Beacon Lesson Plan Library
U.S. Enters WW I
DescriptionStudents will be able to process a variety of information on the reasons for the U.S. entry into W.W. I. They will be asked to discuss the material, as well as to complete a set of questions on the subject.
ObjectivesThe student understands significant events leading up to the United States involvement in World War I and the political, social, and economic results of that conflict in Europe and the United States.
Materials-WORLD HISTORY THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE. New York: Glencoe McGraw-Hill, 2001. (or comparable text)
- Access to copy machine
- List of questions on World War I (See attached file.)
Preparations1. Read text Chapter 28 (or appropriate chapter).
2. Look through the procedure listing and make sure you are familiar with the terms listed within.
3. Make class copies of attached handout .
Procedures1. Have students read chapter 28 in text (or comparable chapter from another text) the night before the lesson.
2. Review with the students the causes for Europe plunging into war in 1914.
3. Put student responses on the board. These responses should include the following: a system of alliances and treaties, nationalism, militarism, imperialism, yellow journalism, rivalries, and the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand.
4. Ask students to break each reason for war into one of the following categories: political, social, and economic. Some responses may fit more than one category.
5. Have class discussion of these responses.
6. Review with the class the definitions for an underlying cause and an immediate cause. All of the causes listed in #3 are underlying except the latter, which is the immediate cause for World War I.
7. Ask students, “Are the reasons for US involvement in the war the same as the reasons Europe went to war?”
8. Ask students to list the reasons why the US went to war in 1917. Also ask the students to break the US reasons into one of the following categories: political, social, and economic. Some responses may fit more than one category.
9. Put the student responses on the board. These responses should include the following: German Submarine policy in 1915, Sinking of the Lusitania, Zimmerman Telegram, nationalism, and resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare by Germany in 1917.
10. Discuss the student responses.
11. Ask students, “Which of these listed on the board was the immediate cause for US entry into the War?” The answer is the latter from the list in #9.
12. Discuss this immediate cause with the class. Ask students, “In your opinion was this action by Germany provocative enough to bring our nation into this war?”
13. Discuss student responses. Since many students will jump on the band wagon, it is important that the teacher play the devil’s advocate to whatever opinion the students present. This only needs to be done for a short time in order to make the students fully defend their opinions.
14. Ask the students, “Are their alternatives to war in this case, if so what are they?”
15. List alternatives on the board.
16. Discuss these alternatives with the class.
17. Once the discussion has ended, assign the questions that are enclosed
18. Teacher evaluates students' responses to questions.
Assessments1. Students will be graded on their answers to the series of short answer questions provided.
2. The teacher can also informally evaluate the students by encouraging class participation and discussion by as many students as possible.
Attached FilesThe list of short answer questions on the U.S. involvement in World War I File Extension: pdf
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