How To Use This Curriculum

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What to Do if Students Don't Have Access to the Internet
Suggestions if Students Have Access to the Internet
Small-Group Roles
Adapting Activities for Various Disciplines
Assessment Ideas for the Entire Curriculum
Classroom Equipment
Hardware, Software and Bandwidth Requirements

What to Do if Students Don't Have Access to the Internet

If your students do not have access to the Internet, we suggest following the lesson and activity instructions for downloading and printing handouts. You will be able to print and make copies of all activity handouts to give your students for in-class activities. We also suggest setting up a projector and computer in your classroom for at least one period, if possible, to show selected video clips from the readings. The addition of personal testimony to history lessons has proved to have a great impact on students. Students interested in viewing the videos and photos themselves are encouraged to look for Internet access at public libraries.

Suggestions if Students Have Access to the Internet

If your students have access to the Internet, we suggest assigning the readings and related questions as homework. You might also have students locate activities and read instructions on their own. Students can easily navigate the website and move from readings to lesson pages to activities.

We also suggest supplementing activities and assignments with research assignments that make use of the oral history interviews, historic images, and documents in the Densho Digital Archive. Students may also use the Internet and some of the websites listed in our "Other Resources" section to conduct research.

You might also encourage students with computer access and technical skills to create websites for your school's local area network or create a PowerPoint demonstration of the major themes they've learned from this curriculum.

Small-Group Roles

The Civil Rights and Japanese American Internment sections engage students in many small-group activities. Some of the suggested roles and responsibilities for individual students working in small groups are:
  • Facilitator: responsible for reading instructions or designating someone in the group to read instructions, for assuring that the group is on task, and for communicating with the instructor
  • Recorder: responsible for writing answers to questions, taking notes, etc.
  • Timekeeper: responsible for keeping track of the time allocated for activities
  • Materials Manager: responsible for obtaining and keeping track of materials used by the group
  • Harmonizer: responsible for the group process, making sure, for example, that no one dominates the discussion and that everyone is participating
  • Reporter: responsible for organizing group presentations and presenting results of activities to the class

Adapting Activities for Various Disciplines

For teachers of history and social studies with limited time to spend on the mass removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans from the West Coast, we highly recommend that some of the activities in Lesson Four and Lesson Five be used to supplement textbook offerings on the Japanese American experience. The nine activities presented in Lesson Four provide a wide range of perspectives on the incarceration. It is recommended that Activity 4-1 be taught to students, as well as two or more of the other activities in Lesson Four. In Lesson Five, it is suggested that either Activity 5-1 or 5-2 be taught, as well as Activity 5-3 or 5-4.

The following are suggestions for using this curriculum module in subjects other than history and social studies. *For teachers with limited time, the activities with asterisks are highly recommended.

Language Arts

  • Using one of the situational cards in Lesson 1, Activity 1-1, Handout 1-1c, have each student express his/her views on the issue presented on the card in the form of a letter to the editor of a newspaper.*
  • After engaging in Lesson 2, Activity 2-1, have students research the history of segregated schools in the United States, land ownership, and/or immigration policies.
  • After examining the articles or cartoons in Lesson 3, Activity 3-1, have students locate contemporary examples of articles and political cartoons related to civil rights, e.g., articles related to civil rights and Arab Americans after September 11, 2001. Have students write papers or prepare reports based on these articles and political cartoons.*
  • All of the activities in Lesson Four have language arts and social studies components. Challenge students to create an interdisciplinary project that carefully integrates language arts, social studies, and at least one other subject area, e.g., geography, science, art, or mathematics.
  • After examining the diverse perspectives on the question of "loyalty" in Lesson Five activities, have students research one of the following topics on the U.S. military: segregated military units, conscientious objection, Military Intelligence Service (MIS), Navajo Code Talkers, draft resistance, women in U.S. military history, Tuskegee Airmen, gays in the military, or a topic of the student's own choosing that meets your approval.
  • After studying about redress and reparations in Lesson Six, have students debate arguments for and against redress and reparations for one of the following: descendants of slaves in the United States, civilian casualties from the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or another topic that meets your approval.


  • Lesson One: Setting the Context provides situational cards to set the context for a general discussion of the fragile nature of civil rights. It is important to emphasize the significance of "due process" to students.*
  • After teaching Lesson One, have students research the history of Amendments XIII, XIV, and XV (see Handout 1-1a: The Bill of Rights and Selected Amendments), and have them write papers or make presentations on how these amendments impacted the lives of many people in the United States. It is recommended that students examine multiple perspectives on the debates that took place prior to the ratification of these amendments.


  • The many perspectives presented in this curriculum, especially those in Lesson Four, lend themselves well to political cartoons. Point out that political cartoons are a visual way to express, criticize, and satirize different points of view through humor, symbols, and illustrations. Have students draw political cartoons that capture the essence of one of the many perspectives presented in this module. They should create captions as well.*
  • Using the comic strips in Lesson 2, Activity 2-1 as a model, have each student develop a comic strip of a civil rights-related episode in his/her life.
  • Using one of Jack Matsuoka's sketches in Lesson 4, Activity 4-4, Handout 4-4g as an example, have students use art to depict scenes from one of the lives of people described in Lesson Five: The Question of Loyalty.
  • Using photographs from the Densho Digital Archive image collection, have students create a model of one of the camps.
  • Have students create children's books with illustrations of the camp experience.


