Rosie the Riveter


Our Rosie the Riveter lesson plan teaches students about Rosie the Riveter and what she was symbolic of during WWII, along with the role real women played during WWII. Students learn about specific important women who were involved in the war.

Included with this lesson are some adjustments or additions that you can make if you’d like, found in the “Options for Lesson” section of the Classroom Procedure page. One of the optional additions to this lesson is to invite someone who lived during WWII to speak to your class about the changes women have made in society over the years.

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What our Rosie the Riveter lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Rosie the Riveter introduces students to Rosie the Riveter as the symbol for the women of World War II. When students think of WWII and other wars, often they forget about the role of women, whether on the front lines or in other roles that people often thought of as men’s roles in society. At the end of the lesson, students will be able to define Rosie the Riveter and explain how she became the symbol for the women of World War II and identify some well-known women of World War II and their roles during the war. This lesson is for students in 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the orange box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. The supplies you will need for this lesson are construction paper, colored pencils, internet access, and the handouts.

Options for Lesson

Included with this lesson is an “Options for Lesson” section that lists a number of suggestions for activities to add to the lesson or substitutions for the ones already in the lesson. One optional addition to the lesson is to have each student research a woman of WWII and present their findings to the class. You can invite someone who lived during WWII to speak to your class about the changes women have made in society over the years. You could also plan a debate about the role of women in society today and/or during the war. Another optional addition to the lesson is to have students create slogans or posters encouraging women to get involved in the war effort. Finally, you can have students compare the role of women in different countries during WWII.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page includes a paragraph with additional guidelines and things to think about as you begin to plan your lesson. This page also includes lines that you can use to add your own notes as you’re preparing for this lesson.


Rosie the Riveter

The Rosie the Riveter lesson plan includes four content pages. Before WWII, many women did not work, instead staying home to take care of the children and home. Women who worked did so in jobs specifically reserved for women, like typing and sewing. Men worked outside the home in offices, factories, and elsewhere.

Once the United States entered the Second World War, things changed. Millions of men joined the military and left the country to fight. This meant that many of the factories that the men worked in had no workers. Additionally, many of these factories made products that they needed for the war.

Because of this, many women left the household to work in factories. This was the first time that many of these women worked outside of the home. Rosie the Riveter became the symbol of these women. The name Rosie the Riveter came from a 1942 song with that title by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb. Rosalind P. Walter, who worked in a factory making fighter airplanes for the military, inspired them. The lesson includes a few lines of the song.

When people listened to the song or heard the name Rosie the Riveter, they thought of the famous “We Can Do It” poster. This poster promoted the war effort by encouraging people to work together to help the United States win the war. People also saw Rosie the Riveter as a symbol of women’s rights and feminism, which is the power of women to make a difference in society.

After the war, many women returned home and stopped working in the factories, but others continued. These women felt that the war had shown them a new way of life that they wanted to continue living. Today, we see Rosie the Riveter as the inspiration for a whole generation of women to work in jobs that people previous considered to be just for men.

Women also worked in other roles during the war and were very important to the war effort.

Women of World War II

Some women worked before the war and some joined the workforce in jobs that men usually did, but there were also about 350,000 women who joined the military during World War II. These women worked as nurses, spies, airplane repairmen, truck drivers, and clerical workers. All of these positions enabled men to go into combat.

The Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) flew planes from factories to military bases all over the world. Some of these women died in combat and others became prisoners of war. During and after the war, 1,600 women nurses received decorations for courage.

Women also worked as civil servants, working as chemists and engineers. Thousands of women worked on the Manhattan Project, which led to the development of the atomic bomb.

Several women from all over the world became famous during the war. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, supported the troops and civil rights. She helped boost morale in the United States. They called the Japanese women who voiced propaganda on the radio to demoralize them Tokyo Rose. A 16 year old Jewish girl named Anne Frank wrote diaries while hiding from Nazis for two years; they later caught and murdered her in a concentration camp. Alyce Dixon joined the Women’s Army Camp (WAC) in 1943 and participated in the first all-female, all-black unit in the Army; this unit cleared the backlog of undelivered mail in England.

Flight nurse Reba White was the only U.S. female soldier who became a POW in Europe; she also logged 500 flights hours and the U.S. awarded her the Air Medal and Purple Heart. Trained nurse Elsie Ott, who joined the Army Air Corps in 1941, was the first woman to received the U.S. Air Medal; she worked the first evacuation flight of injured troops in India. Secret agent Nancy Wake helped get people out of France and worked as a courier for the French Resistance; she was Hitler’s most-wanted person.


The Rosie the Riveter lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. You can refer to the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.


For the activity worksheet, students will create an acrostic poem using the letters in the word WOMEN. They will use each letter to begin a word or sentence related to the Women of WWII. They will rewrite their poem on a new page provided by their teacher, and will add color and images to the final copy. Finally, they will answer a few questions about the lesson material.

Students can work either alone or in groups for this activity.


The practice worksheet asks students to complete two short exercises. For the first, they will match the accomplishment to the correct woman or women. For the second, they will fill in the blanks in ten sentences using words from a word bank.


For the homework assignment, students will first tell whether each statement is true or false. They will then answer questions about the lesson content.

Worksheet Answer Keys

This lesson plan includes answer keys for the practice worksheet, and the homework assignment. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade


Biography, Social Studies

State Educational Standards

LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3, LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3, LB.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.2

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