Building History 3.0 is a collection of resources designed to assist you in teaching students about the World War II Japanese American incarceration camps.
There is no single way to use our website! All of our resources can be used independently, or in conjunction with each other or your existing curriculum. You’ll find a graphic historical timeline, short documentaries produced for students, lesson plans, and interactive activities in Minecraft. Teachers wishing to include the Minecraft components of our lesson plans will find resources to support them in that process.
Building History 3.0 encourages students to explore this period in American history actively, and will help students to develop 21st century skills including independent research, digital citizenship, STEM skills and design thinking, creativity, personal reflection, effective storytelling, empathy and kindness, and collaboration. The curriculum was developed in accordance with national and state Common Core Standards.
Quick Look at Our Website
A collection of six short documentaries introduces students to some of the people touched by the incarceration camps. Produced and edited specifically for Building History 3.0, these classroom-ready videos follow former Heart Mountain boy scouts, a woman reunited with her doll collection decades after being forced to leave them behind, a 92-year-old Nisei World War II veteran, a boy learning about his grandmother’s experience at camp by recreating Manzanar in Minecraft, and more. Each video tells a single story, and so these may be used independently or as a group.
The graphic timeline introduces students to the events that led up to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, beginning with the arrival of Japanese immigrants in modern-day Hawai’i in 1885. Developments during the War are laid out in an easy-to-read format, and the timeline concludes in 1988 with the signing of HR 442 by President Ronald Reagan.
Our introduction to Minecraft demonstrates basic skills that will get a newbie (teacher or student) ready for our game-centered learning activities. You can use this guide to access a free version of Minecraft and learn basic maneuvers in the game.
Our virtual camp allows students to explore a minimalistic recreation of the Manzanar incarceration camp in Minecraft. Depending on how this resource is implemented, it can be used simply for demonstration purposes, or as a blank canvas to allow students to recreate elements of camp life as they learn about these in class. For example, the virtual camp is incorporated into our lesson plans, though they may be used independently.
Visit our partners’ websites for additional readings and resources. Our partners feature additional archival images, oral histories and lesson plans.
The suitcase activity in Minecraft puts students in the shoes of children who had to pack for the incarceration camps. As they select from a list of items they can fit into their suitcases, students are confronted with the reality of what would need to be left behind.
Not sure where to start? Download our “Quick Start” guide for an overview of the tools and resources on our site available to you.
Lesson plans provide a structured lesson plan that takes users through research, creation, sharing and reflection. It begins with driving questions on themes such as citizenship, civil liberties, democracy, and immigration. Students then conduct research using online and digital resources, books, oral histories and other sources, and analyze and discuss that research. They draw from their research to design their own virtual recreations of the sites using Minecraft.
Download Lesson Plans
Building History 3.0 is a great way
to engage kids and students!
Depending on which parts of the lesson plans you intend to implement, students can use Minecraft Classic, Minecraft: Java Edition (Windows or macOS), Minecraft Education Edition (Windows 10, macOS, or iPad), or the Minecraft app for mobile devices. Please refer to the “How To Setup Minecraft” appendix in each lesson plan for more details.