Thomas Dowling Thomas Dowling

History: The Causes of the First World War (pt.2)
Year 9a and b level


Learning Objective: To explain why people volunteered to fight and to explain the impact of the war both upon society and to those who fought in it, using a mixture of primary and secondary sources to help understand this important period of history.


Abc Clayton, Collier, Day, Rees, 'History in Progess: 1901 to the Present Day' (2009)

Main Aims

  • Ss will learn about what it was like fighting in World War 1.

Subsidiary Aims

  • Ss will learn about the motivations of those who fought in the war.
  • Ss will continue to develope their understand about the political landscape of Europe, and the complex web of alliances that brought Europe to war in 1914


Attendance and Introduction (5-10 minutes) • To clearly define the Learning Objective

After attendance has been taken, and HO has been accounted for, T to write the Learning Objective on the board and outline the aims for the lesson.

Warmer/Lead-in (5-10 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

T will recap on the very important--though complex--sparks that lead to the First World War, eliciting the knowledge from the Ss to see if they have processed the teaching.

We Want to Volunteer! (Background and Understanding) (10-15 minutes) • To illustrate how the British public felt (and why they wanted to volunteer) and how that mood changed

T reads through the introduction paragraph (p.18), then elaborates about what volunteering meant and why they might have did it (national pride; patriotism; call of duty SOURCE B--famous Kitchener poster; short war full of glory; poverty back home). T asks Ss to look at SOURCE A, and describe it. What can you see here? How do you think they feel? Do they think everyone would have felt the same (poor/middle class/elite/men/women/workers/Irish etc)? What might their reactions be to the news of the war? Which groups do you think would have volunteered and why? Was it just men who volunteered? Look at SOURCE C. Why did Britain need volunteers? T asks Ss to read the three paragraphs on p.19. T elicits a summary of the reading, and adds additional understanding and background knowledge to help Ss understand not just the mood of the volunteers, but also why it was critical for Britain's war effort against the mighty German Army.

We Want to Volunteer! (Comprehension and Processing) (20-25 minutes) • Task

Ss will do question 5 on p.19. By reading through the SOURCES (d-g), to write a 300 word paragraph about why volunteers joined up. This will help S understanding behind the motivation of these men, but their answer will almost entirely be based on analyzing and interpreting the sources--an essential history skill. Students will be told that they must reference sources within the text, getting them into good historical practice. T will elicit S ideas afterwards, ensure a standard of historical knowledge and understanding.

What was life like on the front line? (Background and Understanding) (10-15 minutes) • To illustrate why that enhusiam for the war changed; Ss to use primary sources to help their guided discovery.

T will capitalize on the previous two pages and contrast the mood by way of an introduction to this section. Here Ss will begin to learn how the mood of the volunteers changed when the reality of a new kind of warfare (trench warfare) emerged. T will also demonstrate that its through primary accounts--mainly dairies and poetry--that we have learnt so much about the conflict and why they are so invaluable to historians. T asks Ss to read the first paragraph on p.20, and to summarize what it's saying. T will then draw S attention to the diagram of trench warfare, trying to show the horrible nature of how the war was fought and what I was think to be like on the frontline.

What was life like on the front line? (Comprehension and Processing) (15-20 minutes) • Task

T will ask Ss to write a 300 word paragraph what life was like in the trenches using SOURCES b-e. T will elicts ideas and ask them about the reliability of these sources. Can they be trusted? Are they useful. ENGLISH CROSSOVER what about the play, War Horse, or the war poetry? Is this useful in understanding about life in the trenches? Explain your answer.

Homework (Research) (3-5 minutes) • To distribute H/W

T instructs Ss that their H/W is to research about the Battle of Somme. They must produce 3 paragraphs of ORIGINAL work, i.e. that they have researched the topic then re-written it in their own words.

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