Korea 65 : Before visiting the exhibit, Lesson A


Korea 65 : Before visiting the exhibit, Lesson A


Korean War


Legacy Washington, Office of the Secretary of State


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Korea 65 is an educational project that features a series of online oral history profiles and a public exhibit that will cast light on a forgotten conflict—one that killed millions, separated families and helped shape the Pacific Northwest. In first-person accounts, visitors to the Capitol and online readers will relive the war and the lessons we continue to learn 65 years later.

The lesson plan follows the inquiry arc as outlined in the College, Career, Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards and are common core aligned (Washington State standards) to challenge students in essential reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. These plans are poised to engage students before, during, and after visiting the Korea 65 project and exhibit (either in person or online).

Lesson Objectives

  • EQ: What was the “Forgotten War”?
  • EQ: How can we remember the “Forgotten War” and the people who served in it?

At the end of this lesson students will...

  • Know the geography of the Korean War.
  • Have an understanding of the timeline of events that led up to, occurred during, and resulted in a truce for the Korean War.
  • Begin to deve lop questions that will guide their research/interaction with the Korea 65 Exhibit.


  • Map and timeline of the Korean War 
  • Map of Korea for reference (not provided) 
  • Color pencils, crayons, and/or markers (not provided)
  • Readings, individual timeline and map


Common Core Reading:
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions. 
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.7 Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts. 
Common Core Writing:
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2.D Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience 
State Social Studies Standards:
  • Geography: Understands the geographic context of global issues. 
  • History: Understands historical chronology.


Before the Lesson:
  • Before this lesson you may want to share some basic background information about the Korean War. This could be through textbook readings, film, or direct instruction.
  • You may want to read through the excerpts and pull vocabulary that you may want to pre-teach to your students. Vocabulary is not a learning objective of this lesson, but may help the students have a better understanding of the readings.
Entry Task:
  • Have the students brainstorm ideas about the effects of war.
    • You could have the students assume different roles (soldier, civilian, homefront, etc.).
    • This brainstorm could be done as a whole class activity where ideas are captured at the front of the class, or in smaller groups where students write their ideas on paper (sticky notes, note cards, scratch paper) and share them that way.
  • At the end of the entry task, students should have a list of ways that war impacts the different groups involved.
Timeline and Map Activity (the timeline on this activity is excerpted from the Korea 65 exhibit):
  • This activity can be done individually or in pairs.
    • More advanced students might be able to complete this activity on their own.
    • For elementary students, this may work best as a whole class activity.
  • Have students read through the timeline of events of the Korean War.
    • For each of the four maps, have the students shade it in using the key.
    • Have students show the bolded events from the timeline on the map.
Summary Activity (the excerpts are from articles written about people from Washington who were involved in the Korean War):
  • This activity should be done in groups of 2-4 to divide the reading:
    • Students with a more proficient reading level may be able to complete this activity on their own.
    • For elementary students this lesson may be best done as a class or in two groups (with each group working on one reading).
    • For elementary you may also want to excerpt the reading to best meet the needs of your students.
    • You may want to model the summary writing with one of the readings for your students.
  • Have student read through the excerpts.
  • For the summary of the article have the students:
    • Highlight or underline key ideas on the reading.
    • Using those ideas, have the students pick 2-3 important ideas that they want to be sure to include into their summary.
    • Have the students write a complete and well-thought-out summary of the reading.
  • For the timeline have the students:
    • Use the line provided to create a timeline for the person and events from the reading.
    • Not all events will have specific dates. Students should be able to approximate dates when needed.
  • For the map have the students:
    • Plot the events on the map of Korea.

Formative Assessment

Formative assessment:
  • The completion of the summary activity could be the formative assessment for this lesson.
Exit ticket ideas:
  • Have students make a list of 3 things that they learned today, 2 things that they found interesting, and 1 question they still have.
  • Have students write one question that they would ask Jim Evans or Patsy Surh O’Connell about their experience during the war.
Korea 65 : Before Visiting the Exhibit, Lesson A