Our full day workshop is designed to be an immersive experience for pupils and teachers alike to help you to teach about WW1 in your primary school in a fun and memorable way. Centred around a WW1 timeline to firmly consolidate pupils' chronological knowledge, pupils are taken on a journey through the life of a WW1 soldier in the comfort of your school, with no added costs for transport or out-of-school risk assessments.
The following itinerary details the workshop in its current state, although we do plan to add further modules in the near future on entitled 'Women in WW1' and the 'Animals in WW1' among others, so keep checking back or contact us here for updates.
As all primary teachers know, pupils' chronological understanding of historical events is a hot topic at the moment with the introduction of the new National Curriculum and our fun, interactive timeline ensures that this is at the heart of our WW1 workshop.
Pupils start by assembling a series of dates themselves, ranging from the usual WW1 events such as the Battle of the Somme and the use of the first tanks, but also including some quirkier facts such as the French pigeon that lost its home, and the first dogfight that involved nothing more than a fist-shake!
Each card of then held up and brought to life with anecdotes, a little bit of pupil acting and the use of fun props to make every date truly memorable for the pupils.
'A SOLDIER'S LIFE'
While the popular image of the WW1 soldier is of a man huddled in mud in a trench before going 'over the top', the reality was that a lot of a soldier's life was spent on the more mundane activities associated with day-to-daylife in the trenches.
In this activity, we unload a WW1 soldier's kit bag, as used by Richard Donaldson (the man who inspired the workshop) to find out exactly what life was like in 1914-1918 for many soldiers.
After an examination of eating habits, sanitary care and a soldier's uniform, pupils learn how to put on 'puttees' which were the bandages around the legs of all soldiers, and try the method themselves with their own puttees, getting as close to what it must have been like to be a WW1 soldier as possible without actually sitting in a muddy trench!
WW1 FIRST AID
A key part of Richard Donaldson's role as a WW1 stretcher bearer was of course first aid and in this activity we look at exactly what that role would have entailed.
Firstly, we look at the contents of his first aid bag, including period scissors, bandages, training equipment and even a bar of chocolate for giving to injured soldiers to get their energy up!
We then move on to looking at a genuine WW1 stretcher and have a go at carrying it around the hall to see exactly how difficult it was to manoeuvre. The activity then concludes with pupils learning a range of genuine WW1 bandaging methods from a real WW1 primary source, which pupils try on each other using triangular bandages.
A WW1 workshop simply wouldn't be the same without a marching activity, and ours is an essential part of our workshop, which takes pupils back to the many hours of drilling and marching featured in every soldier's basic training during WW1.
Starting with an explanation of the key non-armed commands (i.e. without our broomstick rifle) such as 'Atten-shun!' and 'Aaaat-ease!', pupils then gather their (broomstick) rifles for some discplined armed drill, learning to cope with the difficulties of marching in time with their classroom comrades.
The class is then split into groups to practice the drill on their own before coming together for a final salute and a sing-song of pack up your troubles (click here for video of this being sung in one of our workshops).