World War One / Battlefields Trip

The following materials are designed around a World War One battlefields of the Somme and Ypres.

These materials support the WW1 Battlefields Trip which follows my studies of the Great War through such topics as: Causes of World War One | Life in the Trenches in World War One | Causes for Germany's Defeat in World War One | Remembrance Day: Activities for all Year Groups | Origins of WW1 and WW2: Comparisons and Contrasts

A. Before the Trip

Online Presentation: What were the essential causes of World War One?

This short presentation is designed to provide students with an essential overview of the main causes of the war in a single lesson. I don't teach this in any more detail at this stage as the causes of the war are a key part of the IGCSE syllabus (here).

Decision-Making Simulation: Can you survive life in the trenches? [FREE]

"In this simulation you will be a British soldier who joins the army in 1914 to fight the Germans. You will learn about the conditions which soldiers lived and fought in, and the dangers they faced. There is a worksheet to go with this activity which you should complete as you proceed.  You can also save your progress at any time so you can continue the game over several lessons or as homework. There is even a leaderboard!"


Follow-up factual test (20 questions)

This factual test ensures that students completed the worksheet from the simulation and learned the information properly.

Video: Richard Holmes: War Walks - The Somme (28m) | Student Worksheet | Teacher Answers

The late, great Richard Holmes is still the best TV military historian. Here's a video, worksheet and teacher answers on the Battle of the Somme. It is good to show this after the students have played the simulation so that they can get an in-depth understanding of this battle in particular.

How effectively did the Commonwealth War Graves Commission commemorate the Fallen?
[teacher introductory PowerPoint | student worksheet | teacher answer sheet]

Another idea is to get students considering the effectiveness with which the Commonwealth War Graves Commission paid tribute to the soldiers and their families in the years which followed the war.

"Adopt a Soldier"

One activity which works particularly well prior to the trip is to get students researching the life and career of a World War One casualty buried at one of the cemeteries we visit. They then produce a commemorative piece of writing which can be laminated and laid at the grave during the visit. This worksheet can be found here.

B. Trip Itinerary and Workpack

There are two versions of the trip available. Each one comes with a detailed student workpack (plus teacher notes) which opens in Adobe Acrobat Reader. There is also a detailed itinerary for each trip which can be opened in Google Earth. These materials have been produced to support our successful residential trips from the International School of Toulouse.

  Length of Trip Hotel Somme Ypres Oradour Student Workpack Google Earth itinerary
Option 1 Three full days of visits. Based in Albert. Two full days visiting sites on the Somme. One full day visiting sites around Ypres. Visit to Oradour on the way back.
Option 2 Two full days of visits. Based in Ypres. One full day visiting sites on the Somme. One full day visiting sites around Ypres. Visit to Oradour on the way up.

During the long coach journey it's a good idea to have some relevant recommended World War One DVDs to watch. Here are some of the best which have worked from my experience, but I also have a full list of recommended DVDs for the History Classroom.

Blackadder Goes Forth (TV Series 1989)
All Quiet on the Western Front (TV 1979)
The Trench (1999)
Beneath Hill 60 (2010)

C. After the Trip

It is important to follow-up the Battlefields Trip with meaningful activities and reflection to ensure the students get the most out of the experience. Some ideas include:

Museum Exhibition Task
Students put together a major exhibition in the school, complete with a workpack (for secondary | primary students) and "character card" activities, and acted as guides for students in Years 5-9 to share their experiences.

Design a Memorial / Visitor Center [worksheet]
Students can also use what they have learned to design their own memorial and visitor center in a group task ("The Commonwealth War Graves commission has decided to create a new memorial and visitor center to commemorate the war. Your task is to formulate your own concept for a memorial and visitor center and persuade the CWGC to commission your project"). As part of this process, students could make use of some of these Virtual Reality Images of War Memorials.




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High Park Lodge, Edstaston Wem, Shropshire, England, SY4 5RD. Telephone/Fax: 01939 233909

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