Use the Activities
Putting It All Together
In this lesson, students learn how the expanding role of military
air power from World War I to the early Cold War era led to the establishment
of the Air Force and the Air Force Academy. The following activities will
help students apply what they have learned.
Activity 1: Comparing Military Academies
Have students research either the United States Military Academy at West Point or the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. Questions to address include: how, why, and when the academy was founded; architectural style of buildings; geographic features of site; and traditions. Ask students to compare what they have learned to the Air Force Academy and then design an exhibit to present their findings. To further the activity, students may wish to find current enrollment statistics and basic curriculum information for each academy and compare what a typical day might be like for students at each.
Activity 2: Military Air Power
Divide students into five groups and assign each group one of the following periods: World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and today. Explain that each group will research military airplanes used by the Air Force during the specified time period. Have groups prepare a report including photos and basic information about the aircraft's size, purpose, features, and combat history. The class should then work together to create an illustrated timeline of advances in military airplane technology since World War I.
Activity 3: The Cold War Era in the Local Community
Ask students to interview residents who lived in their community during the early Cold War era (late 1940s-1950s). Questions to ask include: How did the community prepare for the threat of nuclear attack (bomb shelters, air raid drills, etc.)? How did the threat of nuclear attack affect the interviewee at the time? Have students present their findings in an oral report and then hold a class discussion comparing the various experiences of the interviewees. Finally, have students research their community to find out if any physical evidence of the Cold War period remains. They can expand their research by looking for evidence of how their community's response to the Cold War fit into the larger national defense preparedness of the period (e.g. the Interstate Highway System).