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Lesson Plan:

For Teachers: An Internment Camp Journal

Type: Assignment
Subjects: History, English Language Arts
Grades: Grades 6-8
Duration: 1 to 2 lessons
Purpose: To understand the impact of internment on a young child
Summary: Students will write a journal entry in role as a seven-year-old child in an internment camp.

Before Exploring

If students have not already defined the term "internment," they can find and confirm a class definition now. Students will also need to understand the difference between the historical uses of the terms internment camp and concentration camp.

Post an outline map of British Columbia on the overhead or on the board. Have students locate Richmond on the coastline and New Denver (the site of one internment camp) in the interior. Ask students to describe where Japan is in relation to the B.C. coastline. Then ask: Why do you think Japanese Canadian families were forcibly moved from Richmond to New Denver?

Outline the Opportunity

Have students review the clip "The fragile democracy" from the topic Relocation to Redress: The Internment of the Japanese Canadians on the CBC Digital Archives website. Be sure that students know who David Suzuki is and what his role is in Canada today.

As students view, ask them to discuss with a partner or make notes about their impressions and thoughts. Using the information they have gathered, students will write a journal entry in role as a seven-year-old child living in an internment camp. Students must select a date from the year 1943 and they must write about their living conditions, their schooling, their family situation, and what they think the future might hold for them when the war finally ends.

Revisit and Reflect

When the students have completed their journal entries, they can meet in groups of four and share their entries with one another. Students should keep track of the similarities and the differences in each of the journal entries. Each group should choose one of the journal entries to present orally. As a class, discuss all the entries presented.


After thoroughly discussing the impact of being interned as a young Japanese Canadian, ask the students to write a paragraph explaining whether or not young people should have been interned with their parents.