WWI: A New Era
Technological Advancements of World War 1
During World War I, the world watched on in horror as technology showed its dark side, ushering in the first modern mechanized war. These resources take a close look at everything from machine guns to chlorine gas, exploring how these powerful innovations impacted the nature of warfare and led to an unprecedented loss of human life.
World War One Uncut | BBC
If you're looking for a more entertaining way to introduce your students to some of the technological inventions that shaped WWI, the BBC's WWI Uncut series has several videos that look at these topics in a way that is engaging and informative.
At the start of WWI, it seemed like business as usual but in a matter of years,
Sal breaks down the major technologies developed during WWI, such as machine guns, poison gas, tanks and aircraft carriers and explains how older inventions like the airplane were re-purposed for battle. Use this to provide an overview before students look more in-depth at individual technologies in the resources that follow.
As an alternative to the Khan Academy video, students can use this resource to familiarize themselves with the weapons, devices and other inventions that led to unprecedented brutality in this photographic exploration.
There’s a good reason why poisonous gas was eventually banned from warfare. This article includes fascinating information about the first chlorine gas attack of 1915, and how it set the precedent for the use of chemical warfare in the future. Share excerpts with your students if you find the article too be too lengthy.
When trench warfare caused a deadlock on the Western Front, the British answered with a new weapon- the “water-tank.” But the first brave souls who fought inside them had no idea what to expect and learned quickly that the perils inside of the tanks were almost as deadly as those on the outside. This interactive includes infographics, video, and images that illustrate the hazards of these early battle tanks.
This is a very well scaffolded lesson that invites students to make their own discoveries about the effects certain technologies had on trench warfare by recreating a battlefield trench in the classroom.
This is a great supplemental worksheet that pairs well with the resource above. Again, students are encouraged to make inferences from what they observe in primary source images. They’ll provide written responses to questions about the photos. This worksheet can also be used separately to introduce the topic in a way that taps into a student’s curiosity.
This creative lesson uses music, primary source excerpts, and station work before culminating in an activity in which students create fake tweets for soldiers fighting in WWI. We also think their optional extension activity could be a fascinating way to draw connections between this topic and current events.
The hosts of the RadioLab podcast tells the confusing life story of Fritz Haber, a young German chemist who initially wanted to solve the problem of feeding a quickly growing population and developed a process that would allow bread to be made from nitrogen. What he did next with his Nobel Prize-winning discovery would earn him the title of war criminal and offer us a glimpse into what happens when people leave behind a conflicting legacy. This story is an engrossing way to get students talking about the far-reaching impacts of WWI’s innovations.
The “Dazzle Section” might sound like the title of a hit Broadway show but it was actually an experimental approach to use clashing stripes and contrasting colors to camouflage British sea vessels, making it difficult to determine their size and direction of travel. Did all that “dazzle” keep German U-boats from sinking their ships though?
Eboni has extensive experience in curriculum development, with a focus on culturally-responsive and arts-based approaches. Having spent years creating academic content and providing professional development to teachers, she now curates themed playlists meant to provide educators with valuable, time-saving resources.
9-10.W.7 Conduct Short As Well As More Sustained Research Projects To Answer A Question (Including A Self-Generated Question) Or Solve A Problem; Narrow Or Broaden The Inquiry When Appropriate; Synthesize Multiple Sources On The Subject, Demonstrating Understanding Of The Subject Under Investigation.
11-12.RH.7 Integrate And Evaluate Multiple Sources Of Information Presented In Diverse Formats And Media (E.G., Visually, Quantitatively, As Well As In Words) In Order To Address A Question Or Solve A Problem.