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Teacher Feature

Teacher Feature

Compare the Year


After visiting the 1943 World War II era in the Time Machine, the students will compare the cost of living during World War II to that of the present day and understand changes that the economy experienced during that time.


After visiting the 1943 World War II era in the Time Machine, review with the students information about World War II and the events that led to the United States' entering into the war.

Explain to the students some of the changes that Americans experienced in the United States when the nation entered World War II.  One of the most significant changes was that many products became scarce and some were rationed in order to ensure that there were enough resources available for the war effort.  Rationing and scarcity affected Americans' basic needs:  food, clothing, and transportation.

Explain to the students that they are going to research the prices of goods during World War II and compare them to today's prices. The students will also examine measures that were taken to promote the war effort, such as victory gardens and rationing.  The students will identify items that were rationed and research why these items were rationed.

Using bookmarked Web sites and/or texts about World War II, have the students look up the prices of goods during World War II.  Have the students compare the cost of items in 1943 to the cost of similar items today by completing the "Compare the Year" worksheet.

As a class, review student findings.  Discuss with the students how their lives may have been different during World War II.  Display student worksheets around the classroom.


  • Have the students calculate the percentage of change in prices from 1943 to today.  Have the students graph their results and display the graphs around the classroom.
  • Have the students find a recipe from the World War II era.  Ask students to make the dish and bring it in for a class tasting.  Ask students to rate each recipe and vote on their favorites based on creativity, taste, and presentation.
  • Have the students research a local gathering place (such as a school, restaurant, or library) and what it would have looked like during World War II.  Ask students to bring in pictures, menus, or articles about this place and compare them to similar documents created more recently.


The project described above reflects some of the national standards of learning as defined by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE), and the International Society for Technology in Education.  These standards are listed below:

Social Studies Standards

Time, Continuity, and Change
People, Places, and Environments
Production, Distribution, and Consumption
Global Connections

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