World War I:
A Stage of Players
A Web Quest for High School
The period from August
1914 to November 1918 represents one of the most destructive periods in
human history. The events of this conflict changed the face of Europe
and set in motion a course of events that shaped the twentieth century.
Your responsibility in this exercise will be to assume one of four possible
roles and produce the described article to demonstrate your understanding
of the issues. You will work in groups of up six to develop a presentation
for the class. However, each student must submit a written product.
Roles will be assigned on a first come first serve basis. Your research
should be based on a combination of the provided links as well as personal
investigations of the topic from Dogpile (link to be provided).
You have four possible identities for this
1. The year is 1914. You
are a reporter for a prominent American Newspaper. You have traveled
to England to write as a war correspondent, observing what is being called
"The War to End All Wars" and you are putting together an expositional
story to bring the United States public up to speed on the background and
current events of the war.
2. The year is 1917. You
are Dr. Constantin T. Dumba, a respected doctor from Austria-Hungary.
You are the ambassador to the United States and reside there for much of
the year. You are welcome in Washington D.C., the capitol of the
has recently joined up with the enemy and it looks like they might prove
to be a commanding force in the effort to destroy your family's allies.
Little do they realize that you are a spy. You plan to use your access
to the United States to gauge their ability to pose a threat against your
side in "The Great War" and the opinions of the Americans towards war.
Send correspondence home to Austria to feed information about America's
war effort and capabilities.
3. The year is 1914. You
are Gavrilo Princip. You are a member of the Black Hand in Serbia.
You have been apprehended for the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand.
With a gun to your head, you are being forced to write out your confession
4. The war is over, and you
have lost. You have survived the horror that was the Western Front.
You have seen death and destruction first hand. Now, you must return
home to East Prussia.
In your confession,
explain why you felt that the assassination was necessary. Explain
about the political tensions of the past few years and why there were tensions
to begin with. You feel that it is necessary to expose the Black
Hand, so explain who they are and what they are about.
How has the
landscape change since you left your home and went to war? Do you
notice any changes in the people that you meet on your way? Do they
seem to be disheartened or completely hopeless in the face of utter destruction
of their homeland.
Keep a journal
of your journey home. Write daily entries of the three to four weeks
that it takes to walk home. Identify any hardships that you have
to endure while you travel. Describe the landscape that you see on your
way home and make insights into the justification of a war that causes
so much destruction.
the oak trees on the road to Potsdam
went a procession in broad daylight.
At the front was a drum, at the rear a flag,
and in the middle they carried a coffin."
Step 1: Choose an identity from the
Step 2: Divide into groups of six
based on your chosen identity and decide which job in the group you will
Step 3: Outline the research portion
of the project, identifying key words, dates, and individuals.
Sample roles: Biographer, identify key persons related to your identity.
Geographer, research the area pertaining to your chosen character.
Propagandists, examine the roles of print, visual, and audio media influenced
Step 4: Gain access to the web and
research your topic as completely as possible.
Step 5: Design a group presentation
to be presented before the entire class.
Step 6: Present before the class.
Step 7: At home, write the required
paper, assuming the identity of the character that you have chosen.
Use this search engine for any self guided
web based research. The use of any other search engines must be approved
by the teacher prior to accessing.
The document archives of Brigham Young University
are an excellent starting point for any research on World War One.
The archives are divided by year and country making it very easy to access
information relating to a particular country.
On The Web
The reference library of Trenches On The
Web provides an amazing overview of various aspects of the conflict, from
weapons to political and military leaders. This should be among one
of the first stops for students looking for information on an individual
or national capabilities.
This site provides a useful link to information
on the assassination of Franz Ferdinand. Anyone researching the Black
Hand will want to examine this site early.
The University of Kansas provides a list
of links relating to WWI on this site. The information is divided
by country making it very easy for students to find information on a particular
aspect of that country.
