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War: is it worth it?

Lesson Author
Required Time Frame
1 week
Grade Level(s)
Lesson Abstract
Students have to decide if WWI is worth fighting for and put themselves in that time period and figure out what they are willing to fight for.

Students have to decide if WWI is worth fighting for and put themselves in that time period and figure out what they are willing to fight for. They will have to look at primary sources for causes of the war and conditions of the war. They will make a propaganda poster to support their opinion. Then we will talk about the end of the war and the effects and I will ask them the same question now that they know what happened and they will have to discuss if they still think it is worth fighting for.

Rationale (why are you doing this?)

I want students to see that war and history directly affect people. History is not about a bunch of facts and dates. It is about the people and when it comes down to it the people during 1918 are very different than those in 2018. I also want to know what motivates them and what is important to them. I want them to consider the positives and negatives of going to war and be able to see an issue from many different angles. Life is not black and white and history is not black and white. It is messy and complicated.

Lesson Objectives - the student will
  • Analyze primary sources about WWI to understand why the war happened and the conditions of the war
  • Create a propaganda poster and participate in a class discussion
District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met

Trace the origins, and relationships among the world wars, revolutions, and global conflicts of 20th century to determine their impacts on the world today.

  • Supporting Standards:

    Analyze world-wide imperialism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to determine its causes and consequences.

Evaluate the powers and responsibilities of citizens and institutions to address and solve world problems c. post 1450.

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed
Primary sources needed (document, photograph, artifact, diary or letter, audio or visual recording, etc.) needed
Fully describe the activity or assignment in detail. What will both the teacher and the students do?
  • We will take notes on the causes of WWI and the conditions. They will watch the videos that go along with these notes. Then I will post these questions to the class: would you be willing to go to war? What are you willing to fight for to the death? Is war worth it? Students will use primary sources that I provide to study why the war happened and the conditions of war. They will also read why people felt like they had to fight in this war by reading newspaper headlines and articles from the time. Then they will have to create their own opinion and answer those three questions. Then they will create a propaganda poster that reflects their opinion.
  • When we finish the unit I want them to go back and answer those three questions again now having information on the results and what happened after the war to see if their opinion changes. Then make another poster saying either yes it was worth it or no it was not.
Assessment: fully explain the assessment method in detail or create and attach a scoring guide
  • There will be many parts to this assessment and each piece will be due throughout the week.
  • Day 1: notes and watch videos
  • Day 2: handout primary sources on cause and conditions
    • Have students do a close read and turn in their copies (should be all marked up with questions or comments)
  • Day 3: pose the questions and let them start forming their opinion
    • Turn in their “rough draft” opinion at the end of class
  • Day 4: do more research, if needed, and create poster
    • Show me they did their poster
  • Day 5: present posters to the class and explain their opinion
  • Extension- after unit repeat process and see if opinion has changed knowing the results

Close read of primary sources___/10

Rough draft of opinion____/15 (5 points for each question)

Poster completed____/5