WW1 Battlefields Trip

The following materials are designed to help teachers plan a trip to the 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 | Battlefields Trip: itinerary, workpack and follow-up activities | Origins of WW1 and WW2: Comparisons and Contrasts

A. Before the Trip

"Adopt a Soldier" [student worksheet]
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.

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.

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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