The Imperial War Museum offers an excellent
online exhibit including interviews with veterans of the WWI. This
oral history will allow students to hear of the horrors of the war from
the men in the trenches.
The University of Kansas provides an excellent
overview of the birth and early activity of this terrorist group.
Special attention is given to the groups most notorious act, the 1914 assassination.
This site provides an excellent overview
of the war. The oral history will be very useful to those of you
doing the first assignment.
Role One Links:
The purpose of this assignment is to report
on the early phase of the war from the Allies point of view. For
this reason, your research should focus primarily on the British.
The oral history links from the BBC gives the story from the soldiers point
of view. Trenches on the Web and The Imperial War Museum will
be major sources of information. Your news report should reflect
the close Anglo-American relationship.
Role Two Links:
The role here is to provide information
home to Austria. The country information link will be a prime resourse
for this assignment. Keep in mind that the US was held in very low
regard by the Great Powers and your intelligence reports should reflect
this attitude. The Brigham Young and the Zimmerman links will also
help to describe US attitudes toward the war.
Role Three Links:
The role of a terrorist is not something
new to the world. The Black Hand link will give you a great starting
point for your research into terrorism in the early twentieth century.
Keep in mind that your are in fear for your life. Give as much detail
as possible in your confession.
Role Four Links:
Your responsibility here will be to report
on what you see. For this reason, photos will be a major part of
your research. Trenched on the Web has a photo archive that will
give you a major start towards this assignment. The World War I link
also has a photo archive that can be of value here. The BBC link
can help by giving a British view of what was going on in the fall of 1918.
Remember that this assignment should be in the form of a journal, not a
* Special Note *
The photos at the end of each assignment
also provide links to valuable research sites relating to the topic of
the assignment. Don't limit your research to one or two sites.
The more information you have the more complete the picture you will be
able to provide to your classmates.
Describe to the learners how their performance
will be evaluated. Specify whether there will be a common grade for group
work vs. individual grades.
Student does not have
an adequate understanding of the content and has not worked hard enough
on their paper.
Student has an adequate
understanding of the content, and this shows in the work done on the paper
Student has complete content knowledge
and has created complete and rational thoughts through the paper.
Student exceeds expectations
on content knowledge, research, and paper creation.
Posses minimal resources
(2-3), verry little detail, only general overview of topic, no primary
sources, poorly organized, messy, over all amateur
Only a few resource (3-4),
general detail, shallow depth, general overview, no primary sources, loosely
More than a few resources,
(5-6), detailed, good overview, 1 Primary source, some organization, neat
presentation of turned in material (notes)
Adequate research, (7+),
in depthe detail, good overview supported by sources, well organized, 2
or more primary sources, good presentation of notes.
Group participation is
limited to a few members. The information provided introduces the
major topics without addressing their impact on the overall subject.
The work is incomplete to provide fellow students with an adequate unstanding.
Only half of the group
members take an active role in the presentation. The information
provided touches on some of the major elements without addressing all of
the issues relevant to the subject.
Most of the project meets
the standards of the teacher. Over half the group members are involved
in the presentation. The presentation conforms to the selected role.
The infomation provided addresses the all of the major elements of the
Each member of the group
is involved in the presentation. The presentation complies to the
role chosen by the group members. The presentation provides substantial
detail on the subject matter of the topic provided detailed information
on the major events and personalities of the topic.
With the completion of this WebQuest, you
will have a better understanding of the First World War, its complications
and the effects of the war. You have covered the major phases of
the war: the causes, the outbreak of war, United States involvement, and
the aftermath of war. Hopefully, you now have the interest needed
to continue your study of the First World War. A better understanding
of History allows us to learn from our mistakes, and you must not forget
that knowledge is power.
Put a couple of sentences here that summarize
what they will have accomplished or learned by completing this activity
or lesson. You might also include some rhetorical questions or additional
links to encourage them to extend their thinking into other content beyond
Credits & References
Last updated on August
15, 1999. Based on a template from The