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Overcoming All Odds

Suggested Level

Suggested Applications

Middle and High School History, Language Arts, World-War-II

Students will:
• Identify character traits such as determination and persistence.
• Describe times in their lives when they have dealt with similar challenges.

Medal of Honor Focus: Joseph J. Foss, Captain, U.S. Marine Corps, Marine Fighting Squadron 121, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
Place and date: Over Guadalcanal, 9 October to 19 November 1942, 15 and 23 January 1943

Introductory Activity:
Students will create a list of five obstacles they have faced in their lives.

Whole Group Activity:
The teacher will create a chart on the board with three categories: personal, school, and physical. Discuss
how the students’ obstacles fit into these categories. Fill in the chart with a selection of students’ obstacles.

Small Group/Individual Activity:
Students will move into groups of four. Each group will be given a copy of Joseph J. Foss' profile. Students will list
several examples where Joseph Foss faced obstacles, such as age, the enemy, and loss of planes.

Whole Group Activity:
Students will share the information that they gathered from the profile. Students will add more examples to their

Concluding Activity:
Students will write an essay on the following prompt: Use evidence from the profile or examples from your list
to support Foss’ persistence and perseverance. How does this relate/connect to you? Give your own



Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty. NY: Artisan, 2006.