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Not Just Farms Anymore: The Effects of World War II on Mississippi’s Economy lesson plan

OVERVIEW

While the nation was transformed economically by the Second World War effort, individual states were changed as well. Evidence of this transformation can still be seen within Mississippi through the state’s military facilities and manufacturing companies. These types of industries were created for national defense during World War II and still impact the state’s economy today.

CURRICULAR CONNECTIONS

Mississippi Studies Framework: Competencies 1, 2, 3, and 4

TEACHING LEVELS

Grades 7 through 12

MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT

1.

Pen/pencil

2.

Overhead projector

3.

Overhead pen and transparency

4.

Chalk/chalkboard

5.

Blank paper

6.

Notebook paper

7.

Mississippi History Now article

8.

Various Mississippi history textbooks and other resources with state maps

OBJECTIVES

Students will:

Locate various cities and communities listed in the Mississippi History Now article on a student-created map of Mississippi.

Describe the effect World War II had on the Mississippi labor force.

Describe the Mississippi industrial development brought about by World War II.

Explain how Mississippi’s small businesses were affected by World War II.

Determine Mississippi’s importance in the training of military personnel during World War II.

Describe the social changes brought about by World War II.

OPENING THE LESSON

Ask the students to define the term economy. Allow student volunteers to share their answers with the class. Clarify for the class a definition for the term economy. Ask the students to speculate on how a nation’s, as well as a state’s, economy might be affected by world war. Record the student responses on the chalkboard or an overhead transparency. Explain to the class that World War II caused Mississippi’s economy to change tremendously. There was less emphasis on agriculture and a shift toward more industrial development. Ask the students to speculate on how the state’s economy affects their lives and why it should be important to them.

DEVELOPING THE LESSON

1.

Have the students draw a map of the state of Mississippi. Instruct the students to label all the locations listed in the Mississippi History Now article.

2.

Allow student volunteers to share the wartime events and changes that took place in each of these locations labeled on the maps. If a wall map of the state or hanging map of the state is available, allow the students to share their information in front of the class and use the larger map to locate the designated places. (Students could read the Mississippi History Now article as well as complete the map at home before the class discussion.)

3.

Allow students to work with partners in completing a generalization activity concerning the Mississippi History Now article. Instruct the students to copy the following generalizations from the chalkboard or overhead transparency. Tell the the students to use the Mississippi History Now article to find three supporting details for each generalization. The students should list the supporting details in complete sentences, in the space provided below each generalization.

 

Generalizations

1.

Mississippi’s small businesses were affected both positively and negatively by the wartime economic changes.

 
 
 
 

2.

Mississippi played a significant role in the training of military personnel during World War II.

 
 
 
 

3.

Plantation owners in the state had enormous influence over the state’s labor market.

 
 
 
 

4.

Wartime economic changes also created social changes in the state.

 
 
 
 

5.

Mississippi’s industrial base experienced growth during the war.

 
 
 
 

6.

Allow student volunteers to share their answers. This will give the class an opportunity to check their answers for accuracy.

7.

Assign the students to discussion groups which include no more than three or four students. Instruct each student to draw a web. Once the students have drawn the web, they should discuss the Mississippi History Now article and list a significant economic or social change in each object on the web.

8.

After group discussions and completion of the web, ask each student to write an essay about wartime changes in Mississippi. They should choose the three changes they feel were the most important or significant in the state and defend their beliefs in their essays. Allow the students to stay in their discussion groups while they write their paragraphs. Instruct each student to read their essays to their group members. Each discussion group should choose one essay to be read to the class. (You may want to enforce time limits for writing and sharing to prevent some group members from reading out loud while other group members are still writing)

CONCLUDING THE LESSON

The best paragraph from each group should be read out loud to the class.

ASSESSMENT

Maps

Class participation

Generalizations

Webs

Essays

EXTENDING THE LESSON

1.

The students can research the current status of industry and military facilities in Mississippi today.

2.

The students can research the current development of new industry in Mississippi.

3.

The students can take a field trip to the Armed Forces Museum at Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg.

4.

The students can conduct an oral history interview of family members who lived in the state during World War II. The interview could focus on changes that occurred in the state during the war as well as after the war.

5.

Students could locate pictures, newspaper articles and interviews about wartime changes in Mississippi. (Local newspapers as well as the state’s colleges and universities would be great sources)

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