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Causes of WW1 Jonathan Christink Course CHC2D Unit 1 1914-1929


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									                                          Causes of WW1

                                        Jonathan Christink

Course: CHC2D

Unit 1: 1914-1929

Specific Expectations

Canada’s Participation in War, Peace, and Security
   1) Explain how Canada became involved in World War I and World War II after
      researching the causes of the two wars.
   2) Describe Canada’s and Canadians’ contributions to the war effort overseas during WW1
      and WW2.

Key Learning

Students will understand that there is rarely a singular cause for an event; most often causality is
layered and multiple. WW1 is a prime example of multiple determinants at work.

Critical Challenge

Rank order the two most significant causes of WW1. This critical challenge is a critique the

Intellectual Tools

Background Knowledge

To complete the critical challenge students will need to thoroughly understand the direct and
indirect causes of WW1. That is, they will need to understand the assassination of Franz
Ferdinand and the MAIN causes of WW1: militarism, alliances, imperialism, and nationalism.
For each MAIN cause students need to know the five W's: who, what, where, when, and why.
For militarism for example, students need to know who was involved, what acts of militarism
were performed, and where, when, and why these acts were performed.

Criteria for Judgment

Students are asked to rank order the two most significant causes for WW1. Therefore, they must
have criteria for judging significance. Students will use the following criteria to judge
significance -1) Prominence at the time- To what extent was the event important at the time of its
happening? 2) Consequences: What was the magnitude of the impact? What changes resulted?
Did it affect a few people or many? What was the lasting nature of the impact?
Critical Thinking Vocabulary

It is important that students have a firm grasp of what “evidence” is for this task. Evidence is the
data used to make a judgment or draw a conclusion. The importance of making judgments
regarding significance based on evidence will be discussed when students are presented with an
exemplar of the activity.

Habit of Mind

Critical mindedness is a crucial habit of mind for this activity. It is the willingness to evaluate
information when it is important to do so.

Dimension of Historical Thinking

Historical Significance: Thinking about significance helps students learn how decisions
regarding what to report and study in history are made, and then realize that these decisions are
open to review.

Lesson Agenda

   1)   Opening activity related to judging the significance of the causes of WW1 (mental set)
   2)   Explain lesson activity and how it is important for the culminating unit assessment
   3)   Short lecture on causes of WW1
   4)   Guided practice
   5)   Independent practice
   6)   Closing

Lesson Outline

   1) Mental Set (15 min)

The teacher will use the instructional strategy “think/pair/share” and ask the following to the
class: “What is the difference between a direct and indirect cause?” Students’ thoughts and
opinions will be briefly discussed as a class. Afterwards the teacher will clearly distinguish
between these two causes for the class.

Direct cause: Action or force that is the immediate or primary agent leading to a certain outcome.

Indirect cause: Implicitly related, but not presented as a direct effect or consequence.

Students will engage in “think/pair/share” again as the teacher poses the question, “How do we
judge the significance of a cause?” The teacher will take up a handful of student answers and
then explain the criteria for significance they will use in the subsequent lesson (affirming to
students’ that this criterion is not necessarily the “right” criteria, but merely the criteria we will
use for the days lesson).
Criteria for significance: 1) Prominence at the time- to what extent was the event important at the
time of its happening. 2) Consequences- What was the magnitude of the impact? What changes
resulted? How many people were affected? What areas of life were impacted?

At this time students are given two handouts. The first handout includes definitions for direct and
indirect causes, as well as the criteria for judging significance (appendix A). The second handout
is a short narrative entitled, “The Story of Casey.” Students will be instructed to work in their
desk groups (class is already structured with four desks grouped together throughout the room)
and read the narrative and work together to answer three questions (appendix B). The teacher
will roam the room as groups attempt to answer the questions, and provide further clarification
for students where there is need.

The teacher will take up several group responses as a class and highlight the many different
responses that can arise when asked to rank order the significant causes of an event. A direct link
will be made between “The Story of Casey” activity and the topic that the class will be exploring
that day: causes of WW1. A sample explanation connecting these two activities is outlined

“In groups you just differentiated between the direct and indirect causes of Casey’s car accident.
You also rank ordered the two most significant causes based on the criteria in the handout. Every
group rank ordered the causes of Casey’s car accident differently. Today we are going to do a
similar activity. We are going to examine the causes of WW1. We are going to answer the same
three questions that we answered for Casey’s car accident, but for the causes of WW1. Your
primary critical challenge today is the third question in Casey’s narrative, rank order the two
most significant causes of WW1. Let’s see if we arrive at a consensus regarding the two most
significant causes of WW1 or if there are diverse opinions on the matter (relating back to key

   2) Lesson Activity and Relation to Culminating Unit Assessment (5min)

Next the teacher will inform students of the lesson activity and its relevance to the unit

   1) “Following a mini-lecture about the causes of WW1 you are going to work in your desk
      groups and answer the three questions you answered for Casey’s narrative. You will
      have 45 minutes to answer the questions in your groups using your text-book, a
      secondary source (see appendix C), and a primary document (appendix D). When you
      rank order the significance of the causes you must provide a reason for where you place
      them (may or may not be in point-form). A model assignment will be shown during the
      short teaching and further instruction provided at that time.”

