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How to
Use the Activities


Inquiry Question

Historical Context




Table of

Putting It All Together: Activities

The following activities engage students in a number of ways that let them explore the impact of World War II on the people who lived through it. Students will also have an opportunity to examine the past military and home front experience of people in their community, state or region and be able to compare it with the events at Floyd Bennett Field.

Activity 1: Graphic Design
Graphic designs help people to sift through the hundreds of impressions which make up history, evaluate their relative importance, and present main ideas in a dramatic way.

  1. The VRF-1 Stork Insignia was used between 1943 and 1945. Ask students to review the history of Floyd Bennett Field and either A) design a different insignia that would reflect the airfield’s history 1941-1942 or B) design a patch to honor the civilian assembly line workers who constructed the aircraft that were processed at Floyd Bennett Field. Student designs may be by hand, computer-generated, or in textiles. Students who are interested in unit patches, service ribbons, or military medals may wish to conduct further research, perhaps preparing a display of unit patches reflecting troops stationed in their community or region during World War II or the service of veterans in their community today. Have students share their displays with your class and explain the symbolism of their design.

  2. Floyd Bennett Field, as well as other historic airfields, benefits from the interest and involvement of local historical preservation and veterans groups, aviation enthusiasts, and other interest groups in the community. Ask students to select from among the following themes to design a poster for Floyd Bennett Field or another historic airfield or landmark in their community.
  1. Remembering and Honoring Veterans
  2. A Century of Aviation and Beyond
  3. America at War: The Home Front

Activity 2: Oral History Interview
The voices of Fran (Boggs) Metcalf, Amy May (Foster) Feluk and Josephine (Camerlengo) Tanner provide an immediacy and detail to life at Floyd Bennett Field that no textbook can match. Virtually every community has veterans who, 60 years and beyond, still believe (in Fran Metcalf's words) that, “My experience as a Rosie the Riveter and as a Navy WAVE were very exciting and satisfying in the view that I had made a small contribution in helping to win World War II.” For the full interviews visit the Floyd Bennett Field Task Force website [] and click on WAVES stories at the top of the page.

Ask your students to research in the community or their families to identify either a) World War II veterans (remembering that the Air Force was the Army Air Force, in contrast to the Naval aviators who flew out of Floyd Bennett Field) or b) women who worked in farms, factories or shipyards during World War II. Veterans may not have been stationed overseas or in combat positions. Medical personnel, including female nurses, should not be overlooked. Home front workers may have worked for large corporations such as Grumman or General Motors, or simply have operated a tractor on the family farm. Some civilians, for example Red Cross workers and USO performers, were not involved in wartime production but certainly have wonderful experiences to share. Students may find that local organizations that serve veterans and senior citizens are a good resource for locating these individuals in their communities.

Organize a class project to participate in the Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress by having students interview people they identified who have lived through World War II and donate the interviews to the Library of Congress or some other repository such as a university or historical society. See the Veterans History Project Website [] or for more information write to The Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave., SE, Washington, DC 20540.

Prepare students in the technique of conducting oral history interviews. The Veterans History Project Website offers in depth instructions on how to conduct an oral history and they include samples online. It would be courteous for students to follow up by thanking participants, as well. After conducting the interview, students may report their findings to class in an oral form or through written transcription of the interview.

Activity 3: World War II in the Local Community
Students may select one or more of the following activities:

  1. The National Park Service preserves the history of many of America’s battlefields and military facilities. Monuments, military artifacts such as cannons, historical markers, park interpreters and cemeteries all help to tell a story. Ask students (either as a class or in several teams) to research how World War II has been commemorated in their community, region, or state. Students will need to determine if there are any markers, memorials, or parks commemorating soldiers, factory workers, battles or other World War II associated people or events. These remembrances may be as small as a plaque in a high school library listing the names of former students who died in World War II or a memorial bridge or highway. Ask each team or class to create a display including photos, maps, and text to report the information they learn in class presentations. If they locate a memorial containing a roll of those who died in a war, students may wish to select a name and work with the historical society to find out more about that fallen soldier.

  2. Ask students to conduct research to identify a place in their community for a field trip and write a justification for why a site visit would help them understand World War II better. Students in the New York City region might select Floyd Bennett Field, for example. If the school can arrange for a field trip, students could write a post-visit report explaining what the site visit contributed to their understanding of World War II that they could not get out of a book or a classroom audio-visual.

  3. Ask students to plan a program either for Veterans Day or Memorial Day to be held either at the school or at their local war memorial, selecting and preparing music and readings for the event. Students should also create a display honoring local veterans and ask a veteran to come speak at the event. Alternatively, if students wish to broaden the scope to honor civilian workers as well as military veterans, they might select Pearl Harbor Day or V-E (Victory in Europe) Day, since they typically fall within the school year.



Comments or Questions

National Park Service arrowhead with link to NPS website.