  • Using information from the Densho Digital Archive or some of the suggested websites listed in Other Resources, have students research one of the following topics: distances traveled by Japanese Americans from the West Coast to their incarceration camp destinations, estimated property losses of Japanese Americans, wages earned by those in the incarceration camps.
  • Using information from the Densho Digital Archive or some of the suggested websites listed in Other Resources, have students research the size of a typical camp barrack. Have them construct a model of a typical barrack to proportional scale.


  • Using the Internet, have students research one of the following topics: weather patterns of the 10 incarceration camp areas, health care in the camps, crops grown by Japanese Americans in the camps, ecosystems of the 10 incarceration camp areas.

Assessment Ideas for the Entire Curriculum

  • Show the U.S. Government newsreel, Japanese Relocation, from Lesson 4, Activity 4-1 again. Have students write newsreel reviews. Encourage students to consider and/or incorporate perspectives they have learned from the six lessons. How have students' views of the newsreel changed since their initial viewing?
  • Have students study their textbook's coverage of the Japanese American incarceration. Based on what they have learned from these six lessons, have them write one or two additional paragraphs for their textbook's section on the Japanese American experience.
  • Have students write papers on their civil rights. As part of their papers, encourage students to incorporate civil rights lessons they have learned from the Japanese American experience. Have students write papers on the civil right most important to them. Have students give specific examples of how this civil right protects them and what everyday life would be like without this protection. Have students include a section based on what they have learned about the Japanese American experience: Were Japanese Americans denied this right during the war? How did it affect them? How would you feel if this right were taken away, even if you were a U.S. citizen?

Classroom Equipment

Overhead projector, VCR, computer and projection device

Hardware, Software and Bandwidth Requirements

What hardware and software do I need to use the Densho Website?


Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, NT 4.0 or later, Pentium 233 mhz or faster processor with 32 MB RAM, screen resolution set to 800x600 (1024x768 highly recommended)

  • Internet Explorer 5 or later
  • Netscape 4.7 or later


Macintosh PowerPC with OS 8.1 or later, 233 mhz or faster processor with 32 MB RAM, screen resolution set to 800x600 (1024x768 highly recommended)

  • Internet Explorer 5 or later
  • Netscape 4.7 or later

Web Browser

This website was designed and tested with the following browsers on both Microsoft Windows and the Apple Macintosh systems:

If your browser is not one of the supported versions, you still may be able to use the site; however, we highly recommend downloading one of the free browsers listed above.

Javascript and Cookies

To use the website, you must have Javascript enabled in your browser. In order to access the subscription Densho Digital Archive or use the Media Preferences feature, your browser also must have cookies enabled. (A "cookie" is a small data file that enables Densho to save some information about your preferences. For complete information about cookies and your privacy, see Terms of Use & Privacy Policy.)

Multimedia Software

The Densho website uses technologies called "streaming" and "progressive download" to deliver audio and video clips. These technologies allow you to watch or listen to the presentation without having to wait for the entire file (which is usually quite large) to be transferred onto your computer.

There are several different formats popular on the Internet today. At Densho, we use RealNetworks's RealMedia and Microsoft's Windows Media Technology. To view or listen to the clips at Densho, you must have either RealPlayer version 8, the RealOne Player, or Windows Media Player version 6 or higher. Both companies have free player versions available for Windows and Macintosh computers that you can download using the links below:

Get RealS Player Get Windows Media Player Get Quicktime Player
Download RealOne Player Download Windows Media Player Download Quicktime Player

If you are not sure whether the players will work on your computer, please read the technical requirements for each player before downloading. After you have downloaded and followed the installation instructions, it is best to restart your computer.

Internet Connection and Bandwidth

Streaming media technologies deliver the audio and video information to your computer as the media is actually playing, therefore, the speed or "bandwidth" of your connection to the Internet is very important. In order to view Densho videos, you must have "broadband" Internet service (e.g., cable modem, DSL or other >300kbs connection). If you do not have broadband Internet service, you can listen to the audio-only versions of Densho media with a regular dial-up modem connection.

Sometimes, even with a high-speed connection, the quality of your experience may not be optimal as you would expect. The video might appear blurry, the audio might skip or the player may stop and report that it is "buffering." Often, these problems are due to network congestion, and may resolve themselves if you simply try back later.

Adobe Acrobat Reader

This website uses Adobe PDF files to make printing easier and more consistent. To view and print these files you must have the Adobe Acrobat Reader. A free reader is available at the Adobe download website by clicking on the link below.

Note to Educators

If you are accessing Densho from your school, we strongly recommend speaking with the person responsible for information technology (e.g., Instructional Technology Coordinator) before using audio or video clips in a classroom lesson. While the Densho site uses standard Internet technologies, your school or district may have set up your software, computers or network connections in a manner that will require special configuration.

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