WW I News Production Project


    This assessment asks students to closely examine events that took place during World War I.  Students research the events individually and in groups of four, producing a special online edition of a newspaper where World War I is the topic of focus. They will also present their information in a news radio, or TV broadcast.

    Essential Question:

    1. In What ways does armed conflict affect a nation and it's people?

    Guiding Questions:

    1. What is the difference between a war of necessity and a war of choice, and which one was the US involved in     during WW I?

    2. What role did technology play in the devastation of World War I?

    3. Wilson stated in his War Message to Congress that the US needed to enter the war “...to protect the democracies of the world...”.  Did he fulfill this objective within the boarders of the US during the war?

    4. What events pushed the United States into war, and how are they linked?

    5. How does the US government go about paying for the war, and why would they do it this way?

    6. What is the impact of the Treaty of Versailles on European powers?

    7. Why did Wilson face an uphill battle to get Senate approval for the Treaty of Versailles?

    8. Why did Europe ignite into warfare after the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand?  

    9. What impact did World War I have on women and minorities in the United States?

    10. What was the influence of propaganda in World War I?

    Task Summary:

    Task One:  Students will research their assigned topic. Each student will write at least one major news story on his or her topic (Individual Grade).

    Task Two: In a group of four, students will produce newspaper pages for a special World War I issue using Pages Layout, or a document creator of their choice. Each student will contribute at least one major news story. Students should also include a graphic (photo, illustration, map, chart, graph) to support their article. (Individual & Group Grade)

    Task Three:  Students will prepare and present their news stories for a six o’clock radio, or TV news broadcast program. (Individual & Group Grade)


    Task Four:  Individually, students will write an additional article looking at conditions in Europe after the war.  How were the countries of Europe effected and are they still affected by the legacy of the Great War today?  Each student will examine the political, economic, and social structures of a particular country. (Individual Grade)

    Nation’s To Choose From:

    Britain, France, Russia, Germany, Italy, United States

    Task Five: As a take home Unit Test, each student will answer two of the Guiding Questions in essay form. (Individual Grade)


    Tasks One and Two:

    Divide the class into the following groups: 

    1.  Causes of the World War I (Long Term & Short Term)

    2.  Causes of United States Involvement

    3.  United States Conducting War, Financing War, & Enforced Loyalty during the War.

    4.  The Armistice and the Treaty of Versailles

    Referring to the attached list of people, places, terms and events, assign each student in a group a specific topic to research.  Each student will write a news article.  Each group is responsible for proofreading their articles and collecting graphics to illustrate their page(s).

    Task Three:

    The student groups will prepare and present a 5-10 minute radio, or TV news show based on their newspaper articles.  Each group is responsible for developing an informative and entertaining evening news broadcast. 

    Task Four:

    A follow-up activity is for each student to write an additional article looking at conditions in the United States after the war.  How is this country still affected by the legacy of The Great War?  Students should examine political, economic, and social structures in particular.

    Each student choose one of these areas:

    Civil Rights (Women & Minorities)IndustryCongressional Political

    Agriculture Presidential PoliticsInternational Relations


    Task Five:

    Each student will select two of the Guiding Questions to answerin essay form.  This can be used as a Unit Test.


    Standards Addressed:

    History/Social Science

    Analyze the causes and course of the First World War.

    Analyze the effects of the First World War.

    Language Arts

    Reading Comprehension (Focus on Informational Materials)

    Generate relevant questions about readings on issues that can be researched.

    Synthesize the content from several sources or works…paraphrase the ideas and connect them to other sources and related topics to demonstrate comprehension

    Writing Strategies

    Establish a controlling impression or coherent thesis that conveys a clear and distinctive perspective on the subject and maintain a consistent tone and focus throughout the piece of writing.

    Marshal evidence in support of a thesis and related claims, including information on all relevant perspectives

    Listening and Speaking Strategies

        Students formulate adroit judgments about oral communication.  They deliver focused and coherent presentations of their own that convey clear and distinct perspectives and solid reasoning.  They use gestures, tone, and vocabulary tailored to the audience and purpose.

    The Big Idea:

    What is the legacy of World War I?


    Keegan, John The First World War Alfred A. Knopf. New York. 1998

    Kennedy, David M. Over Here: The First World War and American Society Oxford University Press, US 2004

    Leuchtnburg, William E. The Perils of Prosperity: 1914-32 The university of Chicago Press. Chicago. 1958

    Marshall S.L.A. World War I The American Heritage Library, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston 1964

    Tucker, Spencer C. The Great War 1914-18 Indiana University Press, Bloomington & Indianapolis. 1998

    Textbook and other resource books (access to library)

    Internet Websites (You may use any site you can find, but make sure the site is credible)










    Guiding Question: Does economic trade equal an alliance?






