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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LIMITS OF MODERN SCIENCE

Video and Discussion Questions

9 - 12, Other
Advances in medicine have prevented the recurrence of another global Influenza outbreak on the scale of a century ago, yet weaknesses to new viruses remain. In his lecture “Influenza’s Threat: Then and Now,” Dr. Powel H. Kazanjian, Professor and Chief, Division of Infection Diseases at University of Michigan Medical Center, explored past and present preparedness for pandemics. Though a lecture from 2018, it draws timely parallels between the COVID-19 outbreak and the Influenza pandemic of 100 years before - watch the video on YouTube, then answer the provided discussion questions.
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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.
Download PDF, Download Accompanying PowerPoint

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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Oral Histories

WWI Soldiers, in Their Own Words

K - 5, 6 - 8, 9 - 12, Other
These interviews, recorded between 1978 and 1980, allowed surviving veterans of the First World War to share their experiences, in their own words. The recordings, including several from African American veterans, have been digitized and are now available for listening on YouTube. If available, transcripts are also linked.
Listen Online
"Polar Bears" American Soldiers in Russia

Polar Bears, The Cold War and Questions of Duty

The U.S. Intervention in Northern Russia (1918-1919)

9 - 12
This lesson asks students to examine a little-known facet of World War I: the American intervention in North Russia, which began in 1918. Through primary and secondary sources, students will discover the reasons for President Wilson’s approval of the mission to Russia; use contemporary accounts to assess the morale of the soldiers; and, if time allows, students will use included sources to discern whether the seeds of the Cold War were actually sown in the snows of North Russia in 1918 and 1919.
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Poppies for Remembrance and Commemoration

K - 5, 6 - 8, 9 - 12, Other
Examine the importance of remembrance and commemoration through the symbolism of the poppy, engage your younger students with poppy crafts, and learn how to get your class involved in the fundraising effort to build a national WWI memorial in Washington, D.C.
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Razzle Dazzle

Dazzle Camouflage Coloring Sheet

K - 5
This brief article and coloring sheet activity provides younger learners with more information on the “dazzle camouflage” used to protect ships in WWI. Used first by Britain’s Royal Navy, the idea behind dazzle camouflage was to create a mix of lines, shapes and colors that would help a ship better blend into the ocean or to make it difficult for spotters to pinpoint the ship’s exact location.
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Service and Sacrifice

Quentin Roosevelt's Ultimate Sacrifice

9 - 12
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.
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Teaching with Film: 1917

9 - 12, Other
The highly acclaimed Sam Mendes' film 1917 has media abuzz and some interesting ELA and C3 connections. Engage the skills your students need for careers in history with an assignment that has students use primary source photographs, letters, maps and oral histories from the National WWI Museum and Memorial to answer the question regularly asked of our museum professionals, “How historically accurate is the film?”
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Teenage Assassins and the Outbreak of WWI

The Sarajevo Assassination and the Spark that Ignited a World War

9 - 12
From Lisa Adeli of the University of Arizona - Center of Middle Eastern Studies and teacher fellow at the National World War I Museum and Memorial, 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.
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The Christmas Truce

Winter 1914

K - 5, 6 - 8, 9 - 12, Other
The Christmas Truce, Winter 1914 is an online exhibition from the National WWI Museum and Memorial. Read essays by noted historians and explore firsthand accounts from soldiers themselves. Then decide for yourself the real story behind the Christmas Truce.
View Online

The End of the War

The Armistice and the Treaty of Versailles

K - 5, 6 - 8, 9 - 12
Why did fighting stop in World War I? How did Europe (and the rest of the world) move forward once it was no longer at war? Students grades 5-9 will discover how the Treaty of Versailles brings an end to the First World War for Germany and the “Big 3” with this lesson.
Download PDF, Download Accompanying PPT

The Rise of Giving

American Philanthropy and WWI

6 - 8, 9 - 12, Other
The digital exhibition The Rise of Giving: American Philanthropy and WWI explores the American philanthropic movement in WWI, sharing the stories of the Americans and the organizations that played a key role in reshaping the world in the wake of war.
Explore Online

The Volunteers

Americans Join World War I

K - 5, 6 - 8, 9 - 12, Other
The digital exhibition The Volunteers: Americans Join World War I examines the stories of the young men and women who transformed the meaning of volunteerism. Prompted by altruism, personal ambition, a search for adventure or hope for an Allied-led redemption of a devastated Europe, these American volunteers engaged in the war before the United States entered the conflict. This exhibition, produced in collaboration with AFS Intercultural Programs and the National WWI Museum and Memorial, shares their inspirational stories.
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