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CNN Student News Learning Activity: Interviewing Military Veterans

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  • Students will interview U.S. military veterans
  • Students will examine the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans
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(CNN Student News) -- Students will interview U.S. military veterans to learn about the sacrifices that these men and women have made in the defense of our country.


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Generate a class discussion about the sacrifices that military personnel have made and continue to make in the defense of freedom. Next, have each student conduct a video or audio interview with a U.S. veteran. Encourage students to locate veterans by asking their friends and family members, or by contacting a local Veterans Center. Prior to conducting the interviews, have students brainstorm a list of questions that they might want to ask the veterans to learn about their experiences in the armed forces. Some interview questions might include:

  1. In what branch of the armed forces did you serve?
  2. Were you drafted or did you enlist?
  3. What were your first days of service like?
  4. What responsibilities did you have in the military?
  5. Did you serve overseas? If so, where did you serve?
  6. Did you keep in touch with your family while you were serving?
  7. What battles, if any, were you in?
  8. What were some of your most memorable experiences?
  9. Did you receive any medals or awards?
  10. What challenges did you face?
  11. Were you a prisoner of war?
  12. What sacrifices did you make to serve in the military?
  13. What was it like when you returned home? How were you treated?
  14. What lessons did you learn as a result of your military experience?

After students complete their interviews, have them prepare multimedia presentations of their findings. The presentations should include photos, video or audio clips, and maps that depict where the veterans served. Have students deliver their presentations to the class and invite local veterans to attend the event.

Correlated Standards

Curriculum Standards for Social Studies

Standard II. Time, Continuity and Change: Students will learn about the ways human beings view themselves in and over time.

Standard lV. Individual Development and Identity: Students will explore the influences on individual development and identity including culture, groups and institutions.

Standard V. Individuals, Groups and Institutions: Students will explore how groups are formed, what controls and influences them, how they control and influence individuals and culture and how institutions can be maintained or changed.

Standard VI. Power, Authority and Governance: Students will understand the historical development of structures of power, authority and governance and their evolving functions in contemporary U.S. society as well as other parts of the world.

The Curriculum Standards for Social Studies ( are published by the National Council for Social Studies (


Veterans Day, sacrifice, freedom, war, U.S. armed forces, interview

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