Lesson Plan

The Great War

Students will learn the basics of World War I; the participants, the outcome, and the lasting impact.

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Nazi Germany
World War I

Enduring Understanding

World War I (the Great War) was the first major international conflict of the twentieth century. It was known as the most destructive and devastating war of its time, costing millions in dollars and lives.

Essential Question

  • 1What does World War I show about what the world is capable of?


5 Min

Ask the students what they already know about World War I. Try to get students thinking about this: Why is learning about World War I important when introducing the Holocaust?


15 Min

Walk students through the resource World War I by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Start off by going over the Key Facts at the top of the page to provide students with a feel for the topic. Read through the resource as a class.

You do not need to watch the video, Path to Nazi Genocide during this lesson as it is featured in the multimedia source for World War I. If time permits, you may choose to include it in this lesson.


20 Min

Divide the class into groups of three or five to discuss the Critical Thinking Questions found at the bottom of the resource page. Ask groups to designate one person to write down their answers.

Reconvene as a class to go over the student’s answers. Have groups add to their answers with notes from the classroom discussion.

Wisconsin Academic Standards

This lessons meets the following Academic Standards required by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Teacher Primer

Know Before You Go

Before you teach, use our teacher primer to freshen up on your content knowledge.