Angels in White: Women in WWI (LS-RO-731)

The 20th century history is marked by important changes in women social status. In this respect, WWI is considered to be the turning point in evolution of women’s involvement in public life. The main aim of this lesson is to develop students’ awareness regarding the contribution that women had to the war effort and the consequences that this involvement had in terms of achieving political rights. This lesson focuses on critical thinking development within activities that use photographs, literary and non-fictional sources studied from multiple perspectives. Creativity is also engaged as students are asked to produce pieces of diaries and letters.

Queen Mary of Romania as a Nurse in WWI, 1917, Europeana 1914-1918, Principele Radu al Romaniei, Romania, CC BY-SA

Interdisciplinarity – a key feature of modern teaching

Within the globalized and digitalized world in which we live and evolve, teachers should become aware that promoting interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary activities is essential. In this context, I propose a learning scenario which highlights interdisciplinarity activities as the selected contents engage knowledge and skills achieved by students at History, Languages and Literature. Selecting the resources available on the Europeana platform took into account this aim and contributed to the insertion both at written and visual aids. These were successfully completed by printed materials as well as a video available online. In order to have a whole vision of the interdisciplinary skills that students have achieved, two assessments tasks were projected: a letter written from multiple perspectives and a file for a project documentation. A detailed rubric was also included for evaluating the outcomes.

The screenshot presents a word cloud done in Mentimeter containing the students’ answers at the brainstorming activity when the teacher asked them to mention three words that come to their minds when thinking about WWI

Collaborative learning and formative assessment

The construction of meaning within this learning scenario is assured through collaborative learning activities in which students’ literacy skills are developed while analysing visual, written or multimodal sources. They collaborate in small groups in order to organize information from sources in mind maps or while preparing an argumentative speech in which they valorise the sources provided by the teacher.

The value of the approach is enhanced by the formative assessment which ensures a deep understanding of the contents, the maximization of students’ engagement within the lesson (as each student’s contribution is important for team’s successful achievements) and a real development of competences. Moments of reflection and peer-assessment are also enriching collaborative learning.


The activities proposed within this learning scenario offer the opportunity of a real collaboration among students (and teachers as well), the development of skills at an interdisciplinary level and assures the transfer of abilities while students produce outcomes that demonstrate their creativity, critical thinking and learning to learn skills.

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CC BY 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Wellcome Collection.

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