This is document-based lesson that is designed to give students an extended look at the trenches and battlefront experience of WWI soldiers. This lesson fits perfectly into any history course that covers the early 20th century (particularly European or American history). Students will be asked to examine primary photography, accounts from witnesses (soldiers, reporters, generals), modern film interpretations, and a historical documentary, in order to describe and paraphrase the conditions and characteristics of WWI trench warfare.
In order to truly wield the content and knowledge covered in this lesson, students will be asked to create and produce two pieces of work – (1) a “Letter Back Home” which asks them to embody the life of a WWI soldier and write a fictional letter back to their families, and (2) a modern social media post, which asks them to use the internet (either via Instagram or Twitter) in order to create a post/series of posts that accurately depict the conditions of WWI trenches. Students are encouraged to take a creative approach, be funny, add a meme, create an alias, etc.
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