Education Resource Portal

Guiding Questions and Activities


Interpreting Cause and Effect (CE)

Kind Theme/Skill Topic Category Grades

Select 5-7 sources from the portal and separate them from the contextual description. Using printed copies of the sources or using the National Archives’ Finding a Sequence tool, have students place the sources in chronological order. Direct students to explain why each source is placed in the order they selected, using cause and effect relationships to justify their choices.

Activity CE Civil War, WWI general 6-8, 9-12

Select a set of sources from the portal and have students map the locations each source originated on paper or on ARC-GIS. Discuss how the physical environment may have impacted the source author’s experience. What challenges did the physical environment present? How did people overcome those challenges?

Activity CE Civil War, WWI general 9-12

Direct students to find a particular person highlighted in the portal and conduct additional research on that person. Then, write an obituary about that person’s life, challenges, and accomplishments.

Activity CE, CCOT, E Civil War, WWI general 6-8, 9-12

Have students find evidence in the portal that explains what happened if you were not in full support of the war effort.

Activity CE Civil War, WWI homefront 6-8

Have students look at the money tag on the portal, paying particular attention to the language and images associated with liberty bonds. Then have students explain how spending money would have been related to patriotism during WWI.

Activity CE WWI money 6-8

Take a look at the image of Immigrants Taking Oath of Citizenship. Then, in partners, have students search through the portal looking for reasons why Americanization efforts increased during WWI.

Activity CE WWI nativism 6-8

Show students the German Military Field Telephone and discuss the impact of improved technology on war. Have them explore the collections looking for other examples of war technology and explaining their impact.

Activity CE WWI weapons, industry 6-8

Students choose an image that shows an item, person, or event that they believe to be extremely influential on the WWI era. They will explain their reasoning for their selections. Then, explain how the WWI era would have been different if the item or person they chose did not exist. How might the era and/or history have been different?

Activity CE Civil War, WWI general 6-8, 9-12

In November, 1916, President Wilson won reelection under the campaign slogan “He kept us out of war!” In April, 1917, Congress declared war on Germany. Ask students to select items from the portal that justify the shift from isolation to intervention.

Activity CE WWI government 9-12

Divide students into groups and have them narrow sources using the soldier tag on the portal to research different aspects of soldier life (battle training, uniform and gear, comradery, homesickness, food, battle, medical care, etc.) You may want to narrow your search further by selecting either the Civil War or WWI. Using their analysis of the sources, each group creates a station with a brief “simulation” to represent their topic. Afterwards, students reflect on the challenges soldiers faced and how they overcame those challenges.

Activity CE Civil War, WWI soldier 6-8, 9-12

Provide the students with the following dates and events, ask them to use the portal to justify the chronological order in which the events occurred. In other words, why did the following events happen in the order below instead of a different order?

  • US declares Neutrality (August 4, 1914)
  • US declares war on Germany, enters WWI (April 6, 1917)
  • 18th Amendment (Prohibition) was ratified (January 16, 1919)
  • 19th Amendment (Women’s Suffrage) was ratified (August 18, 1920)
Activity CE WWI general 9-12

Students find two items in the portal that have a cause/effect relationship and have them explain the importance of this event/person/etc to the war effort on a cause/effect graphic organizer.

Activity CE Civil War, WWI general 6-8, 9-12