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Vocabulary Building

Lesson Details

Subjects: English/Language Arts, Social Studies, English/Languages Arts
Learning Level: High School
Author(s): Ellen Fairbairn and Heidi Olivé
Submitted by:


With an understanding of key terms and vocabulary, students will have a greater understanding of the unit as a whole. Students need to become familiar with the significant individuals, the "3-isms" (militarism, imperialism and nationalism) and the elaborate alliance system existing in world affairs prior to 1914 to follow the events leading into World War I.

Lesson fundamental understandings:
Essential Questions:

The students will understand:
The assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand created a domino effect that led to an all out war between the world powers. The key political figures at this time were related by birth or marriage and their national interests and personal motives led to the war's escalation. Imperialism, militarism and nationalism were key factors in World War I.

Essential Questions:
1. How do alliances determine the extent of warfare?
2. How did familial ties (royal families) contribute to warfare in much of European history, including WWI?


National Standards

1. History Standard 3-A: Compare and contrast differing sets of ideas, values, personalities, behaviors,and institutions by identifying likenesses and differences. 2. History Standard 3-C: C. Analyze cause-and-effect relationships bearing in mind multiple causation including (a) the importance of the individual in history; (b) the influence of ideas,human interests, and beliefs; and (c) the role of chance, the accidental and the irrational. 3. History Standard Era 7-The Emergence of Modern America 1890-1930-Standard 2: Explain the causes of World War I in 1914 and the reasons for the declaration of United States neutrality. [Identify issues and problems in the past].

State Standards

1. Standard 2.0: History Skills: Students will use social studies vocabulary and concepts to engage in inquiry, in researchin analysis, and in decision making. 2.History 2.12.1: Frame and evaluate historical questions from multiple viewpoints. 3. History Standard 7.0: 1860 to 1920: Students understand the importance and impact of political, economic, and social ideas. 4. History 7.12.17: Describe the causes, course, character, and effects of World War I, including: · imperialism · arms race and alliances · nationalism · weapons/tactics · Fourteen Points · Treaty of Versailles 4. History 8.12.6: Describe the causes, course, character, and effects of World War II including: -legacy of World War I. 5. Standard Reading 1.4.4: Use dictionaries and glossaries to determine the meanings and other features of unknown words and derivations of words. 6. Standard Reading 1.4.5: Use knowledge of vocabulary and context clues to determine meanings of unknown words.


Prerequisite Skills

This is lesson #1 of 6. 1. Students should have the ability to search the text glossary and related chapters in order to define terms and identify people which are listed in PowerPoint presentation on World War I. 2. Students utilizing the internet in lue of a textbook should have basic research skills.

Teacher Information/Situations/Setting/Time

Time: 1 class period (approximately 50 minutes)
Setting: regular classroom or computer lab setting
Resources/Materials: World history or U.S. history textbooks and/or a list of appropriate research sites.


Teachers should consider the following in their grading criteria:
1. Students will be awarded points based on their ability to correctly define the 23 key terms/ vocabulary words given to them.
2. The format which students will place their defined words should be designated by the instructor.
3. Students can extend vocabulary meaning through use of additional activities (see extension activities).

Student Activity/Tasks

1. Students will read the chapters related to World War I and then complete the vocabulary list(See PowerPoint presentation for the list of 23 terms/words/key people).
2. Students can utilize other outside resources. (see unit acknowledgements for resource information).
3. Students should be allowed 1 class period (approximately 50 minutes), any additional time required should be done at home. The purpose of the terms/words/key people is to provide the student with the pre-knowledge necessary to understanding the causes of World War I.

Enrichment/Alternate Activity:

These enrichment activities have been field tested and are a productive means of reinforcing vocabulary with tactile learners. 1. Instructor may opt to quiz students on their comprehension of the vocabulary/key terms with the use of a B.I.N.G.O. type game. students will be given the opportunity to select 16 terms of the 23 given. Students will create their own B.I.N.G.O. board 4 across and 4 long (16 total squares). The instructor will randomly select terms. Instructor will read the definition without stating the key term/vocabulary word. Students will mark the appropriate box based on their comprehension of terms. (This is also a great review technique). 2. ELL students or Special Education Students can be given the opportunity to to visualize these terms with the following activity: students should be given a 3x 5 card for each term. students will be instructed to place the term on one side of the card and the definition on the other side. On the side of the term students will be given the opportunity to either use the Internet or Encyclopedia Books to find picture of these terms and or key people.


English/Language Arts Technology (optional-depending on application of extension activities)

Technology Requirements/Tools/Materials

This will depend on the individualized instructors extention of vocabulary activities. If utilizing the Internet, it will be necessary for the students to have Internet access.
-Please see the attached list of URL's on the unit overview for suggested sites.


The following list of sites were beneficial starting points for the research of these vocabulary terms. Look on these sites under personalities or in the biography sections.

1. The History Channel
2. www.aetv.com
3. www.thegreatwar.org
4. www.yahooligans.com - this site is great for pictures-go to subjects, then click on social studies and then click on important people
5. Any standardized History and or World History text.

Additional Resources

Main URL

Related Lessons

Related Resources

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