American History Veteran Project
American History is an ongoing story that paints the picture of life as it once was. This picture of history allows us to make interpretations on it as well as bring to light many pressing issues throughout time. However, the overall picture can best be seen through the eyes of those who have lived it. This will allow the learner to be instantly transferred back in time to a new, unknown world.
As an American History student, you will be able to paint the full picture of a historical time period by actually interviewing a veteran of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, or our ongoing wars in Afghanistan or Iraq.
Students will not only be able to interview these men or women involved directly or indirectly with the war but also interpret the information so that others can learn from it.
Directions for the American History Oral/Visual Report
STEP #1: Choosing what form of project to do
Pick one of the following forms of the project to do:
- Use of a camcorder to interview veterans
- Use of power point to show veteran’s interview
STEP #2 Secure the interview
Local churches are good places to locate our seniors. You will have to talk the minister first to let him/her know what you are planning on doing and that you would like to talk to some of the seniors to find out who was involved in a war. Senior centers are also good places as well. You will have to first contact the director of a senior center to let them know what you are doing. Social organizations such as the Masons, Moose, Knights of Columbus, Elks, American Legion or the local VFW are good places to find veterans.
Please be very respectful and professional when talking to prospective
veterans for your interview. Some will not want to talk about the war that
they were involved in. They find it too hard to talk about. DO NOT
PRESSURE THEM TO DO ANYTHING THEY DO NOT FEEL
UNCOMFORTABLE DOING. You will have a much more memorable and enjoyable experience if you interview people that love sharing stories.
STEP #3 Preparing for the interview
Ask the veteran that you are interviewing – what war they were involved
in? Where were they stationed during the war? What years were they in
the war? What would be the best time and place to interview them? If you would like to use my camcorder, I am available after school for you to interview the person in the room. Let me know ahead so that I can charge the batteries. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST WEEK TO DO THIS.
STEP #4 Preparing for the interview
Prepare for the interview by researching the war. You will need to print
out a map of where the veteran was stationed at so that it can be used in the presentation. Also, you will need to type up a overview of the war that they were in during the time that they served in it. This report can be in an outline format. The outline will help you understand the interview more clearly. You can use the text book for this.
STEP #5 Check equipment
Check and experiment with equipment used for interview in advance so that you know how to operate it and that the batteries, etc. are ready to go. It may be wise to use a tape recorder if you are doing a power-point presentation. The school only has one camcorder for students to use – you will need to check it out with the librarian. She will tell you how to work it. It is YOUR responsibility if you break it. Remember, you can use my camcorder if you do the interview in the class after school. In addition, you will need to buy a tape for the camcorder so you’ll need to know what kind to get.
STEP #6 The Interview
The interview should be respectful, thoughtful, and professional. Use the
following mandatory questions below in addition to 15 questions that you
make yourself. Do not stop the veteran if they want to add more important
information to a question. Here is the list of the mandatory questions:
- What war were you involved in?
- Where were you stationed?
- What rank were you in the war?
- What role did you play in the war?
- Describe the war in your own words?
- Where you proud to serve your country? Why?
- What major battles were you in?
- What are some memorable moments of your tour?
- What impact did it have on you as a person?
- What impact did it have on your family back home?
Interview important points
- Be on time for the interview
- Dress neat and be professional
- Be prepared – camcorder ready, etc.
- Be prepared with the topic (WW II, Vietnam, etc.)
- Thank your veteran – ask if you can contact them again
if you have anymore questions
STEP #7 Other information to be collected about your topic
Choose three of the five here:
- Old Newspaper articles
- Old Magazine articles
- Old letters
- Family records
- Old maps
The above primary sources can be found at the Hillsdale College library.
STEP #8 The final project and presentation
The presentation needs to include: (Presentation must be no less than 5
minutes and no more than 15 minutes)
- Introduce topic – war name, name of veteran, where stationed by using the map you have printed out
- Show video of veteran (if you are using power-point, you need to have as many slides as it takes to answer the 25 questions) All power-points need to be saved on a disk for the presentation
- Pass out individual copies of the three primary sources that you have chosen (see Step #7) The sources come from either the library or a website.
- Be ready to answer any questions that the class has for you
- Any handouts you feel would add to your presentation
The project – (what needs to be turned in)
- Map of where person was stationed (printed from computer)
- Three primary sources (printed from computer or copied from book in library)
- One page outline of the war in which the person was in (typed 12 font, double spaced)
- 25 interview questions that were used in interview (typed)
- Any visuals or extra handouts to add to your presentation (copied for class – I can make copies for you)
Your grade is based on fulfilling the above objectives. The grade is out of 100 possible points. Please feel free to see me if you have any questions. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO START THIS PROJECT. YOU NEED TO START RIGHT NOW.
GOOD LUCK -- I KNOW THAT YOU WILL DO GREAT!!!!
DUE DATE: _____________________