Activities

“Bring home my lone babe”: The Investigation for Francis L. Raub

Guiding Question:

What lengths did the U.S. Army go to find the remains of servicemembers in World War II? How did the U.S. Army confirm the identity of the servicemembers found?

Overview:

Using interactive technology (with an option for virtual reality), students will use primary and secondary sources to investigate the death of Francis Raub. Students will explore sources available to U.S. Army investigators in 1947.

Activity

Historical Context

Of the approximately 400,000 U.S. service members killed in World War II, nearly 79,000 of them remain unaccounted for, buried in unmarked graves, lost at sea, or declared missing in action. In an effort to return the soldiers to their loved ones, the U.S. Army established the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS), which operated from 1945 to 1951. AGRS agents often went in search of missing troops by interviewing civilians and unit members, and exploring battle sites for temporary graves. Any remains discovered were sent to laboratories set up in the field for identification. Currently, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency continues to search for and, when possible, identify those still declared Missing in Action during World War II and subsequent conflicts.

Objectives

At the conclusion of this lesson, students will be able to

  • Describe the lengths that the U.S. Army went to identify remains immediately following World War II through today; and
  • Analyze the impact of the war on the families who did not have remains that could be identified.

Standards Connections

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

Materials

  • Computer with internet capabilities
  • Virtual Reality Systems (such as Google Cardboard) and Virtual Reality compatible phone
    • Teacher Tip:This is optional - the tasks can be completed using a laptop or desktop computer.
  • Investigation Journal
  • Headphones to listen to audio components

Lesson Preparation

  • Test out all technology/equipment.
    • Teacher Tip: If using a computer, the activity works best in Google Chrome.
    • Teacher Tip: If using Virtual Reality, you have the option to download the Google Explorer app to your device. You can find the program by searching for “Understanding Sacrifice: Raub Investigation.” Download the tour, then view through your virtual reality viewer such as Google Cardboard. A controller is recommended but not necessary on most devices.
    • Teacher Tip: Copies of the primary sources are included in the downloadable lesson, if needed.
  • Provide students with the following link: https://poly.google.com/view/bktiM1t_3eo.
  • Divide the class into groups of two or three students each.
  • Preview the Francis L. Raub Fallen Hero Profile for background information.

Procedure

Activity One: Virtual Reality (30 min)

  • Lead a short discussion about the problems faced by those who lost family in World War II. Ask students about dog tags. What information goes on dog tags? Why do soldiers wear them? What do you think happens when a soldier’s body is unidentified? How would it feel to be a family member of someone whose remains were not recovered and identified?
  • Tell the students that they are going to engage in a simulation based on the 1947 identification case of U.S. soldier Francis Raub.
  • Divide the class into groups of two or three students each.
  • Distribute a copy of the Investigation Journal to each student. Tell students, This is your investigation log. You will fill it out with information provided during the investigation in Raub’s death. It will help you discover what happened to Raub.
  • Provide students with the following link: https://poly.google.com/u/0/view/8WVQ-PzK-8N.
    • Teacher Tip: For students using computers, make sure they turn on the narration. Click the gear button in the top right corner of the screen to turn on narration.
    • Teacher Tip: For students using virtual reality, tell students using their phones to put the phone into VR mode before inserting their phone into the VR headset. They will have to remove the phone in order to switch scenes.
  • Tell students to begin with the point on the desk labeled, “Start here.”
  • Help students navigate the investigation. If they have problems visit this webpage for help: https://support.google.com/tourcreator/?hl=en.

Assessment Materials

  • Collect the Investigation Journal once students complete simulation to assess student learning.
  • Lead a short discussion about what they learned. Possible guiding questions:
    • What steps did the U.S. Army take to find Raub’s remains?
    • How do you think Mrs. Raub would have felt about their efforts if she had survived?
    • Do you feel the cemeteries are an appropriate reminder of American soldier’s efforts in World War II?

Methods for Extension

Adaptations

  • Teachers can adapt the project to younger learners by changing the focus of the last activity to a shorter letter. It could also be adapted to English Language Learners in a similar way.

Sources

Return to Activity

Secondary Sources

Other Sources