WORLD WAR 1: THE HUMAN COST OF
Goal: Students will be able to
articulate the human costs (death,
injury, etc.) of war on soldiers during
World War I
Essential Question: What are the
human costs of total war?
Assessment: Students will showcase
their knowledge through a journal entry
assignment. They will be tasked with
assuming the role of a soldier in World
War 1. They are ﬁghting and living in
the trenches. They will write letters
back home to tell their loved ones
about their experiences in the
trenches. Students will create 5-6
journal entries. Creativity is
encouraged! Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Australian_Imperial_Force
All Quiet on the Western Front
“The dull thud of the gas-shells mingles with the crashes of the light
explosives. A bell sounds between the explosions, gongs, and metal
clappers warning everyone - Gas- Gaas.
These ﬁrst minutes with the mask decide between life and death: is it air
tight? I remember the awful sights in the hospital: the gas patients who lay
in day-long suffocation cough up their burnt lungs in clots. Cautiously, the
mouth applied to the valve, I breathe. The gas still creeps over the
ground… like a big, soft, jelly ﬁsh…
Inside the gas-mask my head booms and roars- it is nigh bursting. My
lungs are tight, they breathe always the same hot, used up air, the veins on
my temples are swollen. I feel I am
suffocating. (pg. 68-70)”
Question: From whose perspective is this passage written? What
evidence from the text supports your opinion? What are they experiencing?
Source: Remarque, E. M., & Wheen, A. W. (1929). All quiet on the western front.
Question: What is the purpose behind the
poster? Why was it created and for what
audience? Is it a reliable source?
Edward Henry Cecil Stewart, undated, France. Born: 13
November 1891, Regiment: 1/5 Grenadier Company, London Rifle
Brigade, Regiment number: 1167; 300717, Rank: Private, Died: 1
Letter from the Trenches
… As long as you kept your head down you were comparatively safe,
so as it went on, this was where I had my first escape. I was on sentry
duty for a couple of hours, from 1am to 3am and was instructed to
keep a sharp look out. I did not care for the idea of keeping my head
above the trench and looking for beastly Germans, however it had to
be done, it was quite uncanny to watch the enemy trench which
appeared somewhat like a black wave and only sixty yards in front,
then you would suddenly see the flash of their rifles and machine
guns immediately after would come the report and nasty thuds on the
sandbags which you might be resting against. I fired about five shots
Questions: How would you
experience in the trenches?
Was it positive or negative?
The Rear-Guard ~ Siegfried Sasson
(Hindenburg Line, April 1917)
Groping along the tunnel, step by step,
He winked his prying torch with patching glare
From side to side, and sniffed the unwholesome air.
Tins, boxes, shapes and too vauge to know;
A mirror smashed, the mattress from a bed;
And he, exploring ﬁfty feet below
The rosy gloom of battle overhead.
Tripping, he grabbed the wall; saw someone lie
Humped at his feet, half-hidden by a rug.
And stooped to give the sleeper’s arm a tug.
“I’m looking for headquarters.” No reply.
“God blast your neck!” (For days he’d had no sleep.)
“Get up and guide me through this stinking place.”
Savage, he kicked a soft, unanswering heap,
And ﬂashed his beam across the livid face
Terribly glaring up, whose eyes yet wore
Agony dying hard of ten days before;
And ﬁsts of ﬁngers clutched a blackening wound.
Alone he staggered on until he found
Dawn’s ghost that ﬁltered down a shafted stair
To the dazed, muttering creatures underground
Who hear the boom of shells in mufﬂed sound.
At last, with sweat and horror in his hair,
He climbed through darkness to twilight air,
Unloading hell behind him step by step.
Source: Counter-attack, and Other Poems (1918)
Questions: Is the character viewed positively or
negatively? What language does the author use to
support their perspective?
Questions: Is this
depiction of a
trench in WWI?
your claim from
I am conﬂicted about my thoughts on the Document Based Lesson project. On the
one hand, I thought it was a very clever way to learn and work with many digital
programs. More speciﬁcally, we learned how to build a Google site and create a
chapter using a speciﬁc software. All of the assignments were scaffolded in such a
way that prepared you for the ultimate goal of creating a chapter in an ebook. I
thought it was clever to have us create a Google site as our rough draft of the
information we wanted to have in our chapter. Learning how to use Google sites was
valuable. Many teachers create their own webpage to house their assignments,
calendars, and agendas to help students stay organized. It was helpful to learn how
to make one, in case I want to use it in the future.
Although I thought that the overall goals and objectives of the assignment were
valuable, it took up a good portion of our time at the end of the term. That time could
have been spent learning additional methods that we could bring into classrooms
that do not have access to digital platforms. Also, the majority of the schools in
Oregon use Chrome books and do not have access to the particular resources we
were using. Therefore, it would be difﬁcult to replicate this project in our classrooms.
Plus, many students do not have access to the programs at home either, so that
would provide a massive barrier for students to complete the project even if they had
access to an device at school.
As an alternative, I think it would be helpful to discuss more methods that do not
require the use of technology. There is a digital divide in schools. Even if that does
decrease in the future, it is important to also be equipped with tools that you can use
in instances where technology is limited. I really enjoyed our lesson on group
discussions. I think there could have been an additional day devoted to that topic
because that is a large part of what we do as social studies teachers... lead
discussions. I'm sure there are other areas that we didn't cover this term that could
also be beneﬁcial to implement in our instruction. Therefore, I am conﬂicted about
the necessity of the DBQ lesson.
Connect with the author!
LinkedIn: Anna Harrington
Exploring History Vol IV
University of Portland Students
Peter Pappas, Editor
This eBook is a collaborative project of Peter Pappas
and his Fall 2016 Social Studies Methods Class
School of Education ~ University of Portland, Portland Ore.
Graduate and undergraduate level pre-service teachers were assigned the
task of developing an engaging research question, researching supportive
documents and curating them into a DBQ suitable for middle or high
For more on this class, visit the course blog EdMethods
For more on this book project and work ﬂow tap here.
Chapters in chronological order
1. Mysterious Bronze Age Collapse by Sam Hicks
2. From Revolution to Government by Valerie Schiller
3. Imagination, Innovation & Space Exploration by Molly Pettit
4. The Real Romanovs by Kelly Marx
5. World War I: The Human Cost of Total War by Anna
6. Collectivization and Propaganda in Stalin’s Soviet Union by
7. Holy Propaganda Batman! by Karina Ramirez Velazquez
8. The Nicaraguan Literacy Crusade by Scott Hearron
EXPLORING HISTORY: VOL IV
Engaging questions and historic
documents empower students to be
the historian in the classroom.