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Manzanar National Historic Site Educator Resources Kit (curricula)

Creators: National Park Service and its partners at Manzanar National Historic Site


"How does identity shape my experience in America?" is the central question which serves to unify the wide range of materials in this resource kit. The kit includes printed materials (lesson plans, reproductions of primary sources, official park brochure, booklet for self-guided tours, Densho brochure), and digital resources (video documentary, electronic field trip, biographical sketches of former inmates, related standards, lesson plans, and historical photos). The Manzanar National Historic Site Educator Resources Kit was supported by a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program and the Manzanar History Association.

The nearly 200 pages of curriculum materials target the 4th and 10th/11th grades, however the authors suggest that they can be adapted for other grade levels. The primary sources and worksheets to complete all of the learning activities are provided in the kit. Lessons are designed to be used together for a two-week course or as stand-alone activities. The progression of the lessons goes from a focus on identity, to connecting with the past, the impact of war, the incarceration experience, and particularly for the secondary level, examination of racial discrimination in more contemporary settings. Most of the lessons are not specific to Manzanar , and therefore can be used to study the Japanese American incarceration story generally. An additional resources section includes standards correlated to specific lessons (California State Standards and National Teaching Standards), an index of 68 biographies of former inmates (ID Booklets provided on CD rom), and a listing of related books, videos, and websites.

The kit includes four DVD/CDRom discs:

Manzanar: Desert Diamonds Behind Barbed Wire : This recording of an electronic field trip of Manzanar on February 13, 2007, was produced by Ball State University and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. There are two versions of the 60-minute field trip hosted by Jeff Arnett, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, several middle school students, National Park Service (NPS) staff, and former incarcerees – Pete Mitsui, Rosie Maruki Kakuchi, and Saburo Sasaki. The field trip begins with a one-minute tour of Manzanar, then touches on prewar history, life in Manzanar, and life after camp through the signing of the 1988 Civil Liberties Act . Several learning activities are integrated throughout the video. Students from around the country call into the program with questions that are answered by the former incarcerees and/or NPS staff. The content of both field trips is the same, but the programs vary slightly due to different student questions. The disc also includes several lesson plans, most targeting 4th – 9th grades.

Remembering Manzanar : This 22-minute video documentary was produced by Signature Communications for the National Park Service and is the introductory video shown at the Manzanar National Historic Site.

Educator Resources: Manzanar National Historic Site : Produced by the National Park Service, this disc includes original artwork, historic documents (some reproductions, some text only), ID Booklets documenting the biographies of 68 former inmates, photographs (historic and contemporary), primary and secondary lesson plans with additional resources and listing of related standards, and various National Park Service publications (i.e. timelines, maps).

Densho Civil Liberties Curriculum : This disc was produced by Densho in 2007 and includes four curriculum units, two for high school (civics and history), one for middle school (civics), and one for elementary. All are aligned with Washington State and National Social Studies Standards. The development of these materials was funded by the Washington Civil Liberties Public Education Program .

Manzanar War Relocation Center was one of ten camps where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II. Located in the Owens Valley in Central California, Manzanar was established as a National Historic Site in 1992. It includes over 8,000 square feet of exhibits, including barracks, mess hall, guard tower, rock garden, and an auditorium restored as a visitor center with exhibits, a bookstore and theater.

Authored by Janet Hayakawa , Densho
For More Information

For More Information

Manzanar National Historic Site website: https://www.nps.gov/manz/index.htm .

Curriculum materials (download lesson plans, worksheets, standards, and additional resources) https://www.nps.gov/manz/learn/education/curriculummaterials.htm .