Museum Lesson Plans

Education Resources created by the National WWI Museum and Memorial

Here you will find lesson plans and other education resources created by the National WWI Museum and Memorial.

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Animals of the Great War

The Impact of Animals During WWI

K - 5, 6 - 8
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.
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Breaking News: June 28, 1914

Austrian Heir and His Wife Murdered in Bosnian Capital

K - 5, 6 - 8, 9 - 12, Other
This handout from the National World War I Museum and Memorial, written in the style of a breaking news alert, explains the events of June 28, 1914, when Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated.
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Changing Technology Lesson Plan

CHANGING TECHNOLOGY, CHANGING TACTICS

How technology changed the way WWI was fought

6 - 8, 9 - 12
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.
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CREATING WWI PERSONAS AND WRITING POSTCARDS FROM THE FRONT

Understanding the Human Experience of WWI Through Correspondence

9 - 12
In this collaborative lesson, students will utilize their understanding of the history of WWI and the impact it had on individual young men and women in the war by creating personas of individuals from that time and corresponding with a peer, writing postcards from the front.
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Dangers of the Printed Word

Media and the Armenian Massacres

9 - 12
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.
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Disloyalty

Civil Liberties in America During World War I

9 - 12, Other
President Woodrow Wilson created the Committee on Public Information (CPI) to mold Americans into “one white-hot mass” of war patriotism. Congress also passed the Espionage Act (1917) and the Sedition Act (1918) to curb wartime dissent. These methods of garnering support for the war allowed for suppression of civil liberties. This lesson plan encourages students to look critically at these acts and decide for themselves when is it acceptable to limit American civil rights.
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Document Based Question

German-Americans in WWI: Facing Challenges at Home

9 - 12
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.
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Document Based Question

United States Enters WWI: Weighing the Decision to Enter the War

9 - 12
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.
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Economics of War

A Study in Finance and Patriotism

9 - 12
War bonds are a financial concept that have been around since the Civil War. The bonds, whose campaigns were often patriotic in nature, were readily used to decrease financial burdens in conflicts from WWI to the Vietnam War, and briefly in support of anti-terrorism. Using Liberty Loan bonds of WWI as a point of study, students can use this lesson plan to create connections to financial obligations the United States government faced in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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Lessons of Liberty: Patriotism

Analyze WWI Propaganda Posters

6 - 8, 9 - 12
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.
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Lest the Ages Forget

National Veterans Day Project

K - 5, 6 - 8, 9 - 12
Lest the Ages Forget provides teachers with a unique opportunity to educate K-12 students using primary sources and to enhance their historical thinking.
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Letters Home

Letters Inspired by Investigating WWI Photos

K - 5, 6 - 8
In this lesson, students research primary source photographs from World War I, to create a "letter home" to describe the scene, all while answering the following questions: "What can we learn about World War I from photographs?"; "How can research into a soldier’s family history help us understand the wider impact of World War I?"; and "How can close examination of a photo help us understand a different time period?"
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Marsden Hartley and the Great War

Learning History Through Art

9 - 12
How are art and history related? How did the culture of pre-war Europe influence painter Marsden Hartley’s work? In this lesson, students will learn about the origins of the Great War and how to analyze the transformation of history into artwork.
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Museum Film Scripts

Full transcripts of videos used within the Museum and Memorial

K - 5, 6 - 8, 9 - 12, Other
The following PDFs are the full transcripts of three videos used within the National WWI Museum and Memorial's Main Gallery. Use the script from the video 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

Museum Mania

WWI in the Middle East: A Research Project

9 - 12
This active-learning lesson helps students learn more about World War I and the modern Middle East, through research and an activity creating their own exhibition for a Museum of the Middle East in World War I.
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