Links to National Curriculum:

understanding of the historical concepts of continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity and difference, and significance by making connections, drawing contrasts, analysing trends and framing historical questions

Learning objectives:

To analyse a range of original sources from one culture as evidence of how some people from it viewed people from another culture.
By the end of the lesson:

  • All students should understand the contribution of Muslims to the Allies efforts and WW1
  • Most students will understand that the war was fought on many different fronts
  • Some students will understand complexities of recruitment for war and the effect of the result of WW1 on the Middle East

Learning outcomes:

  • To have reached a balanced conclusion from a range of evidence about how the British viewed Muslim soldiers during the First World War.
  • Pupils will have analysed a range of source material about the attitudes of Muslim soldiers between 1914 and 1918 – how did they view themselves and their role?
  • Pupils will have constructed an interpretation of the role of Muslim soldiers during the First World War from given criteria.


It is important that WW1 and the Muslim contribution to it, is taught in a cross curricular way. This will aid student understanding and allow them to place this lesson in context. For example:

  • English – in English lessons, the students could be exploring diaries such as diaries of soldiers in WW1 and diary exerts of Muslim Soldiers fighting on the front in WW1.
  • Geography – students could be exploring the areas of the British empire and its areas of control.
  • Religious Education (RE/RS): Students should learn the basics of Islam and what it means to be a Muslim. Cultures and backgrounds of individual or groups of Muslim soldiers could also be studied.
  • BMHC – exploring, during a school trip, the exhibition at the British Muslim Heritage Centre.

Lesson expansion ideas:

  • Relate learning to what is happening around the world and in Britain today.
  • Relate map of the world then to the map of the world today: what difference did WW1 make, if any?
  • What can we learn from soldiers fighting for the Allies – Muslim and all faiths?
  • Think, Pair, Share: Ask students what they think of how soldiers would feel today in light of all the wars that have been fought since then.
  • Students could brain storm or mid map ideas about how this would impact their understanding of Muslim contribution to Britain and the climate towards Muslims today
  • Invite suggestions as to how pupils think that German propaganda may have portrayed Muslim soldiers during WW.

Lesson Structure

Think, Pair, Share

Be the Teachers Activity:

This activity is conducted through a series of strictly timed activities.

Students will work in groups of 3 (4 is too large a group). Each group will have a number assigned to it – 1, 2 or 3.

Write the sequence & timings of stages on the board or a sheet at the front so that students can follow the exercise easily.

Resources required per group:

  • 1 piece flipchart paper
  • 3 or 4 different coloured thick feltip pens

Teacher notes/structure

Ask students to create an individual mindmap of all the words, cultures, religions, ideas and ideals they associate with WW1.

Group students in groups of 3 – label each group 1, 2 or 3 – this will be important later.

Stage 1:
(2 minutes)

  • Show the students the learning objectives and informed that the teaching element of the lesson will be conducted by them.
  • Students get 1 minute to read learning objectives – they are not allowed to take notes. They need to understand that they will be working as groups of 3.

Stage 2:
(15-20 minutes)

  • Each group is given a pack of resource material.
  • Groups labelled one are given Pack 1, groups labelled 2 are given Pack 2 and Groups labelled 3 are given Pack 3.
  • Each group converts the resource material into a visual display, a poster using the papers and pens. The poster must be designed for visitors to view and understand – this is very important. The poster can have up to 15 words on it but no more! (10 words for higher ability & 20 words for lower ability groups).
  • The groups are encouraged to use as many numbers, diagrams, symbols, pictures, graphs, cartoons and sketches as it wishes.
  • The group collaborates on this and makes sure everyone in the group contributes and understands the material equally.
  • They will be using this and any other props they would like to make to teach their information to the class. Their ‘lesson’ needs to be no more than 2 minutes long.

Stage 3:
(15-20 minutes)

  • Every group now only has a fraction of the information needed – so they have to learn from each other. Information from Group 1, 2 and 3 is needed to be successful.
  • The groups now come up to the front of the class and teach their segment to the rest of the class.
  • Inform the students that they need all the information and should therefore pay attention and take notes.

Stage 4: Plenary
(10 minutes)

  • Clear away all posters and materials.
  • Students will now complete a quiz as a class.
  • Exit Slip: They will then write a reflective journal entry of their thoughts on what they have learnt today and its impact on their understanding of WW1 and even the world today.

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