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Propaganda and its effects on WWI

Main Core Tie

Social Studies - 6th Grade
Standard 4 Objective 1

Time Frame

1 class periods of 30 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups


Emily Olaya


Propaganda had a large effect on opinions during World War One. This lesson is to introduce students to what propaganda is and how it can affect opinions and actions during wartime.

Enduring Understanding:
Students will understand important ideas from World War One and their effects.

Essential Question:
How does propaganda affect opinions and actions of people and leaders during wartime?



  • America in World War I
    A description of posters at war and how they can affect opinions of others.
  • Photographs and Postcards
    Examples of propaganda that can be printed for students to analyze
  • Propaganda Posters
    A description of propaganda poster and how they are used in war. Copies of propaganda can be printed from this site.

  • Pictures of Propaganda printed from attached websites
  • paper and pencils for students
  • Social Studies notebook/journal

Background for Teachers

World War One was full of images urging people to join the army, buy bonds, or support the war by growing their own victory garden. These images created nationalism as well as showed how evil the enemy was. Although some truth was shown in the posters, many were exaggerated to persuade citizens to do as the government desired. Propaganda was used in various countries and was quite effective for helping the war effort.

Student Prior Knowledge

Ask students if they have ever seen a commercial or poster that convinced them to do something. Ask them what was it that the author of the commercial or poster did or said that made the item persuasive. Discuss some reasons why people would want to persuade someone else.

Next, ask students in a time of war what a government would want to persuade people to do. Give examples such as: support the country with money, become a soldier, etc.

Ask them if they know what propaganda means and compare the definition to the posters or commercials the class discussed at the beginning of the lesson.

Intended Learning Outcomes

  • Students will analyze the messages and effects of propaganda used in World War One.
  • Students will create their own propaganda using their knowledge of good persuasive skills.

Instructional Procedures

  1. Visit America in World War One website (or print out the page and copy it for students) and read the description of propaganda together. Also read with them from the Propaganda posters website (or print them out again).
  2. Tell the students they will be viewing various examples of propaganda from a few different countries during World War One.
  3. Divide students into small groups. Give each group one packet of many postcard and poster pictures printed from the given websites.
  4. Ask the students to answer the following questions in their journals: What country is this item from? What is the main message of this image? How would this image affect me as a citizen during WWI?
  5. Discuss the images as a class.
  6. Assign students to write a summary about what propaganda is and how it can affect citizens and leaders during times of war.

Assessment Plan

Have students write a summary about what propaganda is and how it can influence citizens and leaders during times of war.


Created: 06/26/2009
Updated: 02/05/2018