Teaching World War I for the first time can seem a bit daunting, especially if you aren't provided with resources or materials. As teachers, we tend to be generalists, which means that we may not have a solid or thorough grounding on the unit we are tasked to teach. Learning on the job is truly part of the job.
This was the case for me. Even though my college major was both Elementary and Secondary Social Studies Education, and I had extensive courses on World War I & II during my university studies, I still spent months researching and doing a deep dive into history as I prepared to teach World War I to middle school students.
If you are new to teaching the Great War and want to be sure you're providing a well-rounded perspective with meaningful activities, I’ve got you covered! This World War One unit is comprehensive, easy to implement, and includes primary source activities to get your students out of their seats and thinking critically.
Teach with Confidence:
This unit includes a PowerPoint with 161 slides. The slides include teaching content, vocabulary, primary source images, maps, and more. All of the content is designed for you to easily move through the slides in a way that makes sense. All the organizing of content is done for you.
The slides cover topic such as:
- Causes of World War I
- Schlieffen Plan
- Mapping Alliances
- Key Battles on the Western & Eastern Front
- War at Sea
- War on Land
- German U-Boats
- Military Tactics
- Russian Revolution
- Zimmerman Telegram
- U.S. Entry to WWI
- Significant People (ie. Red Baron, Marie Curie)
- Women & WWI
- African Americans & WWI (Harlem Hellfighters)
- Selective Service Act
- Liberty Bonds
- Victory Gardens
- Last Major Offensive
- Turkey & Bulgaria
- Nov. 11th Armistice
- Aftermath of the War (Spanish Flu)
- Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Points Speech
- Treaty of Versailles
- In Flanders Field (Poem)
- And MORE!
Student Guided Notes Workbook:
The last thing you need is a bunch of student papers to hand out and keep track of. I've found that the easiest way for me to teach and save time is to put everything my students will need in a single workbook.
I've set this unit up with a printable workbook that corresponds with the slide show. Your students will follow along, answer questions, and complete map skills activities, all within their own booklet. This is a great way to keep students accountable as they fill in the notes while you teach the content. Plus, go to the copier once, triple staple the booklet, and prep is done!
6 Station Activities:
Stations are a great way to get students out of their seats. This is a great time for students to work collaboratively. To make things more versatile, all of the World War I station activities can also be printed and completed independently.
The six stations include: 1. Causes of World War I (Chronological Order Sort)
2. Trench Warfare (Follow the trench line & letter writing)
3. Marie Curie’s “Little Curies” (A scientist & WWI)
4. Red Baron (Two Truths & A Lie)
5. Eastern vs. Western Front (Battles Sort)
6. Propaganda (Poster Analysis)
Again, I created a student workbook so that all of the station work can be completed within the workbook. Saves prep time, and keeps your students organized.
This inquiry-based activity focuses on the question "What was life like for a soldier on the front lines of World War One?"
Transform your classroom into a museum or gallery by having students view 30+ primary source images from World War 1 organized by topic.
Arrange the descriptive images around the classroom. Students rotate through stations, and record data to reach a conclusion regarding the overarching question.
Everything you need is easy to print, and display. Students complete their work within a student workbook so that all of their responses are found and organized in one place.
The Gallery Walk provides 4 stations which cover:
1. Trench Warfare
2. Chemical Warfare
3. Stormtroopers & Flamethrowers
4. Tank Warfare
Reading Passages & Questions:
I've made things simple with all of the reading passages included within the student workbook. They are placed within the unit where it makes the most sense based on the content. However, you can easily print just the reading passages and questions and use them as a separate assignment. The reading passages are designed to "take a closer look" at specific events and topics related to World War One.
The reading passages include:
1. Causes of World War I: The Assassination at Sarajevo
2. The Battle of Verdun
3. Chemical Warfare
4. The Russian Revolution
5. Black Soldiers Serving in World War I
6. Turkey and Bulgaria
7. The Significance of November 11 (Armistice Day/Veterans Day)
Exit Tickets & Assessment:
16 exit tickets are included that can serve as a quick assessment throughout the unit. I like to use these at the end of the day to quickly determine my student's level of understanding. You can use these as a check-up, or take a quick quiz grade too.
A ready-to-go 4-page assessment is provided which includes true/false, multiple-choice, fill in the blank, and short answers. An editable copy is also included.
A list of YouTube video links is included within this resource to further enhance the study and to save you prep time. Looking for reputable videos is time-consuming, so I've pulled a list with links that are ready for you. You don't have to use all of the videos, or even an entire segment. Sometimes just a short clip is enough to enhance a lesson.
You can find everything you need in one place here:
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