday and they learned about it by listening to the news on the radio or reading the special newspapers that were written that day or the next morning.

Next, say “The next day President Roosevelt told the whole country by radio the following message.” Go to   and listen from 1:08-2:45. Tell the student that later in this message he said that because of this attack the United States would now enter WWII.

After listening to the song tell the student that the speech by President Roosevelt and the song and the events at Pearl harbor will be remembered by the people of our country for a very long time!

  • Below is a poster made shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor as a reminder of that terrible day. Show the picture to the student and ask, “Why is there a picture of a bell on this poster?” If the student does not recognize the Liberty Bell explain the significance of the bell and why it may have been included on the poster.

Some talking points with the student could include:

  1. The American Revolutionary War and “freedom” from Great Britain.
    1. The history of the Liberty Bell and being a symbol of “freedom.”
    1. Other national and religious symbols such as the American flag, the bald eagle, the cross, star of David, etc.
  • Finally, the student is to create a poster about Pearl Harbor. They may wish to copy the poster above or create a poster of their own. Things they may wish to include on their poster might be:
  • December 7, 1941
  • The date December 7, 1941
  • the words “A date that will live in infamy.”
  • the American flag
  • boats, ships or anchors
  • planes
  • a bald eagle
  1. Take a photo of the student holding their completed poster. Scan or send the digital photo to: Please title the Subject Line – Pearl Harbor. Or, if you prefer, you may mail a hard copy of the photo to:

Val Rios

6816 S. Maple Ave

Fresno, CA 93725

We would like to include the picture in the next edition of the 10th Mtn. Div. National Association digital newsletter, the Blizzard but will need your permission. Please indicate when submitting the photo if you are granting permission. Also include the name and address of the student who will be receiving the certificate and patch.

We hope you and the student enjoyed this activity and would welcome your comments.