Car board game.

CareerStart lessons: Grade six

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Learning outcomes

Students will use their knowledge of World War I to debate whether Germany should have paid reparations following the war.

Teacher planning

Materials needed

  • Posterboard
  • Markers, crayons, or colored pencils

Time required for lesson

Approximately 90 minutes


  • Complete your unit on World War I, and be sure the students understand the concept of reparations.
  • The day before the lesson, discuss how a debate is set up and how students should behave during the debate.


  1. Briefly review the World War I unit, focusing on Germany’s responsibility for paying reparations for the damage of the war. Ask students to decide if they believe Germany should have had to pay reparations. (10 min.)
  2. Guided Practice: Based upon each student’s response to the issue, set the class up into two teams: One side that believes Germany should have paid for the damages of WWI and one side that believes Germany should not have had to pay for the damages of WWI. (If the sides are uneven, re-arrange by finding students who are willing to debate for the other side.) Have students work in their groups using propaganda techniques to create an argument for their side of the issue. They may create a commercial, a skit, etc., but each presentation may only last between 8 and 10 minutes. Have students use the posterboard to lay out their final reasons Germany should or should not have had to pay the costs of WWI. (15 min.)
  3. Independent Practice: Give students time to work on their presentations. Walk around the room to make sure students are on task and to answer any questions they may have. (30 min.)
  4. Have each group give their presentations. Provide feedback about what was good about each presentation and what could have been better. (20 min.)
  5. After the debate, have students return to their desks and brainstorm what types of careers are involved in political debates at the state-wide, nation-wide, and world-wide levels. As a class, make a list of these careers to keep posted somewhere in your classroom. (15 min.)


Assess by student participation in the debate and in their working groups.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Social Studies (2003)

Grade 6

  • Goal 7: The learner will assess connections between historical events and contemporary issues.
    • Objective 7.02: Examine the causes of key historical events in selected areas of South America and Europe and analyze the short- and long-range effects on political, economic, and social institutions.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Social Studies (2010)
      • Grade 7

        • 7.H.2 Understand the implications of global interactions. 7.H.2.1 Analyze the effects of social, economic, military and political conflict among nations, regions, and groups (e.g. war, genocide, imperialism and colonization). 7.H.2.2 Evaluate the effectiveness...