First World War resources connect the past, present, and future

Issue: Volume 93, Number 20

Posted: 10 November 2014
Reference #: 1H9csK

The resources for Years 1–4 and 5–8 are the first in a series of inquiry guides in English, and resource packs in Māori, for Years 1–13 that come out between now and the end of September 2015.

The resources help students explore events and experiences of the First World War home front, the Pacific, and the battlefield by presenting a “hook” to get their inquiry into aspects of the war started. There are plenty of images, resources, and links to more information to help them go in whichever direction they want.

The guides pose some interesting and challenging questions for students in Years 5–8. How would a New Zealand woman have felt when her letter to her war hero sweetheart was returned to her unopened? What on earth did the state of soldiers’ teeth have to do with war? Why did some Māori refuse to fight for King and country? What if our tunnellers had the use of mobile phones to thwart the enemy?

In the Years 1–4 inquiry guide, donkeys’, pigeons’, and even a tortoise’s relevance to the war effort can be examined. Students can look at a portrait of a soldier and his young family and wonder how they might have felt seeing their father go off to war.

Each guide explores a different aspect of the First World War and can be used for any learning area in the curriculum. They can be used in any order and adapted to suit learner interest, a whole-school focus or a specific event.

The guides are indeed about the war as a very poignant historic event in our history, but very cleverly make links and parallels with our lives today. One example is social bullying. Being handed a white feather – a symbol of cowardice – by a young woman was the ultimate in humiliation for men during this time. Students are asked to think about how social bullying occurs today. There’s also a place for exploring wider civic issues such as peace, reconciliation, rights, and responsibilities.

A companion inquiry support guide for teachers of Years 1–8 gives more information on each stage of the inquiry process and links to more resources. An inquiry support guide for teachers of Years 9–13 will be available by the end of the year.

The inquiry guides and resource packs are being developed in partnership with the National Library of New Zealand Services to Schools and with input from teachers and the WW100 Programme Office.

Look out for the next available resources – Māori-medium resource packs for Years 5-8 and 9-10

Resources are on the TKI website(external link)

Auckland school teacher Sergeant Francis and his family in 1917

42-year-old Auckland school teacher Sergeant Francis and his family in 1917. The boy wears his father’s 4th (Waikato) Mounted Rifles hat. A quick search using his name in the Auckland Museum’s Cenotaph database  ( found that around three months after this photo was taken, Sergeant Francis was killed on the battlefield in France. He was one of nearly 200 school teachers who died in the war. He is buried near Messines. Photograph by Herman Schmidt, ca 1914–1918. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries. 31-2609.

Members of the Māori Pioneer Battalion perform a haka in 1918

Members of the Māori Pioneer Battalion perform a haka in 1918. Around 2500 Māori soldiers fought during the war and 366 were killed. One Pākehā officer wrote “they (Māori) are amongst the best bayonet fighters in the world, and they are perfect sentries. As trench fighters, you can’t beat them.” Photograph taken by Henry Armytage Sanders, 30 June 1918. Alexander Turnbull Library Ref: 1/2-013282-G.

Links to more information and resources about the first world war

First World War themed school journals:

School Journal(external link) 
Junior Journal(external link) 
NZ'S first world war centenary(external link) 
Services to schools(external link) 
Learn alongside a French school through the Shared Histories project(external link)
New Zealand history(external link) 
A guide to ANZAC days for NZer's(external link) 

Set up a Field of Remembrance in time for ANZAC Day 2015 in your school or community. There was an item in the bulletin about this on 13 October. Find out more on the Fields of Remembrance Trust website(external link)

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 2:11 pm, 10 November 2014

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