Florida During World War II

Lesson Plans

World War II Homefront: Rationing
4th Grade Lesson Plan

"What Uncle Sam Asks of You: General Orders for the Home Front" Bulletin.

"What Uncle Sam Asks of You: General Orders for the Home Front" Bulletin.


During World War II, shortages of a variety of civilian goods became commonplace. To ensure fair distribution and that vital materials would be conserved for military use, the federal government implemented a rationing policy on a wide variety of products. Gasoline, rubber, bicycles, shoes, sugar, fruits and vegetables, fats and oils, cheese, coffee, butter, meats, fish, certain canned goods, and even dried peas and beans were among the many products rationed for all or part of the war. Many other non-rationed items were in chronically short supply and virtually impossible to obtain.

To enforce the system, the Office of Price Administration issued ration books for gasoline and foodstuffs, which civilians had to present and turn over the required ration coupons before they were allowed to purchase the rationed item.

  • Analyze primary source documents about rationing during World War II.
  • Critically examine the role of the civilian during World War II.
  • Write about rationing using primary sources.




Next Generation Sunshine State Standards

SS.4.A.1.1: Analyze primary and secondary resources to identify significant individuals and events throughout Florida history.

SS.4.A.7.3: Identify Florida’s role in World War II.
Examples may include, but are not limited to, warfare near Florida’s shores and training bases in Florida (Miami, Tampa, Tallahassee, etc.), spying near the coast, Mosquito Fleet.

Materials Needed
Part I: Introducing Content

Activate prior knowledge. Review with students what they already know about the homefront during World War II. Some questions you might ask:

  • What is rationing?
  • What items were rationed?
  • How did rationing affect people in their daily lives?

Explain to students that they will be reading a document related to rationing efforts in the United States during World War II. Show students an example of ration stamps.

Part II: Document Analysis

Have students analyze the first two pages of What Uncle Sam Asks of You using the document analysis worksheet.

Part III: Document Synthesis

Conduct an in-class discussion of what students learned during the document analysis. Questions for students might include the following:

  • What did students learn about the rationing program?
  • What goods were rationed?
  • How did the rationing of goods effect the lives of adults and children during World War II?

Have students site specific examples from the text. Ask students to use detail and examples when drawing inferences from the text.


Extension Activity

Students can further explore the documents in the Primary Source Set: Rationing, Victory Gardens and Scrap Drives During WWII.