Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales
painting by Katie Bergenholtz

World War I, Hands-On Style

I wanted the boys to get enough of the sense of WWI to be able to play old-fashioned boys' games. So, I showed them lots of games they could play and taught them how they related to WWI.

We talked about the role both boats and submarines played in the war. We then made paper boats and power boats made from milk/oj cartons and balloons, so they could play out their own battles. We experimented with buoyancy and made submarines out of Gatorade bottles, stones, baking soda, baking powder and vinegar and floated them in an aquarium.




We talked about trench warfare and then I tried to get them the feel of it by making mousetrap trench bombers (catapults really, but we have imaginations) but the arc of the marshmallow ammo was too low. They had fun anyway, and that was my original purpose, so I was happy.



They began calling the ammo, "whammo."

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There were some bugs to work out.

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It is nice when your whammo can also be used as a snack.
Next, I made up a tabletop game with a checkerboard, stones, dice and green, plastic army men. If you would like to play, get a chess or checkerboard and put a stone or marker in each square of the two middle rows. This is the "No-man's Land," or the space between the trenches. Each side can now set up their army men anywhere they wish. The first row behind the stones on either side is the trenches, and men are safe from being hit there. Once set up, each side takes turn making two moves for each round. A turn can consist of either: 1) moving a man one square in any direction, or 2) deciding which man is firing and rolling a die to see where his weapon hit (did you hit a man on the other side? If so, that man is removed from the game.) or 3)moving the trench line one row. To win one side has to either trap their opponent behind the trench line so that they cannot move or to eliminate their opponent's men.
After a brief and simple explanation of the beginnings of WWI, we showed the kids how to make paper airplanes. They chose from a hat the insignias of the various countries involved, found the country on a map and determined what side they were on. They added the insignias to their airplanes.

Lastly, I used a portion of the Zimmerman Telegram and had them be cypher-breakers. Through this they learned about Germany approaching the Mexican government with a proposal for military alliance; Germany's offer to give Mexico material aid in the reclamation of territory lost during the Mexican-American War. This telegram, which was intercepted, and decoded, led to America being drawn into the war.

These activities not only gave them some basic knowledge of WWI, but also gave them lots of information and skills to use in their play.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you linked this in your last post. This'll be fun to keep for next time around.

    ReplyDelete

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