Korea 65: Before visiting the exhibit, Lesson B


Korea 65: Before visiting the exhibit, Lesson B


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: How do we make the forgotten war unforgettable?
  • EQ: How was the forgotten war experienced differently by different groups?
  • EQ: What makes a good question for research?

At the end of this lesson students will…

  • Choose a lens of focus for their inquiry.
  • Design questions to guide the display visit to the Korea 65 display as well as further research.


  • Handout: Lens of Focus
  • Shortened Question Formulation Technique (QFT)


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.
Common Core Writing:
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
Common Core Speaking and Listening:
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly. 
State Social Studies Standards:
  • History- Understands that there are multiple perspectives and interpretations of historical events.


Entry Task - Eight Step Quiz Exchange

  1. All students should write a “quiz” question related to information learned yesterday about the Korean War.
  2. Students stand with quiz question in hand, walk at least eight steps in any direction, and then partner up.
  3. Partners then quiz each other (if they don’t know the answer, they “teach” it).
  4. After quizzing, partners exchange questions and take eight steps in another direction to partner up with a new person.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for five rounds.
  6. After activity, ask students if there was any clarifying questions for review that they ended up with after the eight step quiz exchange.

Lens Selection (see handout)

  1. Assign or have students select a partner. They will work as a team to prepare for the exhibit visit. Afterward, the partners will analyze the exhibit and research and create the final project.
    1. For elementary students – teachers may choose to have the class do one lens all together and lead the group through this brainstorm and the next question creation process as a whole group.
    2. For high school students – teachers may choose to have each individual student pick a lens and create their own questions.
  2. Read the background information as a class (in reading partners, as a whole class, or whatever structure works best in your classroom)
  3. Partners will pick a focus lens of analysis and complete the Think we know, Want to find out brainstorm sheet. This can be very general about the groups of focus or very specific about things they know about the Korean War in particular.
    1. Teachers – Encourage an approximately equal number of groups to focus on each of the different lenses, if possible. However, student choice can be a powerful motivator.
    2. Students – It is ok to be wrong on a brainstorm. It is a collection of our best-informed guesses, ideas and questions that we have at this moment. You’ll get more specific and clarify any misconceptions in your learning later.

Question Formulation

  1. Students should follow the Question Formulation Technique as outlined on the handout. Teacher should determine the right division of time for students to complete each step in their partnerships.
    1. Create Essential Question using question stem and chosen lens.
    2. Create Supporting Questions.
    3. Improve Supporting Questions.
    4. Prioritize Supporting Questions.
  2. Preview visit to display, use of questions, and goal of product after display visit.
  3. Collect/approve/share out lenses and questions.
    1. If teacher wants to ensure quality questions or score the completion of the task, it should be collected.
    2. If there is some time left in the class period when questions are created, place 3-4 partnerships together to share their lenses/questions and start to predict what they think they’ll find out in the display visit and add these ideas to their brainstorm from earlier.

Formative Assessment

  • Knowledge demonstrated in Entry Task 
  • Chosen Lens 
  • Essential Question and four Supporting Questions developed in preparation for a visit to the Display
Korea 65: Before visiting the exhibit, Lesson B