Discovering the Great War (LS-HU-299)

I wanted my students to use authentic material to help them understand World War I better. I wanted them to get a closer insight into those years.

Rohatyn, Galizien; Fotograf: Deutsche SüdarmeeGasalarm im Infantrie-Schützengraben (38. H. I. D.); (en) Gas alarm in an infantry trench (38. H. I. D.) . Österreichische Nationalbibliothek – Austrian National Library – Public Domain Mark

Introductory lesson

We started the topic with brainstorming by using Mentimeter when students could give ideas that occurred to them in connection with wars.

In this lesson, the students got to know some events and facts that led to the war. They also learned about the countries involved and alliances.

My students working during the lesson


We formed groups and decided on the topics: weapons, trench life, soldiers, home front.

We use Google Classroom with my class and I prepared an online document for each group. We collected some keywords to the topics and I gave the students some useful links of the databases on Europeana and some other websites where they can find useful information.

I presented Europeana to my students and showed them how they can search on it. We also talked about copyright and the rules of downloading and using pictures.

My students browsing Europeana Collections

Working in class

I shared the documents with the groups in the Classroom and the students started to find pictures. We agreed that they could choose no more than 10 pictures.

Next lesson they gathered information about their topic. They had to be careful about it, because the information had to be coherent with the pictures they chose. 

I prepared a Google Slides, too, but I only gave the title. When the students were ready with gathering information and pictures, I shared these Slides with the groups. Their task was to create a common Google Slides.

First, each group chose a background, not to mix the slides of the different topics. Then they created the Slides and started to prepare for the presentation.

Next lesson the groups presented their topics and we evaluated each group’s work.

The following lesson we talked about the ending and the results of the war. To make it more interesting, I used some videos found on Europeana.

We closed the topic with a worksheet that I created by using Google Forms. For this, the students could use their books, maps and the Google Slides they made.


Europeana brought this topic closer to the students. The authentic material made it more real and easier to imagine and understand this historical event.

The students enjoyed the activities, though they found it a bit difficult to find and decide on the pictures and match an appropriate piece of information to them.

The activities helped to improve the students’ critical thinking, digital, communicative and collaborative skills. When working on Google Slides they also had to respect each other’s work.

By presenting their part, the students’ language skills improved, too.

Would you like to know more about this learning scenario? You can download it below:

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The featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana Collections and belongs to the public domain.

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