Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

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This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic World War II Causes, and supports the standard of analyzing the causes of World War II. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of projects.


Prompt students to think of wars they’ve heard of or learned about in the past. Ask students:

  • What are some reasons one country might go to war with another? 


  • Read the description on the World War II Causes topic page.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 
  • Assign Related Reading. Have students read one of the four articles. Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY and ASSESS 

Assign World War II Causes Challenge and Quiz, prompting students to apply essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.


Students express what they learned about World War II causes while practicing essential literacy skills with one or more of the following activities. Differentiate by assigning ones that meet individual student needs.

  • Make-a-Movie: Produce a newscast announcing the onset of World War II. Describe the events leading to the war. 
  • Make-a-Map: Create a concept map sequencing key events that lead to the start of World War II.
  • Creative Coding: Code a museum exhibit where each artifact represents one cause of World War II. 

More to Explore 

Time Zone X: World War II Causes: Place historical events in chronological order in this interactive timeline game.

Related BrainPOP Topics: Deepen understanding of World War II with these topics: World War I, World War II, League of Nations, and Pearl Harbor.

Teacher Support Resources:

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments