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Normandy Invasion Lesson Plan

May 17, 2016

Battle of Normandy Teaching Plan
David Qua
May 16, 2016


  • Introduce students to the Battle of Normandy
    • Students will leave class understanding the:
      • Basic details of the Battle of Normandy
      • Difficulties faced by American G.I.s
      • Geography of the Normandy region
  • Skills
    • Group-work
    • Writing
    • Map reading


  1. Before class: Write following on board:
    1. Name Tags
      1. Write your first and last name on the front of the card
      2. On the back, where there are lines, answer the following two questions:
        1. What is a fact you have previously learned about the Battle of D-Day/Battle of Normandy, which took place during World War 2?
        2. What is your favorite thing about Rashi School?  Why would I want to teach here?
    2. Draw how you want desks and groups to be arranged
      1. 3 groups
    3. Arrange desks into 2 blocks
    4. Load Student Google Doc onto computers
  2. As students enter class – have them create name/freewrite cards
  3. Begin class with brief overview
    1. 0-10 minutes – Introduction, Groups, Directions
      1. Collect cards
      2. Hi – my name is David Qua
      3. Type abv. notes onto google doc
      4. Using map – give students additional information if need/if time
      5. Divide class into 3 groups
      6. Go over directions
        1. As a group, watch video
        2. When finished, answer the questions
        3. If you have extra time, answer map questions
    1. 10-30 minutes – Stations
      1. The German Perspective
      2. A G.I.’s Perspective
        1. If time – Map Activity
    2. Last 15 minutes – Journaling – “Into the Jaws of Death”
      1. Go over directions:
      2. If extra time, have students read off the beginning of their journals to provide examples of what can be expected
      3. While they are working – “Boy that’s really good.  Would you mind sharing that with the class”

Information about Battle of Normandy (Generated by student)

  • It was meant to be on June 5th, 1944 but it was delayed because of the weather to June 6th
  • The Allies attacked via 5 beaches, Gold, Juno, Sword, Utah, Omaha
  • Allied Troops invading France landed at 7:00 (people coming in by boat)
  • 23,000 paratroopers landed around 12:00
  • Out of the 5 beaches, the most casualties took place at Omaha (2,000)
  • The German commander, Erwin Rommel had taken his one vacation day in 6 months, spending it in France (w/his wife), when the attack took place
  • One of the reasons that the Germans couldn’t respond is because Hitler was sleeping, and they didn’t want to wake him up

Station I: The German Perspective


  1. Click on the link above and watch the following clip of Battle of Normandy from the German Perspective.  As you are watching, answer the following 2 questions.
    1. What “facts” were presented about the Battle of Normandy?


Group A’s Facts



Group B’s Facts

    1. How does the German depiction differ from what you expected?


Group A’s Facts


Group B’s Facts


Map Activity


Directions: If you finish your activity early, please answer the following questions using the map below:


  1. How many U.S. divisions took part in the D-Day invasion of Normandy? Name them:


  1. How many British divisions took part in the D-Day invasion of Normandy? Name them:


  1. How many Allied divisions in total took part in the invasion?


  1. What beach did the Canadians assault?


  1. Which two major Normandy towns had the Allies captured by June 12?


  1. Approximately how many miles is the length of the entire invasion area?


  1. To get from Normandy to Paris you must travel (direction).


  1. What geographical obstacle kept the 21st Panzer Division from attacking the Allies on D-Day?


  1. Which beach had the smallest Allied advance of D-Day


  1. Which town did U.S. Airborne troops capture?


  1. To get to London from Normandy you must travel (direction).


  1. Can you determine how many miles the Allied armada traveled across the English Channel? Explain:


Station II: A G.I.’s Perspective

Directions: Using your headphones, click on the link above and listen to the following clip containing the American Perspective.  As you are listening, answer the following questions:

  1. Click on the link above and watch the following clip of Battle of Normandy from the American Perspective.  As you are watching, answer the following 2 questions.
    1. What “facts” were presented about the Battle of Normandy?


Group B’s Facts


Group A’s Facts

    1. What obstacles did the American troops face as they stormed the beach at Normandy?

Group B’s Facts


Group A’s Facts


Station IV: Journalling

Directions: Spend the remainder of class writing a journal entry from the point of view of an American service man during WWII.  When you insert a fact you have learned during today’s class, please underline it.



As the water from the Atlantic Ocean sprayed me in the face, I couldn’t believe how scared I was.  Sure, my buddies from The 1st Infantry Division had trained for this moment for nearly a year while stationed in England, but the explosions, which we couldn’t see over the top of the Higgins Boat but we could hear, scared me to death.  All around me, people we getting sick from the violent waves and throwing up all over the boat, but I was just scared.  The closer we got to shore the more I could hear the bullets slamming and bouncing off the armored front of the ship, and I knew that it was only a matter of time before the German machine guns and mortars were aimed in my direction.  I knew from the Colonel’s briefing that we were going against the was the 352nd infantry Division, but it really didn’t matter to me.  All I wanted to do was to get off the boat and do our job.

Additional Thoughts:

  1. If I knew the school abetter and had strong relationships with the students, I might have started off this lesson with a brief clip from Saving Private Ryan Clip showing the horrors of battle.
  2. If I had more tech, I would have broken down into more/smaller groups
  3. If I were to teach this next year – this lesson might serve as an introduction to the battle of Normandy.  I would spend the second day reviewing the map questions and learning about the geography of the Normandy region.  To extend the activity further, I would assign research projects where students learn about a topic in depth and shared their learning with their peers.  I would wrap up the unit with a kinesthetic activity that would be modeled on this fellow teacher’s lesson plan.

Two things –

  1. Feel free to steal this lesson.
  2. What could I have done better?

From → Lesson Plans

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