World War 1 Unit Plan

A Complete Unit Plan for World or US History in Middle School or High School

Both my US History and World History curricula have engaging units on World War 1. While both cover the causes, events, and effects of the war, the American History course will also focus on the war at home and America's role, while the World curriculum looks at the Russian Revolution and interwar era. 

No matter which course you teach, these World War 1 lessons will be fantastic for your middle school or high school students. 

You can download all the lesson plans and resources for the World War 1 unit here, or subscribe to Students of History to immediately access every lesson online.


The unit opens with an introductory lesson on World War I and the long term and immediate causes that led to it.  A thorough PowerPoints and guided notes (with Google Slides and "flipped classroom" video options also available) takes students through a broad overview of the war. There is also an amazing PowerPoint in full 3D that will amaze your students and make for a memorable lesson. 

Following one of these, there are several options available for students including an activity on new weapons of war, a webquest, a reading activity on the famous Christmas Truce, or a map analysis activity 

 The next lesson covers WW1 propaganda with an analysis activity using a variety of posters that students analyze. Next, students watch a video clip and complete a digital notebook activity to round out the lesson. 

The next day in the unit covers the 14 points and Treaty of Versailles. Students compare the two with a Venn Diagram before moving on to a 14 Points flags project or an interactive notebook activity on the Big 4.

For US History, the next lesson is on what the war was like in America, aka “at home.” Students watch a short video before completing a worksheet on the draft, rationing, and liberty bonds. Digital and paper interactive notebook activities are also available before completing the lesson with a reading worksheet using W.E.B. Du Bois' essay on returning soldiers.

 The next lesson has students compare the deadly Spanish flu with COVID-19. Students work together to review 24 primary source images, newspaper clippings, cartoons, ads, and placards. They then compare the 1918 pandemic to the coronavirus pandemic.

For World History, the unit moves on to the interwar era with a lesson on the Russian Revolution (with guided notes, Google Slides, & video), followed by a reading activity ” and the “Russian Revolution Image Analysis.”

The World unit closes off with a lesson on Interwar Asia with an in-depth PowerPoint (with guided notes), reading on Puyi (the last emperor of China), and an engaging activity on revolutionary leaders of the era like Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Sun Yat-sen, and others. A unit guide packet for World History can also be used here that ties the entire unit together.

There is a printable PDF or Google unit guide packet and digital notebook set that can be used throughout the unit for extension or remediation. 

The unit concludes with several review activities followed by an editable test, with editable Google Forms version for easy grading.

You can download most of the resources individually with the links above and also see reviews from teachers who have used them. You can download the entire unit here in a zip folder and have everything immediately saved to your desktop. You can also gain access to the unit through a subscription, which grants you access to the ENTIRE US History curriculum.

If you’re unsure which option might be best for you, you can read about the differences between subscriptions and TpT purchases here.

US History Units
World History Units