The Vietnam War is a hard one to teach kids about, especially if you want to present an unbiased viewpoint. I searched long and hard to find out “why did the United States enter the Vietnam War?” but wasn’t finding a good lesson on that.
Especially because I wanted to find lessons that let the kids draw their own conclusions, should we have entered the war. There’s nothing, less than nothing.
So, I adapted some lesson plans to create this lesson.
Why did the United States enter the Vietnam War lesson plan
Materials required: posterboard, handout, markers
Time required: about an hour
Age range: we did this with elementary to high school age (I wouldn’t do it with just young elementary)
Why did the United States enter the Vietnam War procedures
First they were split into two groups, just like in our Korean War lesson, a pro-war group, and an anti-war group.
Then each group had 30 minutes to go through the information, figure out each person’s part, and prepare their information.
This time I cautioned them about using real names, so I could show the videos of each presentation on my blog, want to protect their privacy and names after all.
This group did pretty well over all, but you can see they had a few problems with focus. It was a vast improvement over their first presentation. For some reason Superman interpreted be passionate as talk in a strange falsetto voice.
This group did much better despite having the younger kids over-all. I think in some ways this is due to the personality of the team members, their leader is much more organizationally inclined. They felt more practiced, and they brought up things President Kennedy himself had promised when he was elected.
I could see real growth in the kids from the two different attempts at convincing us. In this instance I think the pro-war group did a much better job in their presentation of material and in their arguments. I personally still haven’t figured out how I feel about the Vietnam War, on the one hand why are we in a war in Asia, but on the other hand if we want to support democracies in the world, we need to stand behind our words. There was a slaughter when we finally did withdraw, so I don’t know what is the right decision.
And that would be why we don’t tend to teach on recent history because it’s still so tinged with current events.
Vietnam War lessons I found:
For more US history lessons: