This NO PREP stations activity presents a variety of trench warfare topics with intriguing primary source accounts and visually appealing photo sets. Increase student growth and engagement using fun and effective methods!
Each station contains a brief introduction and enthralling primary source accounts of trench warfare. After completing this lesson, students will understand how and why trench warfare was fought, and the horrific conditions soldiers faced while fighting in the trenches. The lesson is easily adaptable to fit your teaching style. Students will examine each of the following topics:
1. Trench Warfare - An Overview
2. Trench Design
3. No Man's Land
4. Trench Foot
5. Trench Rats and Lice
6. Shell Shock
The following methods have proven to be the most successful in my classroom:
1. Hang the information sheets around the class and have students rotate to each sheet.
- This is my favorite because it gets students up and moving. You can assign the worksheet that accompanies this activity, or simply have them summarize each topic as they rotate.
2. Split the students into groups and assign one sheet per group. Have the students read the information sheet and prepare to present the information to the rest of class.
- I assign a number to each group member (number the first group, then start back at 1 for the next group, so that you have multiple 1’s, 2’s, etc. throughout the class) and after students have had adequate time to prepare I tell them all the 2’s are presenting. This method motivates students because they don’t know which group member is presenting until it is time to present.
3. Form groups of 6 and have the students pass around the information sheets.
- I’ve found the best approach for this method is to give students a set amount of time and then have all students pass their sheets to the right when told.
The versatility of this activity allows for several culminating assessments. Typically, once students have completed one of the methods above, I have them write a defense of whether they believe trench warfare was an effective strategy of war. Then, we have a class debate in which students must defend their opinion. Another option is to have students write a journal entry from the point of view of a soldier during World War I. I encourage them to include as much information from the stations as possible.
I hope you and your students enjoy this activity. Please let me know if you have questions or concerns!
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