Classroom Activities: 

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Do You See What I See

Lesson Overview

Overview: In this activity, students will closely examine war posters from the World War II era, make inferences about the colors used, layout and the different situations depicted therein; and offer informed speculations concerning each poster.
Grade Range: 6-8
Objective: After completing this lesson, students will be able to
  • Analyze posters and identify ways in which color, layout and content influences people's feelings.
Time Required: Two class periods of 45 minutes.
Discipline/Subject: Social Studies/Reading
Topic/Subject: Advertising/War, Military
Era: Great Depression/WWII, 1929-1945


Illinois Learning Standards: English Language Arts
3-Write to communicate for a variety of purposes.
5-Use language arts to acquire, assess and communicate information.

Social Science:
16-Understand events, trends, individuals and movements shaping the history of Illinois, the United States and other nations. 



Analysis Tools: Poster Analysis Sheet
PowerPoint Slides: Available on PDF
Other: Paper, Markers, Colored Pencils
Library of Congress Items: Title: "Censored": Lets censor our conversations about the war.
  Title: Stamp'em out: Buy U.S. Stamps and bonds.
  Title: Are you helping? With salvage.
  Title: Keep mum-the world has ears.
  Title: Sew for victory/Pistchal
  Title: This is your air raid protection: Get it now
  Title: Help us preserve food
  Title: Black out means black
  Title: Visibility zero unless you lend your binoculars to the navy: 6 x 30 or 7 x 50 Zeiss or Bousch and Lomb: pack carefully and send to Navy Observatory, Washington, D.C.


1. Have students look at the PowerPoint of the war time posters using the smartboard.
2. Discuss with them the usefulness of said posters and talk with them about the color, layout and topic of each poster. What feelings does each poster invoke on the viewer? Teacher and students will discuss the importance of each poster.
3. Students will be divided into groups and given a copy of the Poster Analysis worksheet. Have each group pick one poster to analyze.
4. Use one poster as an example with the students to show them how to fill out the Poster Analysis worksheet.
5. Groups will use all of the information acquired to make their own war time poster.
6. Groups/students will look at and evaluate the finished posters.

Student understand will be evaluated by discussion and reading their responses to the poster analysis worksheet. Also, the students will be using peer evaluation on the completed posters.

Author Credit

K. Meeker
Cumberland Middle School