They Drew Fire: A WWII D-Day Webquest




(Photo credit: Heavies on Their Way Home After Raid on France, Alexander P. Russo #37, Gouache, 1944. Source is Navy Historical Center)

Starting with the Navy Historical Center's Online Gallery, you will research D-Day using web resources. Based on your research, you will invent a fictional character and place him or her at a D-Day battle, creating a record that explains the character's actions and reactions.

To create your historic record, you must first research and then write your project:

Step 1 - RESEARCH:

  1. Use the D-Day Webquest worksheet to help you prepare, research, and organize your project. This is a word-processing document that you can copy to your laptop and then fill-it out on the computer as you work. 
  2. Visit the Navy Historical Center's D-Day page (see resources) to view the works of the Navy artists. Spend time viewing the many pages and reading the descriptions that go with them.
  3. Choose one of the drawings to base your narrative upon. Record your choice on your worksheet. Examine the details of the drawing and the emotions it represents. What is happening in the picture? Who is in the picture? Try to imagine what is going on in the mind of someone in the picture, or someone who is seeing the events of the picture unfold live. 
  4. Do further research to help decide the details of your character and what battle you will describe. Start your research by visiting the sites on the Resources page. Your choices for the battle are the five landing beaches (Omaha, Sword, Juno, Utah, or Gold), Pointe du Hoc, the Orne River, or the Cotentin Peninsula). Use your worksheet to record your decisions.
  5. Find first-hand accounts. In addition to the web sites listed on the Resources Page, search the web for personal accounts of D-Day by someone with a similar occupation or background as your character. If you know of any veterans of WWII invasions, interview them for their unique perspective. Try to use elements of these recollections to add detail to your own narrative.

Step 2 - WRITE:

  1. Plan what you will write. Remember that order and organization are important when creating your record.
  2. Write your rough draft. Make your narrative evocative of the event by using strong verbs and powerful descriptions that involve all of your senses. Remember to personalize the events, showing the inner thoughts, fears, and hopes of your character.
  3. Proofread and revise as needed. Spelling counts! Even if you have created a character who is uneducated, proper spelling and grammar is required.
  4. Create a cover page which has your inspiration picture and your name. Below the picture should be the name of the picture and the name of the artist. Include on the cover page a short description and web address of the first-person narrative(s) you researched for this project. If you did a personal interview with a veteran, provide a name and brief history.
  5. Verify you've included everything required in the project - refer to your worksheet.
  6. Turn in your first draft by the due date.
  7. Revise again - Make changes as required by the teacher.
  8. Turn in your project by the due date to your teacher, either by submitting it via dropbox or email, or turn in your project by hand.


in addition to handing in your project, you must also give a presentation about your project to the class. The presentation should last two to five minutes, explaining about your character and/or the record you created. You may also discuss what you knew about WWII and D-Day before the websearch, and what you know now, or share interesting information you learned during your Webquest. You can do this as a speech, a slide show, an animoto, a poster talk, a rap song, a dance, a display of sketches ... whatever you are most comfortable with. You may work with a partner to do your presentation. 

Back Next

horizontal rule

Home | Introduction | Task | Process | Resources | Evaluation | Schedule | Conclusion | Credits | Teachers

 Copyright 2004 by Jo Davidsmeyer. All rights reserved.
Last updated: 06/28/12.