Why and how to teach kids about World War 1

World War I or otherwise known as the War to End All Wars, started in July, 1914 and ended in November, 1918. But it would not end just there. This was just the beginning to a long journey of reform and recovery. World War I started when a Serbian terrorist, Gavrilo Princip, shot an Austro-Hungarian archduke, Franz Ferdinand, in Sarajevo, Bosnia. How could one single loss of life, have such a global impact? This is what kids need to know.

Many were shocked when the start of the war broke out. It seemed to just come “out of the blue.” But was that really the case? Some believe that the seed of war was planted long before that. So what is an effective way to educate kids on the timeline of events and the war itself? This is where the World War I lesson plans come into play. Rather than having kids funneled into a classroom listening to lectures, taking notes off a screen, and reading chapter after chapter in a dull textbook, why not create small scale reenactment? Fortunately enough, that has already been done.

The World War I simulation is similar to that of a game. It includes events, stories, and challenges that were faced within the timeline, similar to the real life event. The main focus of the simulation is the interactive map that is projected for the whole class, in which the teacher controls. The map allows the students to see their country, plus others as well. The map is color coordinated to show who is allied with each other and who is neutral, also showing each countries number of troops.

Throughout the simulation the students are informed to the very last day of the war what they are supposed to accomplish. Students, usually in pairs, are assigned to a specific country. The kids are then given a binder with a set of rules, guides for their army, information specific to their given country, and a list of goals to complete before the last round of the simulation. Kids are not only expected to be active in the simulation in class, by participating in the rounds, but they are also expected to do a bit of their own research outside of class.

The students should be doing their own research outside of class to have knowledge of the real life event. When the kids do this it gives them the upper hand in the simulation and by having background knowledge you know what you should be trying to do and avoid, similar to that of the real life event. Rather than just going in blind and being completely lost. Kids are also required to keep a daily journal of their information/findings, what happened within the simulation that day, and their own thoughts and feelings regarding the simulation.

History Simulation Gaming

The World War I lesson plan is meant to be an interesting and interactive time in the classroom. It allows for students to have a healthy amount of competition and fun, while still learning the importance of the topic. When simulation time rolls around the corner, not only does it get the class excited about the upcoming unit, but the whole school is on the edge of their seats to hear about the events taking place. Simulation time is fun for all students and something everyone looks forward to.

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