You are here


Being Made Invisible: Imprisoned and Interned

You are here:

In this second unit, students will continue to closely examine the case study of imprisoned Louie Zamperini as they read Unbroken. They will expand their study as they learn about interned Japanese-American Miné Okubo in a separate biographical account. As students read both Zamperini’s and Okubo’s stories, they will focus on the theme of resisting forced “invisibility” while being imprisoned or interned. This theme concept will be analyzed through a dual lens: the internal struggle to maintain dignity, identity, and self-worth against dehumanizing efforts; and the external isolation of being closed off from the outside world while in captivity.

In the mid-unit assessment, students will build on the background knowledge they have gained about the Pacific Theater in World War II and the plight of Japanese-Americas as they classify various mediums used to convey information about World War II. Students will also evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums to communicate during this mid-unit assessment. For the end of unit assessment, students will write an informational essay in which they use the strongest evidence from both texts to show how captors forced “invisibility” upon those imprisoned or interned.


Each unit is made up of a sequence of between 5-20 lessons. The “unit at a glance” chart in the curriculum map breaks down each unit into its lessons, to show how the curriculum is organized in terms of standards address, supporting targets, ongoing assessment, and protocols. It also indicates which lessons include the mid-unit and end-of-unit assessments.

Big Ideas & Guiding Questions

  • How does war (and conflict) affect individuals and societies?
  • How does captivity make the captive invisible?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums?
  • There are important yet divergent experiences in war and conflict.

Content Connections

NYS Social Studies Core Curriculum:

3. Time, Continuity, and Change

  • Reading, reconstructing, and interpreting events
  • Analyzing causes and consequences of events and developments
  • Considering competing interpretations of events

6. Power, Authority, and Governance

  • Origins, uses, and abuses of power
  • Conflict, diplomacy, and war

10. Global Connections and Exchange

  • Past, current, and likely future global connections and interactions
  • Cultural diffusion, the spread of ideas, beliefs, technology, and goods
  • Benefits/consequences of global interdependence (social, political, economic)
  • Tension between national interests and global priorities


  • N/A


Texts to buy

Texts that need to be procured. Please refer to Trade Book List for procurement guidance.

Cover Text Quantity ISBNs
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
by Laura Hillenbrand
One per student
ISBN: ​9780812974492

Texts included in the unit

Texts that are included in the lesson materials.

Cover Text Quantity Publisher
“Riverside’s Miné Okubo,”
by Mary H. Curtin
Splinters-Splinters (blog), 2011
“Miné Okubo,” Voices from the Gaps,
by Chelsie Hanstad, Louann Huebsch, Danny Kantar, and Kathryn Siewert
University of Minnesota, 2004
“The Life of Miné Okubo,” written by Expeditionary Learning for instructional purposes.
by Expeditionary Learning
Expeditionary Learning,
Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Executive Order No. 9066,” Feb. 19, 1942.
by Franklin D. Roosevelt
“The Fifth Column on the Coast,” The Washington Post, Feb. 12, 1942.
by Walter Lippmann
The Washington Post, 1942
The Report on Japanese on the West Coast of the United States (“the Munson Report”), Oct. 7, 1941.
by Curtis B. Munson
the Munson Report, 1941
“Day of Infamy” speech, delivered Dec. 8, 1941, as found at
by Franklin D. Roosevelt
“War in the Pacific”
by Edison McIntyre
Cobblestone (Vol. 15, Issue 1), 1994
“Fourteen-Part Message”
by Japanese Foreign Ministry



ELA G8:M3A:U2:L10

ELA G8:M3A:U2:L16

Optional Activities


  • Consider collaborating with the Social Studies teacher during this unit, as students build background knowledge about the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, read and study primary source documents, and study social and cultural influences of Japan on the Japanese soldier.
  • Invite World War II historians, veterans, or previously interned Japanese-Americans to visit and provide students with compelling and interesting stories and experiences about the Pacific Theater in World War II and Japanese-American interment.

Students may study the local monuments, the service of local community members who were involved in World War II, and any local connections to the internment of Japanese-Americans.

Students may organize a community benefit or event to recognize the service and sacrifice of veterans in their community.

Consider using the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources as a resource for World War II and Japanese Internment.

Our newest K-5 curricula is available on a new site,
This website will be decommissioned in June 2018. Sign up for updates.