2021 marks the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day. For most students, this date is now so far in the past that they won’t have any living relatives who can share their stories. That makes these Pearl Harbor videos all the more meaningful. This is a challenging topic, especially for younger kids, but there are options here that you can use with almost any age. (Be sure to preview videos in advance to ensure they’re appropriate for your audience.)
1. The Attack on Pearl Harbor
Learn the basic facts of the events of December 7, 1941, in this quick overview from the Smithsonian. It’s good for upper elementary through high school.
2. Pearl Harbor (1941)
There’s no easy way to talk about war with kids. But this is one of the Pearl Harbor videos you can share with them if you’d like to avoid gory footage, at least. The simple animation explains the facts of the day.
3. The Attack on Pearl Harbor (Infographics Show)
Prior to Pearl Harbor, most American eyes were on the war in Europe as Germany continued its march across the continent. So how did it happen that an attack by the Japanese propelled the United States into joining WWII? Find out in this episode of the Infographics Show.
4. Why Did Japan Attack Pearl Harbor?
Here’s another video that’s appropriate for younger students. A student learns the basics of what happened that day, without any violent footage that might alarm kids.
5. SPOTLIGHT: The Attack On Pearl Harbor
This one’s a little dry, but the information will help kids understand why Japan targeted Pearl Harbor. It lays out the timeline of the day and explains why American early warning systems failed.
6. What Happened After the Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor changed Americans’ lives, sometimes in ways they could never have expected. Learn about its effect on Hawaii, where many of the residents were of Japanese heritage, and how the general public reacted to the momentous event.
7. Pearl Harbor (Studies Weekly)
Studies Weekly creates material specifically for K-6 students, making this one of the Pearl Harbor videos you can share with the younger crowd. It includes a clip of FDR’s famous “date that will live in infamy speech.”
8. President Franklin D. Roosevelt Declares War on Japan
Watch President Roosevelt deliver his entire speech, leading to the United States declaration of war on Japan.
9. Pearl Harbor Attack—Maps and Timelines
Visual learners will appreciate the maps and timelines in this video as they learn what led up to the Pearl Harbor attack.
10. Naval Legends: Pearl Harbor
If you’re looking for a longer, more detailed Pearl Harbor video, give this one a try. It’s just over half an hour long, perfect for watching in class, followed by a discussion about what students learned.
11. Original Pearl Harbor News Footage
Travel back in time with this original newsreel and relive the way Americans across the country learned more about the attack. Discuss the inflammatory language, such as the repeated use of the derogatory term “Jap,” and its effect on viewers at the time. Best for middle and high school.
12. Pearl Harbor: The Last Word—The Survivors Share
2016 marked the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, and these last few survivors shared their memories of that day. Save this one for high school students, since some of the stories are heartbreakingly intense.
13. Pearl Harbor: Into the Arizona
Most schools can’t take field trips to the Pearl Harbor memorial, but this video lets you visit virtually. You’ll also meet Don Stratton, who visits for the first time since he experienced the attack on the Arizona 75 years earlier.
14. Peer Into a Fallen Battleship
Dive under the water with National Geographic and see what the USS Arizona looked like 75 years after the attack.
15. American Artifacts: USS Utah Memorial at Pearl Harbor
The USS Arizona is easy to see as part of the Pearl Harbor Memorial, but the USS Utah isn’t currently accessible to the general public. Watch this video to learn more about this ship and its memorial.
How do you commemorate Pearl Harbor Day in your classroom? Come share on the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
Plus, 15 activities & websites to teach kids about historical timelines.