Contributed by Esther Oldrieve, Treviglas College, Newquay
With my year 9 groups I set up a series of lessons asking why so many men died during the First World War. It builds on pupils’ knowledge of the industrial revolution, and earlier conflicts such as the Boer War. I have three differentiated activities:
Activity one: An investigation into the weapons of war. This is aimed at pupils aiming to achieve a level 4. They investigate three different weapons (they are directed towards choosing gas, tanks, aircraft, submarines, artillery, mining and the machine guns) with the aim of explaining how this weapon was used to attack the enemy and the impact on troops. This is aimed at engaging lower ability boys in particular and is hugely popular.
Activity two: Trench warfare. How was the war fought on the western front? Asks pupils to consider the use of artillery, going ‘over the top’ and the impact of new weapons such as tanks.
Activity three: An investigation into Gallipolli. This is for the higher ability group, and gets them thinking about leadership and the role it played in the outcome of the conflict.
First World War death rates session plan_Year 9
Latest research suggests that 88% of British trench fighting soldiers survived the war. The bbc has a very good guide on this on their website.