Teaching the Vietnam War

This collection of videos and lesson plans can help students explore the social and political dynamics of the Vietnam War. Students will examine why, how, and by whom the Vietnam War was fought, how it affected U.S. citizens at home, and how factors shifted over the course of the war. Students will identify the Vietnam War’s legacy and lasting toll on veterans.

This collection includes resources related to The Vietnam War, a ten-part documentary series that aired on PBS September 17-21, 2017. The series represents the latest work from filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick and featured archival footage and testimony from nearly 100 witnesses, including American veterans who fought in the war and Americans who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians. 

  • How the War was Fought: The Things They Carried

    In THE VIETNAM WAR, Vietnam veteran and author Tim O’Brien reads from his book The Things They Carried. In this lesson, students analyze O’Brien’s writing, using literature to learn about soldiers’ experiences in war. They try their hand at writing about the things they themselves carry, and what those things say about them.

    Grades: 9-13+