Museum Lesson Plans

Education Resources created by the National World War I Museum and Memorial


Animals of the Great War

The Impact of Animals During WWI

Animals played a large role during the conflict known as the Great War. From traditional warfare animals such as horses and dogs to exotic animals such as lions, monkeys, and bears, animals of all types were important to both the war effort and to the morale of the troops on the front lines. In this lesson, elementary and middle school students will examine the use of different animals in various aspects of war. Students will then create their own museum exhibit based on the contributions of one particular animal. Download PDF Download Accompanying PowerPoint


BREAKING NEWS: JUNE 28, 1914

AUSTRIAN HEIR AND HIS WIFE MURDERED IN BOSNIAN CAPITAL

This two page PDF handout, written in the style of a breaking news alert, explains the events of June 28, 1914, when Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated. Download PDF or View Online


CHANGING TECHNOLOGY, CHANGING TACTICS

HOW TECHNOLOGY CHANGED THE WAY WWI WAS FOUGHT

Why is WWI considered the first “modern” war? In this lesson, high school students will consider the advancement in technology and, specifically, adaptations of trench warfare based on technological advances through discussion, primary sources and a hands-on activity. Download PDF


DANGER OF THE PRINTED WORD

Media and the Armenian Massacres

This upper high school lesson looks at the Armenian massacres as a launching point for 20th century genocides. The primary focus of the project is to delve into the role the media plays in chronicling and sharing the events of the Armenian massacres as well as the impact it has on the outcome of the massacres and the reaction of the international community. Download PDF


Disloyalty

Civil Liberties in America During World War I

President Wilson created the Committee on Public Information, Congress passed the Espionage and Sedition Acts, and a patriotic fervor led to public intolerance for persons and ideas considered to be possible threats to the nation. These all garnered support for the war, but allowed for suppression of civil liberties. This lesson for high school and above looks at how American civil liberties were affected by WWI, as well as the difficult question of when it may be acceptable to limit civil rights. Download PDF Download Accompanying PowerPoint


DOCUMENT BASED QUESTION

German-Americans in World War I: Facing challenges at home

What challenges did German-Americans face after the United States entered World War I? Students will analyze primary source documents, including propaganda posters, letters, and legislation, to understand the attitudes and challenges faced by the German-American community, and how they responded. Download PDF


DOCUMENT BASED QUESTION

United States Enters WWI: Weighing the decision to enter the war

The United States’ decision to declare war on Germany in 1917 was not made lightly. While many citizens supported the declaration of war, there were many that stood opposed. These primary sources represent arguments made by both sides of the issue as the nation wrestled with a decision that would forever change the United States’ role in global affairs. Download PDF


Film Scripts

Full Transcripts of videos used within the Museum

The following PDFs are the full transcripts of three videos used within the National World War I Museum and Memorial's Main Gallery. Use the text as reference for an onsite field trip, or as a groundwork for discussing WWI with your class. Introductory Film - Download PDF, Horizon Theater Film - Download PDF, Peace Film - Download PDF


LESSONS OF LIBERTY: PATRIOTISM

ANALYZE WWI PROPAGANDA POSTERS

This lesson plan asks students to examine their understanding of "patriotism" by analyzing over 60 primary source propaganda posters that called America to action during World War I. Designed for Middle School students, it can easily be adapted to any grade level. Download PDF


LEST THE AGES FORGET

NATIONAL VETERANS DAY PROJECT

How did our relatives alive in 1914-1918 impact the war effort in the armed forces or as volunteers? How can we connect with our family members and community to learn stories of the past? Lest the Ages Forget provides teachers with a unique opportunity to educate K-12 students using primary sources and to enhance their historical thinking. Download PDF


Museum Mania

World War I in the Middle East: Research Project

The Middle East played a major role in WWI. This lesson asks high school students to create a "Museum of the Middle East in World War I" and in the process, explore the ways in which the conflict and the treaties which resulted from WWI laid the groundwork for contemporary political and social conflicts in the region as well as develop critical thinking, literacy, and research skills. Download PDF


Teenage Assassins

The Sarajevo Assassination and the Spark that Ignited a World War

This is a lesson created for high school students dealing with big issues, such as nationalism, terrorism, and the role of individuals in history, and the specific events surrounding the outbreak of World War I. Using activities and a variety of simulations to involve students in a critical examination of the events in the Balkans leading to the outbreak of World War I, students will reflect on broad issues of nationalism as a force in modern world history, the dilemma – and tactics – of militarily disadvantaged people struggling for their independence, and the tension between concepts of personal morality versus the perceived good of the nation. Download PDF


SERVICE AND SACRIFICE

Quentin Roosevelt’s Ultimate Sacrifice

Former U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt was a great supporter of American involvement in the Great War. While serving, his son Quentin was killed in action in 1918. His death had a profound effect on fellow soldiers, the nation, and especially his father. This lesson asks to high school students to interpret multiple primary source documents and artifacts to provide evidence of the realities of war. Download PDF


THINKING LIKE A HISTORIAN

Artifacts and Trench Tales

As history becomes tangible, WWI will come alive in the classroom when students work with artifacts. Using their senses, observations, past knowledge and critical thinking skills students will learn to think like a historian to determine what historic artifacts can tell them about the past. Download PDF Download Accompanying PowerPoint


Why Flyers Flew

Analyzing “The Flight to Flanders” poem

What was life like as an aviator in WWI? Why did flyers agree to take on such a dangerous job in the war? As middle school students review primary sources and analyze a poem written by a Royal Flying Corps pilot they’ll decide if flying was as glamorous as the media portrayed it to be. Download PDF


ZIMMERMANNLAND

THE SOUTHWESTERN FRONT OF WWI

The Zimmermann Telegram was a major factor in the U.S. decision to join the Allies in World War I. Using this lesson, students will analyze the context of the telegram from the perspectives of the U.S., Mexico, and Germany; examine the reaction in the Southwestern U.S. states that Germany promised to return to Mexico; and connect the Telegram's impact to today's U.S.-Mexico border issues. Download Lesson Plan PDF Download Accompanying PowerPoint