Teaching Resources

Extend your subject knowledge by listening to our podcasts by historians and other experts.  'The Great War Debate' series visited locations all over the UK and featured insights from leading historians and academics as they debated the causes, events and consequences of the First World War.

Two australian signallers in a trench with headphones on, 1916

This enquiry deals with the causes of the First World War starting with the experiences of an officer and a private soldier in the very first trenches on the River Aisne in September 1914.

Two allied soldiers defending in a trench during the First World War

This enquiry examines why stalemate occurred during the First World War and how it was finally ended. Students are also asked to consider the impact of technological developments in warfare from 1914-18 and their effectiveness in ending the conflict.

Bare chested soldiers tending to their clothes in a trench in the First World War

This enquiry examines how far the common picture of the First World War soldier is accurate. Students start with a closer look at trenches, how they were lived in and how the trench system was supposed to work. This information is then set in the wider context of the routine of a soldier in France and Belgium, and how he spent his time. This includes taking part in an attack ‘over the top’, but goes on to look at some of the many jobs that were necessary in order to support the fighting troops.

British troops looking more relaxed on the front line, in World War 1

The enquiry is based on doing ‘local‘(or ’localised‘) history. The students should build knowledge and understanding of what life was like at home for the serviceman or woman before the First World War. They should also get a sense of what life was like for the person in the theatre of war in which they served. They should become more aware of opportunities and challenges when working constructively with sources to build knowledge and understanding.

Soldiers gathered to pay tribute at a war memorial, circa 1918.

The students will evaluate the significance of the Battle of the Somme – both at the time and since. Too often Battle of the Somme is examined from a limited perspective: as a typical, and possibly futile, Western Front offensive. This is compounded by a limited focus on the events of 1 July.

Troops fighting at the Battle of the Somme, July 1916

The focus of this enquiry is twofold. Firstly on the strategic significance of the small Belgian city of Ypres during the First World War. Secondly on the area’s continuing significance in the years since as a focal point for First World War remembrance.

Black and white image of the ruins of Ypres with the cathedral in the foreground, from World War 1

This enquiry focuses on the extent to which the First World War was a world war. Contemporary evidence from a variety of geographical locations outside Europe is examined alongside further evidence which suggests that the War was essentially a Euro-centric conflict.

Canadian troops with rifles photographed on camels

This enquiry is designed to provide some examples of how and why the First World War has been remembered in different ways and in different times and contexts since 1918.

Allied troops marching on the front line in the First World War

This enquiry examines the extent to which the Allied victory in 1918 can be attributed to the strengths and actions of the Allied powers or the weaknesses and actions of their opponents, the Central Powers.

Allied soldiers carrying an injured soldier from No Man's Land

This enquiry provides an analysis of the impact of dramatic changes in the lives of women in Britain brought about by the First World War.

Image of women working in a munitions factory during World War 1

This enquiry examines how great the impact of the First World War was on Europe. The principal focus will be on looking at the impact of the War on Britain and the major powers in the decades which followed 1918.

Photograph of Woodrow Wilson

This enquiry examines how effective medical care was on the Western Front in the First World War. The principal focus will be on looking at medical care by the British Army. The enquiry will look at a range of sources and encourage students to evaluate their impact before reaching a judgement as to the effectiveness of medical care on the Western Front.

Two stretcher bearers carrying an injured soldier away from the battlefield in World War 1

This enquiry examines key elements of the Battle of Manchester Hill on 21st March 1918. The enquiry focuses on developing students’ source skills through analysis of historical evidence. It may be necessary to define the term ‘Pals’ with students, as the enquiry focuses on the role of the Manchester Pals within the battle. It is designed to be a stand-alone lesson that can be done around the time of the centenary commemoration of the battle or can be fitted in to a wider scheme of work looking at the First World War.

British troops engaged in trench warfare during World War 1

This unit of work is designed to move student thinking beyond the traditional teaching of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.

Photograph of soldiers disembarking from a train in World War 1