Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

NOTE TO EDUCATORS: The movie featured in this lesson plan addresses the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the U.S. during WWII. The devastating effects of the bombing may be disturbing to students. Due to the sensitivity of this topic, consider previewing the movie before showing it to the class.    

In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades 6-12, students explore BrainPOP features and resources about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, including the events that led up to it and the aftereffects. Then using what they learn, students will produce a newsreel from the American and Japanese perspectives.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Brainstorm what they know about the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  2. Watch a BrainPOP movie about Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  3. Use the Make-a-Map tool to take notes about the bombings.
  4. Use Make-a-Movie to create a newsreel from the U.S. or Japanese perspective.


  • Internet access for BrainPOP
  • Interactive whiteboard


Lesson Procedure:

  1. Tell students that today they will watch a BrainPOP movie about the U.S. bombing two Japanese cities --Hiroshima and Nagasaki--during World War II and the devastating effects. Display the Hiroshima and Nagasaki topic page on the whiteboard, and read aloud, or invite a volunteer to read the full movie description at the bottom of the page.  
  2. Now ask students to share what they know about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear weapons, and/or WWII generally. Write their responses on the board. Depending on how students respond, you may choose to clarify any misinformation.
  3. Show the movie Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the the whole class once through without pausing.
  4. After watching once through, tell students they will produce a newsreel about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, either from the American perspective or Japanese. (You can assign them one or the other or have them choose.) Explain that newsreels were how news was delivered in the 1940s, during WWII. Describe how newsreels were short films shown in movie theaters that told of the news and current events. Show a few examples of newsreels on the whiteboard from the The Newsreel Archive collection from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s.
  5. Tell students that when producing a newsreel, just like when writing a newspaper article, they need to identify the 5 Ws and H: who, what, when, why and how in order to summarize the event.
  6. Instruct students watch the BrainPOP movie Hiroshima and Nagasaki again, this time from within Make-a-Map. As they watch, have them use a Spider Map to answer the 5Ws and H about the bombing of the two cities.
  7. Encourage students to conduct further research as needed. Suggest that they also review the Related Readings.
  8. When they’ve completed their research, have students use Make-a-Movie to create their newsreels. Finally, have them share their newsreels with a small group or the whole class.

Extension Activities:

.Have students to complete the Debate It Worksheet and follow up with a class debate. Challenge students to put their smarts to the test by taking the Hiroshima and Nagasaki quiz