    Task 1: News Article

    You are a newspaper reporter working for a large news organization during World War I.  Your publisher wants you to focus on the important events of World War I, with in-depth examinations of specific people and events that are pivotal in the outcome of the war.  You and your fellow reporters will work both individually and as a group to research the topics provided.

    Do some research to prepare an article about your topic.  Read in your text, look up information in other books, and search the Internet.  Take notes.  

    Your job is to write a thought-provoking article for the special Issue.  Explore your assigned topic thoroughly, with enough background information so someone unfamiliar with your topic will understand it.  Examine the varying viewpoints of those who were the leaders, and those who were led.   Who were the significant people involved and what were the significant events?  

    Task Two:  The Great War Newspaper.

    In your group of five, create one or more newspaper pages about the topic you studied.  Each page should give the total picture of your topic.  Be sure and focus on the economic, political, and social issues involved, but you may also include anything you believe relevant.

    Each member of the group must contribute at least one news story.  In addition, you should include a graphic (photo, illustration, map, chart, graph, etc.).  

    The page must be produced with Microsoft Publisher and include a title and list of contributing reporters.  Identify the author of each piece of writing.  Final pages will be shared with others.

    Remember, your publisher is counting on you to produce an award-winning special edition of his newspaper. 

    Your newspaper pages should be three columns wide, with a two-inch page Masthead on the first page.  Justify your columns; use only Times Roman (Size 10) for your news article text, and Tahoma (size 14) for your headlines.  (See example: Student Handout #7)

    Hint: For planning purposes 30 words in font size 10 would be about an inch long in a 2¼ inch wide column.

    Task Three:  The 6 O’clock Radio/TV Newscast.

    Your Publisher has just invested in a newly developed experimental radio/TV broadcasting station.  He feels that this is the wave of the future, so he wants to broadcast a special news program about World War I.  (Note: Since voice radio /TV broadcasting wasn’t actually developed until after World War I was over, it really couldn’t have happened until around 1928 for radio, and the late 1930s for TV.)

    In your group of four, create an evening news radio,TV show about the topic you studied.  Try to give the total picture of your topic as you feel it would be covered on the nightly news broadcast. To add interest to your broadcast you might include interviews with actual or fictitious persons, or use sound effects.

    Each member of the group must contribute at least one news story.

    Note: Including some period advertisements could add interest to the presentation.

    Task Four: (Follow-up)

    Your publisher is thrilled that the special issue generated a great deal of interest the effects of the war.  He wants you to write an additional article looking at conditions between 1920 and 1938 on an assigned issue after the war.  How is the United States still affected by the legacy of The Great War?  Examine political, economic, and social structures in particular.

    Your article should be at least 300-500 words.  Anyone who reads your article should clearly understand the successes and problems of your country today, and any issues leftover from World War I that still exist.  Be sure and note any significant events or people that have emerged since World War I affecting your country.

    Your notes from the previous tasks should be helpful, but you may need to do further research on the country.

    You will follow the Thesis Statement and Five Paragraph Essay format.

    You will be assigned to one of these issues:

    Civil Rights (Women & Minorities)    IndustryCongressional Politics

    Agriculture Presidential PoliticsInternational RelationsLabor

    Group News Topics

    Group 1 – The general causes of the World War I.

    A.Nationalism and Militarism prior to World War I

    B.Industrialism and Imperialism prior to World War I

    C.Triple Entente - The “Haves”

    D.Triple Alliance - The “Have Nots”

    E.The Dangers of Secret Treaties

    F. Assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand & Sophia

    Group 2 - Cause of United States Involvement in World War I

    A. Britain’s Naval Blockade

    B. Lusitania

    C. Sussex & Sussex Pledge

    D. Breaking the Sussex Pledge

    E. Zimmerman Telegram )Note)

    F. Russian Revolution

    G. Wilson’s War Message to Congress 4/2/1917

    H.    Brest-Litovsk Treaty

    Group 3 - United States Conducting War, Financing the War, and Enforcing Loyalty during the War.

    A.War Aims according to Wilson’s War Message

    B.Life in the Trenches (Trench Warfare)

    C.New Weapons: Tanks, airplanes, poison gas, machine gun, & submarine

    D. War Bond Drives & Taxes

    E. Committee on Public Information

    F.Loyalty Acts

        1. Trading With the Enemy Act

        2. Sedition Act

        3. Espionage Act

    a. Schenck vs U.S.

    Group 4 – The War Ends

    A.The breaking of the Hindenberg Line

    B.The Armistice

    C.Treaty of Versailles

    D.Reparation payments

    E.New Roles for Women in World War I

    F. Impact on U.S.