Jade Crown, Orchard Elementary School, Davis School District
Sandy Early, Columbia Elementary School, Davis School District

Suggested Grade Level(s): 4, 5, 6

Suggested Subject Area(s): Social Studies

Number of Class Periods Required: 8 class periods (45 minutes per period)

Enduring Understanding: Diversity in the United States helps democracy to function.

Essential Questions:

  • Who is the “We” in “We, the People”?
  • How does racism affect the American experience?
  • Is it more important to have safety or liberty?
  • What is the Topaz “Relocation Camp”?

Teacher Overview:
This unit takes students on a journey following the experiences of Japanese Americans during World War II. The journey begins with Pearl Harbor, continues with Japanese Americans being bused to Tanforan and then removed to Topaz, Utah, and concluding with them starting their lives over again. This unit underscores the understanding that Constitutional rights are for all Americans. Prior to this unit, fifth- and sixth-grade students should have already studied the three branches of the government and the Bill of Rights.

Download the entire “Lessons from Topaz: Have We Really Learned Them?” unit (5.3 MB)


Resources and References