Hub Sites

Our Process
  Original Unit and
     Lesson Plan Organizer
  Sample Standards


National Digital Library
  Sample Workshop
  CGLi Web

National Curriculum Institute
  Learning Guide
  Previous Institutes

Units of Practice
  CCTT Units
  CGLi Units

PowerPoint Presentations

Yearly Summaries
  Year 1
  Year 2
  Year 3
  Year 4
  Year 5
  Final Report

Learning Interchange
Units of Practice

Evaluating Personal Loss in World War I Through Medical History

Lesson Details

Subjects: Science, Social Studies
Learning Level: High School
Author(s): Ellen Fairbairn and Heidi Olive
Submitted by:


Medical treatment in the early 20th century did not include the use of antibiotics for venereal diseases, infections, etc. Neither was the study of pathological origins of diseases as advanced as it would be in the latter half of the century. Soldiers died from simple bacterial-related illnesses more often than they did from wounds. The advent of gas and trench warfare accelerated casualties on both sides. Although the statistics of gas-related deaths and disabilities are available, not much has been studied as to how many civilian and veteran lives were impacted by illnesses and deaths from World War I, including the viral crisis of the Spanish Flu in 1918. Without the mass transport of soldiers from Europe to the U.S., how well could the virus spread? How many soldiers lived in poverty from their war-related injuries after the war? How many widows and orphans lives were turned upside down? What overall effects did human costs have in the next twenty years?

Lesson fundamental understandings:
Essential Questions:

The lesson will begin with a medical chart analysis of WWI maladies and treatments to illustrate the longer-term effects of global warfare. It is important to evaluate deaths and disabilities on a microscopic scale first to better grasp the bigger picture of a national crisis of millions suffering devastation and how it impacted the economy, social structure, and foreign policy.

* Students will gain an understanding of the awesome impact that warfare has on society in relation to: the individual (family unit), economy, society, politically, technologically.

Essential Question:
1. What are the costs of warfare and what generalizations can be made about the war (World War I)?
2. How did World War change American society?


National Standards

1. History Standard 3-D: Draw comparisons across eras and regions in order to define enduring issues as well as large-scale or long-term developments that transcend regional and temporal boundaries. 2. History Standard 4-B: Obtain historical data from a variety of sources, including: library and museum collections, historic sites, historical photos, journals, diaries, eyewitness accounts, newspapers, and the like; documentary films, oral testimony from living witnesses, censuses, tax records, city directories, statistical compilations, and economic indicators. 3. History Standard 4-C:Interrogate historical data by uncovering the social, political, and economic context in which it was created; testing the data source for its credibility,authority, authenticity, internal consistency and completeness; and detecting and evaluating bias, distortion, and propaganda by omission, suppression, or invention of facts. 4. History Standard 4-E: Employ quantitative analysis in order to explore such topics as changes in family size and composition, migration patterns, wealth distribution, and changes in the economy.

State Standards

1. Frame and evaluate historical questions from multiple viewpoints (History 2.12.1). 2. Integrate, analyze, and or organize historical information from a variety of resources. (History 2.13.3). 3. Analyze and interpret historical content from informational tools: charts diagrams graphs maps tablets 4. Describe the causes, course, character, and effects of World War I including: -imperialism -weapons and tactics. 5. Describe the causes, course, character, and effects of World War II: -legacy of World War I -United States changing world status.


Prerequisite Skills

This is lesson #4 of 6. The students will have basic computer skills and an acquaintance with Internet-based research and an ability to evaluate the accuracy and reliability of encountered works. The students will have high school reading ability (reading levels 6-12) and demonstrate analytical skills.

Teacher Information/Situations/Setting/Time

Time Frame- 2 days
Materials- computers for every 2 students and Internet access, Medical Chart worksheet and Long-Term Effects worksheet
Resources- see direction sheet for specific websites


Consider these points in the grading criteria:
1. Points will be awarded according to chart completion and an analysis on the Long-Term Effects worksheet. Students will be able to draw conclusions from their investigations, and support them with the data outlined on the answer sheet and from the web site.
2. Completeness and Accuracy-Excellent, Satisfactory, or Unsatisfactory.
3. Point value to be determined by individual instructors. (See attached sheets and URL listings)

Student Activity/Tasks

The following directions are listed on Worksheets attached:
*Log onto the website and then complete the chart where a blank has been left. Afterward complete the follow up questions by referring to the statistical data found at the second website.
Please note:
Worksheets are self explanatory and detailed further on the Powerpoint presentation in the introduction section of the unit.

Enrichment/Alternate Activity:

For further discussion, log on to the website"The Present-Day Signiificance of Fritz Haber", to discuss the goals of the German inventor of poison gas and his psychological desvastation after Germany's defeat. *Questions for guiding the discussion: 1.How did Fritz Haber internalize Germany's defeat? 2.Do you think that Fritz Haber's reaction was common to the German people? 3.What were the justifications presented for the use of /invention of poison gas? 4.What other technologies can you think of that are similar in impact to poison gas? (e.g.Timothy McVeigh modern connection) 5.Define what the psychological stigma to using baterial warfare presents itself in future wars.


Logic: deductive reasoning. Science: Scientific Method. Math: Analysis of statistical data and demographics. Forensics/Language Arts: Ability to explain to hypothesize and synthesize information.

Technology Requirements/Tools/Materials

1. Technology Requirements:
Students should have basic computer skills. Hopefully, they have used the Internet before to surf through specific websites for classroom activities. The individual instructor should plan some type of lesson or discussion which will clarify Internet reliability and the individuals site licenses available to access that information.

2. Technology Integration:
Students will utilize information available on Great War websites to coordinate classroom activities in order to complete charts, questions, and any enrichment activity the teacher sees fit to incorporate.


Medical Front website: This website will be used to complete the assignment. Many thanks to the site designer. We found it to be graphic, humorous and insightful.

Spartacus Educational.

Also see attached resource list to unit for more URL sites and resource information.

Additional Resources

Main URL:

Related Lessons

Related Resources

Diagnosis and Remedy Chart of the Great War
Medical Front Medical Chart Direction Sheet
Remedy Chart WWI Answer Key

Copyright 1997-2003
Career Connection to Teaching with Technology
USDOE Technology Innovation Challenge Grant
Marshall Ransom, Project Manager
All rights reserved.

Return to STEM Sites