World War I to Great Depression


Objective of Defending Army



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Objective of Defending Army

Stop the assaulting army from taking your trench (capturing your flag) by hitting them with paper balls.


Rules for Defending Army

  1. Machine gunners will be the only students in the “firing trench.” All others are to be in the “cover trench.”

  2. After the assaulting army begins its artillery barrage, your General has the option of either returning artillery fire right away or waiting until the assault begins.

  3. After the enemy artillery barrage ends you will be commanded by your General to go to the “firing trench” and wait for the assault that will be coming.

  4. You CANNOT fire on the enemy until you are commanded to do so by your General or you will be disqualified.

  5. Machine Gunners:

    1. You can only fire in DEFENSE.

    2. You can use 1 box of 30 paper balls for ammunition

  6. Artillerists:

    1. You may only fire upon receiving orders from your General.

    2. You will remain artillerists during the entire activity.

    3. Use the boxes with the large balls as ammunition.

  1. Infantrymen:

    1. The rest of the students on your side are considered infantrymen.

    2. You each get 3 balls of paper as ammunition to throw at the enemy.

  2. Casualties: If a paper ball hits you, you are considered a casualty and must lie down until the assault is over.

Optional Assaults:

  1. Gas Attack (best done during the artillery barrage):

  1. Use the yellow paper balls or a fog machine to simulate poison gas. Student wear the surgical masks as a mock gas mask. Have them keep the masks in their pockets initially.

  2. Throw the yellow balls into the trenches (or engage the fog machine).

  3. To survive, students must put on their gas mask correctly within 5 seconds.

  4. Interject information about the physical effects of chlorine gas.

  5. Point out those students who failed to wear their gas masks correctly.

  1. Night Assault:

  1. Cover windows to decrease light (ensure enough light for safety reasons).

  2. Tell the Assaulting Army General order troops sneak across “no-mans-land” in order to surprise the defending army and gain the tactical advantage.

  3. Discuss life in the trenches at night (i.e. rats, roaches, artillery barrages, etc.)

  4. The defending army cannot start to fire until the “flares” (a flashlight) go off and light the battlefield.

  5. When the assaulting army has crawled into “no-mans-land,” turn on the “flare.”

  6. Have the lights flicker and flash to simulate gunfire.

Trench Warfare Worksheet


  1. Describe a soldier’s life in the trenches.


  1. In trench fighting, how did a battle progress?


  1. In what ways were soldiers wounded / killed in trench warfare?


  1. Describe the advantage of a machine gun over a single-shot rifle.


  1. Define “stalemate.”


WWI Machine Gun Picture

WWI Artillery Picture

Teacher Lesson Plan Warehouse© Trench Warfare, Page




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