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5 totally free WW1 resources to help history teachers bring their lessons to life

Monday June 22, 2015

Ww1 Postcard

With WW1 Centenary commemorations currently underway, the events of the Great War are fresh in the minds of people across the globe. As a result, teachers are looking to bring the stories of those who fought and died in the First World War to life. Here are five of the best online resources that could help.

The Guardian’s interactive guide to WW1

Through a series of videos, photos and maps, The Guardian’s interactive guide to WW1 sees ten historians from around the world tell the story of the First World War. 

Students will gain an insight into what it was like for soldiers in the trenches while also learning about empires, fronts and the aftermath of the war.

The National Theatre’s ‘War Horse’ Education Pack

Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, the War Horse Education Pack enables readers to study the events which inspired the author to write one of his most famous stories.

Not only will students learn about the history of WW1, they’ll also improve their literature knowledge. Morpurgo’s tales may even inspire enthusiastic young writers to write stories of their own.

Lives of the First World War

The Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War includes a captivating interactive timeline that is built up of WW1 soldier stories that people have shared themselves via the website.

Students with existing knowledge of their family tree will be able to contribute their own images, stories, records, and facts to the website, while others may be able to read about their ancestors’ lives.

The Atlantic’s ‘World War 1 in Pictures’

The Atlantic’s collection of World War 1 photos offers students a fascinating peek into the lives of soldiers, politicians and civilians in the First World War.

Each photo can be used to explore various aspects of the Great War, from the assassination of Franz Ferdinand to gas attacks in Flanders Fields.

Letter to an unknown soldier

On Platform One of London’s Paddington Station, there’s a statue of an unknown soldier reading a letter. On the hundredth anniversary of the declaration of war, this online project asked users to write the letter in question.

An overwhelming response was received, with more than 21,000 people penning letters of their own. By visiting the Letter to an Unknown Soldier website, history classes can read a selection of contributions before putting pen to paper themselves.  

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There are so many websites dedicated to informing students of the harrowing scenes from the First World War. By introducing such resources into lessons, teachers can help pupils gain a greater understanding of the events that took place between 1914-1918.

Teachers looking to broaden their students’ knowledge even further may find value in school trips to WW1 battlefields. One hundred years on from the First World War, there has never been a more pertinent time to go on a WW1 History Trip to places such as Ypres and Somme.

If you know of any other great WW1 resources, get in touch on Twitter to let us know.