Activities

Make Your Own World War I Infographic

Guiding Question:

How can students synthesize information from the written narrative, maps, and statistics of the American Battle Monument Commission’s American Armies and Battlefields in Europe to build an argument about contributions made by the United States to the outcome of World War I?

Overview:

Using statistics from the American Battle Monument Commission’s (ABMC) American Armies and Battlefields in Europe (Blue Book), students will first analyze a sample infographic and then build their own. The process includes developing an essential question about World War I (WWI) and answering it using maps and statistics from the Blue Book. Finally, students will use Piktochart to create an infographic explaining their answers to the questions.

Activity

Historical Context

The Meuse-Argonne Offensive took place on the Western Front of WWI between September 26, 1918 and the Armistice of November 11, 1918. It was one of the largest military offensives in U.S. history with 1.2 million U.S. troops involved. By this time, both sides of the war had lost staggering numbers of troops and were facing financial ruin. With its entrance into the war in 1917, the United States provided much-needed military and financial support for the Allies.

Objectives

At the conclusion of this lesson, students will be able to

  • Synthesize information from narratives, maps, and statistics;
  • Build an argument about the United States’ contribution to WWI; and
  • Create an infographic using the web application Piktochart (or other infographic software) to demonstrate their arguments.

Standards Connections

Connections to Common Core
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear among the key details and ideas.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.

Connections to C3 Framework
D2.His.10.9-12. Detect possible limitations in various kinds of historical evidence and differing secondary interpretations.
D2.His.12.9-12. Detect possible limitations in various kinds of historical evidence and differing secondary interpretations.
D2.His.14.9-12. Analyze multiple and complex causes and effects on events in the past.
D2.His.15.9-12. Integrate evidence from multiple relevant historical sources and interpretations into a reasoned argument about the past.

Materials

Lesson Preparation

Procedure

Activity One: Anticipatory Set (20 minutes)

  • Project the infographic, “The Meuse-Argonne Cemetery: How does it honor American soldiers?” as an example of an infographic made using resources available in the Blue Book and elsewhere.
  • Have students explore the infographic. Note how the infographic poses and answers a question and incorporates statistics, visuals, and facts to support the answer.
    • Teacher Tip: Note that infographics often have more utility on the web than when printed. In this infographic, for example, hovering the mouse over certain graphics provides additional information.
  • Have students identify the question that it poses and the various pieces of evidence that are used to support it.
  • Critique the infographic by asking students:
    • What other information might be helpful?
    • What does it do well?

Activity Two: Creating a WWI Infographic (70 minutes)

  • Have students choose or develop a question about WWI.
    • Teacher Tip: Students will be more successful with narrowly focused questions. Some possible questions based on resources available in the Blue Book are:
      • How much did the United States contribute to the war in terms of military strength?
      • How quickly was the United States able to join the fight?
      • How did the Meuse-Argonne Offensive impact the outcome of the war?
      • How much economic strength did the United States contribute to the war?
  • Have students choose appropriate statistics from the Blue Book to incorporate into their infographic. Students should aim for a combination of three graphs or statistics to share that will help readers answer their question.
  • Have students use the WWI Infographic Planning Sheet to make sure students have what they need before they begin to work online.
  • Direct students to develop a thesis, or answer, to their question, based on the evidence they have found.
  • Log in to Piktochart, and have each student create an account. Students may choose a theme they feel is appropriate for their question and label their infographic with the question they would like to answer.
    • Teacher Tip: If unfamiliar with Piktochart, students should watch the YouTube tutorial on how to create a Piktochart infographic. This is a very thorough tutorial created by Secondary Solutions that explains how to use Piktochart in the classroom.
  • Have students build their infographics, incorporating their questions, statistics, and theses. Images and maps could also be used to support their theses.
    • Teacher Tip: Have students share their infographics with each other via a course website, Google Classroom, or printed bulletin board.

Assessment Materials

Methods for Extension

  • Students could develop their infographics into Document-Based Questions (DBQs) as the basis for a future activity.
  • Students could work on answering each other’s questions as practice DBQs.

Adaptations

  • The teacher could pre-select a number of sources from the Blue Book to help students develop questions. Statistics are found in Chapter XIV, pages 495-517.
  • Depending on time limitations, this lesson may be spread out over more than one class period.

Sources

Return to Activity

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources