Helping on the Homefront: How Americans Responded during World War 1

Lisa Maples, K-5 STREAM, Elon Park Elementary

Curriculum Unit (PDF)


In this unit, students will explore the responses to World War I that people had in America and in Belgium from 1917 – 1919 and before the USA declared war from 1914-1917. This inquiry unit is based on the essential question, “How did people contribute to the war effort or to war mobilization and respond in America to the changes that occurred during WWI?” Using primary and secondary sources, students will study the responses of the American people to the WWI Effort. They will examine the impact that World War I had on everyday life in America including how women went to work in public or voluntary jobs and how school children and adults conserved and created food and materials. Their food conservation efforts provided more supplies to send to the war front in Europe and to Humanitarian Relief through Herbert Hoover’s Belgian Relief Fund.

Students will explore messages to Americans who would have lived in 1917-1919 through propaganda posters created during WWI by the US Government. The posters encouraged volunteering to help on the homefront and to conserve food. They will read an article about Farmerettes, a portion of an essay by a teacher, a U.S. School Garden manual produced by the US Government, letters from Belgian children to Americans and a picture book about how the poppy flower became popular as a way to pay tribute to soldiers who had valiantly served their country. They will respond in a variety of digital formats such as Google Jamboard, Google Drawings, Google Slides, Flipgrid videos, Scratch coding program and Makey Makey kits.