World War One Map Activity

Lesson Author
Required Time Frame
One class period and home assignment or two class periods for essay creation within the school day.
Grade Level(s)
Lesson Abstract
As part of a geographic study of modern Europe, students will look at maps of Serbia from 1914, 1919 and 2007. As a class, we will discuss changes in the map of Europe over the time period.

Background to this activity will be the labeling of a map of modern Europe with all nations and capitals and coloring of the map politically.

As part of a geographic study of modern Europe, students will look at maps of Serbia from 1914, 1919 and 2007.  As a class, we will discuss changes in the map of Europe over the time period.  The teacher will provide some background about Serbia, the Ottoman Empire, The Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Serbian independence.

Following the map study, we will read a short biography of Serbian poet, Milutin Bojic (1892-1917) written by Bernard Johnson and background information from Dr. Trifkovic’s paper on Yugoslavia.  In pairs, the class will read Bojic’s poem, “The Complaint” and complete the analysis worksheet. 

Each group will share their insights and conclusions with the rest of the class. At this point, I will lead a discussion on nationalism, ethnic pride and how our modern world reflects these characteristics/or do advanced activity.

Advanced activity for honors or gifted students:

After sharing insights, students will write a paragraph analyzing literature’s affect on developing nationalism in history and in the building of nation states in a modern global society.

Rationale (why are you doing this?)

Students will be able to understand why there are changes in world maps and the link these changes have with history, nationalism, and ethnic pride. 

Lesson Objectives - the student will

Students will be able to locate all nations of modern Europe.

Students will be able to identify changes on European maps form 1914, 1919 and 2007.

Students will be able to explain the importance of national/ethnic feelings in the creation of modern nation states and analyze the impact these states have on our global culture.

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met

Missouri Show-me Standards:

SS5-geographic study and analysis of changes in society

SS6-reationships of individuals and groups

SS7-use maps and documents in study

            Goals 4.1-explain reasoning and identify information

                      2.3-exchange information with others

Kansas Standards

Benchmark 1: Geographic Tools and Location: The student uses maps, graphic representations, tools, and technologies to locate, use, and present information about people, places, and environments.

1. (K) locates major political and physical features of Earth from memory and compares the relative locations of those features. Locations will be included in indicator at each grade level (e.g., Beijing, English Channel, India, Iraq, Moscow, Sahara Desert, South Africa, Venezuela, Balkan Peninsula, Berlin, Black Sea, Bosporus Strait, Euphrates River, Geneva, Hong Kong, Israel, Libya, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Suez Canal, Tigris River, Tokyo, Yangtze River).

2. (A) interprets maps and other graphic representations to analyze United States and world issues (e.g., urban vs. urban areas, development vs. conservation, land use in the world vs. local community, nuclear waste disposal, relocation of refugees).

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed

The Lost Voices of World War I, Tim Cross, Iowa Press, 1989. page 355-357

Biography of Milutin Bojic –copy available at National World War I Museum in Kansas City.

“The Creation of Yugoslavia” from work by Dr. S Trifkovic, Stanford University-free downloads and copies available at

Primary sources needed (document, photograph, artifact, diary or letter, audio or visual recording, etc.) needed

Maps of Europe         



                                    Historical boundaries of Serbia    

                                    1914 boundaries of Europe


                                    1919 boundaries of Europe


Bojic’s poem, “The Complaint”, in English translation by Bernard Johnson, from the book above.

WITHOUT COMPLAINT                 1917


Nothing are for us is new or strange,

All lands to us are dear and kindred:

In the bright sun, beneath the wild storms’ range,

We were as calm as in our native land.                           


Within us through our wanderings we bear

Our homeland and its sufferings’ renown;

And now, I beg you, Fate, lay her to rest,

Stained with the blood of our eternal wounds!


And so for us the oceans are not strange,

Nor yet the graves of centuries long dead;

Calmly we sit at table in the world’s great hall

While still the foe drinks in our flowers’ scent.


With trumpets like a solemn church parade,

Alone, or with our children, wives, and herds,

We wander on from place to place, from town to town,

Bearing the banners of our greatness and our fall.


The scale we learned of old we now play out once more,

The scale of fate with others less than kind;

And so for us today nothing is strange,

It seems we passed through everywhere before.


And when we stir anew the ashes of our hearth,

And tell again the tales of olden days:

We’ll listen to the fire, hear its mirth,

Just as the master, homewards from the hunt

Carries upon his lips the self-same song.

Technology Required

Projector for maps—linked to computer if possible, or overhead

Fully describe the activity or assignment in detail. What will both the teacher and the students do?

The teacher will display the maps beginning with modern Europe on the computer link after students have labeled their own European maps.  Teacher will display the map of Serbia’s historical boundaries and discuss changes.  Teacher will display and then distribute handouts of maps from 1914 and 1919 of Europe to students for reference.  Teacher will share background of Yugoslavia’s creation from Dr. Trifkovac’s essay.  As a class, we will read the biographic excerpt of Serbian poet.  In pairs, students will read and analyze poem.  Leaving about fifteen minutes of class, student groups will share their insights with other class groups.  As a class, teacher can lead discussion about power of nationalism OR assign class a writing assignment analyzing and giving reaction to literature’s role in encouraging and spreading nationalism and ethnic pride and ultimately the creation of a modern European map.  Teacher should distribute essay grading scale to students.

Literature Analysis                                   Name ____________________

                                                                   Hour ______ Date __________


Title of literature _________________________________________________________


Name of author __________________________________________________________


Are you reading a partial or complete piece? ________________


Where was the piece written? ________________________________


When was the piece written? _________________________________


What is the theme of the literature? ___________________________________________






Cite words or phrases that might stir emotions or encourage people to take action.






What types of feelings might be stirred in a reader? ______________________________












Assessment: fully explain the assessment method in detail or create and attach a scoring guide
  1. Credit given for completion modern European map with quiz to follow.
  2. Credit given for completion and participation in worksheet and class discussion
  3. Scoring for paragraph analysis (assign points as desired):

Full credit

Paragraph is completed in blue or black ink and in complete sentences with correct grammar and spelling.  The paragraph will have at least two examples from the biographic excerpt, and poem suggesting ways that national/ethnic feelings contribute to the creation of modern countries. The student will discuss why nations choose to separate into smaller units. The student should consider and include conclusions about the consequences of nationalism on our global society.

            Partial credit

                        Paragraph is in ink with correct grammar and spelling with only one

                        example from book or poem with good explanation of the importance of

national/ethnic feelings.  Nationalism and its affect on society are discussed.

            No credit

                        Paragraph does not have examples from the excerpts and does not include

                        an explanation of the importance of nationalism/ethnic feelings in the

                        creation of modern Europe.  No affect on the modern world is considered.




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