WWI Propaganda

Grade Levels: 5 - 8


  • Students will use traditional and Internet resources.
  • Students will make judgments about information found online.
  • Students will create a visual and/or auditory presentation comparing propaganda from World War I and today.
  • Students will write a bibliography.



  1. Define propaganda and give examples of the most five popular techniques used by advertisers.
    • Bandwagon: persuading people to do something by letting them know others are doing it.
    • Testimonial: using the words of a famous person to persuade.
    • Transfer: using the names or pictures of famous people, but not direct quotations.
    • Repetition: the product name is repeated at least four times.
    • Emotional words: words that will make people feel strongly about someone or something.
  2. Discuss how propaganda techniques affect our lives every day.
  3. Point out that propaganda was used in posters and postcards during World War I.
  4. Explain that students will be doing research to find examples of propaganda used both in World War I and today.
  5. Brainstorm with students a list of resources that they might use for this purpose. (For example, books, Internet, television, radio, encyclopedias.)
  6. Have students develop a list of questions about how and why propaganda was used to persuade people in World War I. Then write similar questions for current propaganda techniques.
  7. Help students to begin to look for similarities and differences.
  8. Ask volunteers to record these questions on chart paper and have students refer to them as they are doing their research.
  9. Encourage students to use as many resources as possible to find the answers to their questions.
  10. Ask students to organize their information and create a project that compares how propaganda has been used in the past with how it is currently used.
    Some ideas include:
    • A collage of posters from World War I and magazine advertisements from today.
    • Taped recordings of speeches or leaflets from World War I and recordings of radio commercials from today.
    • A reenactment of the use of propaganda in an event from World War I and in an event from modern times.
  11. To show that their work is authentic, students should create a bibliography. Distribute the bibliography handout. As students share their examples of propaganda, ask them to tell what effects these examples had on the people who viewed them.


Use the following rubric for evaluating students' ability to complete this lesson.

4 – Exemplary


  • navigates the Internet quickly and efficiently.
  • evaluates online information accurately.
  • produces a creative, well-organized, and complete propaganda project.

3 – Competent


  • navigates the Internet with very few problems.
  • evaluates online information with occasional prompting.
  • develops an accurate, but not thorough, propaganda project.

2 – Developing


  • can navigate within a site, once a specific site is reached.
  • needs guidance to evaluate online information.
  • creates a propaganda project that is short on detail or poorly organized.

1 – Emerging


  • demonstrates enthusiasm about the Internet.
  • can perform simple navigational strategies.
  • needs guidance to stay on task.
  • experiences difficulty producing a propaganda project independently.

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