K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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.

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Learning outcomes

Students will examine artifacts of a World War I soldier and gain insight to technological advances of the times. Students will analyze uses of the artifacts by completing an artifact analysis chart.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

One class period



Artifact analysis worksheet
A worksheet for students to use when analyzing a physical artifact. It may be used directly on the computer as a PDF form. Additional education resources from NARA are available on the NARA for Educators and Students.
Open as PDF (145 KB, 1 page)


Students should have already learned about the causes of WWI, why the US became involved, what life was like on the home front, and technological advances prior to and during WWI.


  1. Have students read the article from the Tar Heel Junior Historian.
  2. Divide students into groups of four and have them brainstorm a soldier’s needs during WW I.
  3. Each group will share their ideas with the class.
  4. Tell students that they will view a website that will show them artifacts of a WW I soldier from NC.
  5. Share information about the life of William B. Umstead (best to project on the board).
  6. Students will view the “Outfitting a soldier” collection of images in order to fill in the artifact analysis worksheet.
  7. Facilitate a whole-class discussion about what the students learned through this activity.


Assess students based on their responses on the artifact analysis sheet.

Supplemental information


As a teacher you will need to decide what to include in lessons on World War I. Use of Docsouth can provide you with a wealth of material. What is available to you ranges from diaries, letters, and music to technology. It is best for the teacher to view the websites so that you can better direct your students. The information available would also be useful in planning learning stations related to WW I.