   2) “The second component of the lesson activity, which I will explain in more detail shortly,
      will be to individually label a map of Europe during WW1. You will need to label all the
       major powers within Europe during WW1 highlighting in a unique way (ex. color
       coating) the alliances between countries. The outline of a map will be provided for you.
       A model map will be shown during the short teaching and further instruction provided at
       that time.”

Relevance to the unit assessment: “This activity is important because understanding the causes of
WW1 will provide you with material for the creation of the 2-page newspaper spread that is your
culminating activity for the unit. You will be able to incorporate your understanding of the
causes of WW1 into your 2-page newspaper spread in any way that you would like. In the same
way, the map that you complete in this lesson may or may not be something you wish to use in
your newspaper spread. A map is a great illustration that can provide further understanding of a
topic, and can help in a newspaper spread regarding WW1.”

   3) Short Lecture (20 min)

Following a detailed description of the lesson assignment and its relevance the teacher will use
an overhead projector to show a map of Europe during WW1. The purpose of showing the map
is to show the major powers and alliances within WW1 Europe with special note of the
geography of each country. A second purpose is to model for students the second component of
the lesson activity they will complete throughout the class (appendix E). Each European country
involved in the war is mentioned and the alliances between countries are discussed. The treaties
below will receive brief mentioning with reference to the projected map for students to view how
geography is relevant to the alliances made in the war (teacher will not enter into great detail
here in order for students to do more thorough investigations on their own).

               The Three Emperor’s League and Dual Alliance: Austria-Hungary (A-H),
               Germany, and Russia
               The Triple Alliance: A-H, Germany, and Italy-provision for military assistance
               Secret Alliance: France and Italy
               Franco-Russian Agreement: France and Russia-provision for military assistance
               Britain and Japan Military Alliance-prevent German colonialism in the East
               Entente Cordial: Britain and France-stronger diplomatic relations
               Anglo-Russian Entente: Britain and Russia

The MAIN causes of WW1 will be identified for students, and the death of Franz Ferdinand will
be discussed momentarily. These issues and events will only be briefly touched upon so that
students have a mental framework for then researching the issues in the text, secondary source,
and primary document for themselves.

Students will be presented a model of the primary lesson assignment (appendix F). The exemplar
will be described in detail for students to ensure they know exactly what is being asked of them.
They will be provided with an assignment sheet that will serve as a template for structuring their
note-taking (Appendix G). Each group will record the 5W’s for two of the MAIN causes of war
they believe are the most significant. Teacher will recommend that groups assign 1 W question
to each group member to foster accountability, and then the group work together on the
remaining question(s). The importance of making judgments regarding significance based on
evidence will be discussed. Examples of evidence will be highlighted throughout the debriefing
of the exemplar to give students’ greater understanding of the term and how to incorporate good
evidence into their responses.

   4) Guided Practice (45 min + 10min for presentations)

Instructions for the primary lesson and map activity will be given again with emphasis on the
purpose of the assignment (see lesson activity section). Students’ will be given handouts for the
primary lesson first: secondary source, primary document, and assignment template. The teacher
will roam the room and check for understanding while students organize in groups, read, and
answer the questions.

Subsequent the group activity students will collectively come together and each group will report
their answers to the entire class. The class will be prompted to examine the diversity and/or
similarity in group responses.

   5) Independent Practice (10 min)

Students will receive the outline for the map of WW1 Europe and independently label each
country as well as identify the alliances between countries in a unique way (ex. color coating).
Following independent completion of the map, the class will view the overhead of the European
map which will be projected again, but this time it will be covered. The teacher will slowly
reveal countries as students are able to name them. Students will also be asked to report the
alliances between countries as they are revealed to check for understanding.

   6) Closing (5 min)

“Today we learned that there is rarely a singular cause for an event; most often causality is
layered and multiple. WW1 is a prime example of multiple determinants at work. The
assassination of Franz Ferdinand is a clear direct cause of WW1 while MAIN encompasses the
indirect causes of the war. The significance of the causes for WW1 is open to interpretation, and
by looking at different pieces of evidence an individual can present a convincing argument for
anyone of these multiple causes.”

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