Visit the Classroom Victory Garden Project website to learn about food production during WWII, find lesson plans and activities for elementary students, get tips for starting your own garden and try out simple Victory Garden recipes!
Visit our new interactive website to learn about wartime technical and scientific advances that forever changed our world.
Turn your students into history detectives as they ponder over the origins and uses of these intriguing pieces of WWII history.
Below is a sampling of the feedback we receive from teachers who have discovered the many creative ways to use Operation Footlocker in their classrooms.
Click here to download an Artifact Analysis matrix developed by teacher K. Gonzales, St. Amant High School (your footlocker’s artifacts may vary).
Compare life in the United States from "reading" the footlocker artifacts to life in Denmark by reading Number the Stars.
- Kathleen F., Gretna, LA
"I wanted to make sure that students were able to personally have time with each artifact. I created 12 stations and with a 2-hour block schedule, we were able to spend about 10 minutes with each set of artifacts. Students then answered a few simple questions about each artifact. After the activity, the students were to reflect on their favorite objects and discuss how that object would have been used during the war...Phenomenal program. I hope to be able to sign up for a footlocker in the future!"
- Nick C., Mesa, AZ
"The students were absolutely fascinated with the items and very happy to actaully be able to touch them and look at them up close. I knew it was a great success when one of my students threw up his arms in excitement and said 'Ms. Reed this is awesome!'"
- Erin R., Mesa, AZ
"I was able to project a few of the images using the video projector. One class was so intrigued by the images of the time, that they asked if we could have a dress-up day emulating the fashion of that period of history. Of course, we’ll include military wear as well and incorporate some “rationed” item recipes that we have discovered. Another class is creating their own facsimiles of footlockers with student-made artifacts that simulate the items through research they have completed based on the items and questions they observed in your handouts. My students were quite captivated by the items and all skill levels seemed to have an appreciation for the sense of history that each artifact represented. In fact, I was quite moved to see the respect that the students reflected in their handling of the items."
- Nancy H., Okaloosa, FL
"Students now want to go visit the WWII museum and airforce base nearby. They made a lot of personal connections to soldiers and the military. Some have mentioned wanting to work as historians or in museums."
- Faye H., Little Rock, AR
"Students really liked the occupation money. It allowed me to explain about the background of the Phillipines."
- Kristopher A., Tooele, UT
"The best student engagement of the year! I knew that with the footlocker, students would really understand things like V-mail and ration books. This helped me not only engage, but truly get the information across. Getting to actually hold things, to examine them, is the best way to grab their attention. Next year, I will do this far earlier in the unit."
- Suzanne W., Phoenix, AZ
"Nothing replaces being able to hold history in your hands and really think about how people were impacted by the war. I was a real eye opener for my students that I would like to continue to do year after year."
- Joan R., Augusta, KS
"I had my students in groups of 4-5 depending on class size. Each group had artifacts at their table. They had to draw each object before they were able to put gloves on and examine them. After everyone at their table finshed drawing they then started to answer the questions about each object. They spent most of the class at their group and then they had some time to go to other tables to see what they had. We then went through all the artifacts together discussing their possible uses and what they thought it was. After we finished I then passed out the artifact discription."
- Victoria T., Toano, VA
"I also made a PowerPoint full of pictures I took of artifacts and explanations (contained within manual) to ensure parents could view what students were able to and have a better understanding of their child's experience. This has led to great student-parent discussions. Many of my students will remember this experience for the rest of their lives and tell their children about this. You cannot put a price on the learning that took place in my class while the footlocker was in our possession. The authenticity and engagement that the footlocker elicits from students is again, priceless."
- Keith M., Trussville, AL
"We also have Battle of the Bulge Speakers come in to speak to students but this really brought everything home to them. The Life Magazine really made the era more real to the students. They loved looking at it - especially the ads."
- Kathleen O., Ellisville, MO
"I divided my students into pairs and gave them an artifact item to research without telling them about the trunk we were going to get to see. After some time researching, I brought out the trunk (which they thought was incredible), let them put on the gloves and very gently handle some of the items and tell us what they had found out about their artifact. Then, I added additional info from the artifact notes."
-Lori B., Rocky Face, GA
"All the artifacts served some role in helping students understand what life was like back then. However I think the year book really caught the kids attention. They noticed how few boys were in the pictures. And how many had gone off to war. These are a few of the comments I overheard:
'I want to keep looking at this, its so cool'
'I'm actually excited to see this today'
'I'm reading someone else's mail'
'I didn't know schools were integrated' (commenting on a 1943 high school yearbook from Ohio)
'It's pretty cool, we learned a lot'"
- Treavor S., Sterling Heights, MI
"The recording of the soldier's message brought tears to the eyes of several students and teachers."
- Kathy B., Laurens, SC
"Prior to seeing the artifacts, students were told about each item followed by a general discussion. This helped to increase awareness and interest of students, some of whom arrived the next day with artifacts of the war used by their (great) grandfathers. Our class actually put together a footlocker of our own: A soldier's uniform, including a boot and a belt with a leather knife holder; a mess kit; and a soldier's bible and numerous photos. Good stuff!"
- Keith B., New Orleans, LA
"Operation Footlocker was a big success with our home school group. The children ranged from 4-12th grade. The children shared their own family history about WW II. We had the children read about each artifact, then they were able to see and ask question about that artifact. Our group stayed for 2 1/2 hours. The parents also stayed and were very interested. The big hit was the Life Magazine and U.S. issued underwear. The adults were amazed how small they were."
- Kelly L., Harvey, LA
"My students responded really well to the whole experience. Just the act of putting on gloves to touch the artifacts made one normally disengaged student remark that she felt like she was on "CSI". The program really put my students in the driver seat of their own learning and that's the best kind of lesson."
- Elizabeth S., South Berwick, ME
"The footlocker helped us review WWII and added a whole new insight on artifacts and primary sources. We are also building our own trunks for 18 themes! This provided teachers with a hands on, practical model for their work. "
- David D., Riverside, CA
"We had a WWII veteran come speak to us and then broke into groups and discussed each item using the questions provided in the teachers manual. It was an extremely valuable addition to our WWII unit of study. Thank you!!! What wonderful memories our students now have because of this footlocker."
- Autumn H., Colton, CA
"I used it with our History Mystery Center in our WWII unit. Students wrote guesses of what items they thought would be in the trunk. The most interesting and surprising items were the gas mask, sand from beaches, personal effects bag, the dog tag, steel penny, and the car tag."
- Wanda A., Gulfport, MS
"My Honors American History students were excited about this "hands-on" way to learn about history. I copied artifact-specific pages from the teacher’s manual, then divided the students into teams of two. Each student was given one artifact and its page. I also copied one Inquiry Question page for each student to be used as a worksheet. One student asked the Inquiry Questions from the teacher manual, while the other answered while exploring the artifact and reading about it."
- Jamie S., Metairie, LA
Please feel free to submit your classroom hints and footlocker experience. If you would like to share pictures or comments of your footlocker session, contact Walt Burgoyne at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 504-528-1944,ext 333.