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Animal Heroes:
Dogs in War

Subject: Language Arts,
Social Sciences
Grade: 6-8, 9-12

Brief Description
Students learn about the roles dogs played in saving lives during wars and create a memorial for the animals.


Students conduct research to find information about the various ways dogs have helped soldiers during wartime. Students create a memorial for the dogs that gave their lives to help soldiers during wars.


heroes, United States, dogs, animals, war, soldiers, World War II, Vietnam War, memorial

Materials Needed

  • student-researched library sources and/or sites listed in the lesson
  • computer(s) with Internet access
  • paper
  • pens or pencils
  • student-selected materials for the memorial

Lesson Plan

You may want to complete this activity in three lessons.

Lesson 1

  • Begin by asking whether any students have dogs as pets. Ask students in what ways their dogs help them.
  • Explain that in the last century, U.S. armed forces used dogs in various assignments to help soldiers during wars. Read to students The Dogs of War, a short article about the roles dogs have played in war. (Note: This link provides only the text of article, not the pictures. You might want to request the full article, which appeared in the December 2000 issue of Smithsonian Magazine, from your local library.)
  • Organize students into small groups. Have group research the topic and write short reports about their findings. Have students use print and online sources. For a bibliography of print sources on this subject, see War Dogs Bibliography.
Here are three more sites to help students begin their research:
War Dogs: U.S. Army's Use of Dogs from 1942 - Present. (This is a government site with many links.)
The United States War Dog Association
War Dogs: The Untold Story of Dogs in Combat
War Dogs
K-9 History: The Dogs of War

Lesson 2


  • Have each group present its report to the class. Solicit students' reactions to the findings.
  • Discuss the meaning of the word memorial. Ask students to create a memorial for the dogs they read about in their research. Possible suggestions: Design a statue or a monument, a plaque, a stamp.
  • Have students work together in their assigned groups to create memorials using materials of their choosing.

Lesson 3

Students share their completed memorials with the class.
Extension: Have students write letters to a veterans' group about their project.


Evaluate students' reports and memorials.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Lois Lewis

National Standards

Language Arts:


Social Sciences:


Last updated 1/09/2011