War & Our Community: A Documentation of Voices



The unit involves students answering the question; how do wars affect communities? Students will build background knowledge about U.S. wars; they will then begin investigating how these wars have affected their community. Students will have opportunities to interview people in the community. Students will use interviews, and images created using Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator to tell a story that answers the overarching question.

Students will use their findings to create a documentary film that will tell the story of how past wars have affected the surrounding community.  Students will use technology as a means to reach the learning goal of using research and evidence to answer a question.  The students will be using technology such as transcribing software, cameras, and audio recorders, and database research in order to collect and compile data. Students will use technology such as film, audio, and image editing software to create a product that uses the evidence collected in order to show understanding.  As a result students should have created a documentary as a class.


GLE Standards:

1.3.1 Analyzes and evaluates the causes and effects of U.S. foreign policy on people in the United States and the world in the past or present. 

5.3.1 Creates and articulates possible alternative resolutions to public issues and evaluates these resolutions using criteria that have been identified in the context of a discussion.


RI.11-12.1: Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain

RI.11-12.7: Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem

SL.11-12.1(b): Work with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and decision-making, set clear goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as needed.

W.11-12.7.Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
W.11-12.8: Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation

Essential Questions:

  • How do wars affect communities?
  • What are the effects of wars on people involved?


  • Larger issues have an effect on communities
  • Narratives are stories that are fictional but can also be stories about lived experiences


  • Wars are conflicts fought between and within nation, states, or differing groups.
  •  Conflict is defines as a serious disagreement
  • Veteran is a person who has had long service or experience in a particular occupation or field; i.e., a person who has served or is serving in the armed forces.
  • Civilian is a person not in the armed services or the police force

Students will be able to:

  • Use audial, and visual documentation to create a narrative about an issue in the community
  • Review, Edit and Create a film that shows understanding about how policies affect people.
  • Research using primary and secondary source that will inform and provide background to the issue.
  • Describe how a larger issue such as war, affects a community.
  • Convey understanding about different wars in U.S. history through a class research project.
  • Collect data and resources from interviews and stories from the community

Assessment Evidence:

  • Create a Documentary that uses print, audio, visuals, and interview research from the community to show how communities are affected by conflicts and wars.
  • Editing Documentary in way that makes chronological or thematic sense.
  • Designing and editing images into a movie poster that conveys understanding and meaning of the topic.

Links & Resources:

African American Community after Civil War: Oral stories and information about how life changed and stayed the same after the Civil War for African Americans


International Day of Peace-Impact of War:  A brief look at how war affects different parts of a community.


Interviewing Veterans Lesson: Lesson that has students perform interviews with veterans of wars


Visual Thinking: Symbolism of Representing Ideas: a teaching tool for teaching students about how images can represent ideas http://education.jhu.edu/PD/newhorizons/strategies/topics/Graphic%20Tools%20for%20Learning/margulies_3.htm

D. Technology Use:

– The project has multiple entry points, so student’s interests can be tapped for different parts of project

-Students would be learning collaboration skills in order to complete the project

– The use of technology is needed in order to answer the question and show understanding

– Mini lesson need to be given on film editing, film narrative (documentary), use of film cameras, cinematography styles, Design software use.


– Anticipate students not having time or ability to conduct interviews outside of class by having people from the community come into the classroom for interviews.

– Anticipate that this project may be long term project by breaking the project up into content parts.

-Anticipate the sensitivity of the subject by reviewing interview questions that students create.

-Consider that this unit could be a multi-class project where students from different periods of the same class are working together to create one product.





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