World War One KS2

To mark the centenary of World War One, this workshop follows the wartime story of a telegraph worker, Billy (from ‘My Story: A First World War Soldier 1914 – 1918, The Trenches’ by Jim Eldridge). Using original and replica objects and equipment, we meet Billy and other real local people to explore what life was like at home in Cornwall and abroad during World War One.


Workshop plus Museum visit up to 4 hours, or outreach session (2 or 3 sessions of 1½ hours each)

Workshop outline

The workshop follows the story of Billy from My Story: A First World War Soldier 1914 – 1918, The Trenches’ by Jim Eldridge. We meet Billy at the outbreak of war, and learn from Uncle Stanley about why the war started, using the idea of opposing school teams to explain what happened.

By 1917 Billy is sixteen and even though he is too young, he volunteers to fight. Using war service, military and volunteer badges and the stories of real local people, we explore why Billy volunteered.

We go onto a hand’s-on exploration of local life and life on and behind the front line. Pupils try on puttees, explore replica and original webbing and equipment, try out a replica gas mask, explore the role of Red Cross nurses at home and abroad and investigate mystery objects.

The workshop ends with chance to reflect on why we commemorate World War One, through one soldier’s story.

After lunch if you’re visiting the Museum, pupils will explore WWI objects and stories in our exhibition galleries and Tunnels.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the workshop most pupils will understand:

  • Some of the causes of World War One
  • The different roles that men and women played during the war
  • What life was like for soldiers and nurses, at home and abroad
  • Some of the different types of communication used during World War One

National Curriculum Links

History: aspects or themes in British history, a significant turning point

Geography: location knowledge – locate the world’s countries, using maps to focus on Europe (including the location of Russia)

Science Year 4:

  • construct a simple series electrical circuit, identifying and naming its basic parts, including cells, wires, bulbs, switches and buzzers
  • identify whether or not a lamp will light in a simple series circuit, based on whether or not the lamp is part of a complete loop with a battery
  • recognise that a switch opens and closes a circuit and associate this with whether or not a lamp lights in a simple series circuit

Suggestions for pre-visit preparation

Before the visit it would be helpful if the class could read and discuss ‘My Story: A First World War Soldier 1914 – 1918, The Trenches’ by Jim Eldridge. You may want to read selected extracts rather than the full story.

Suggestions for post-visit activities

A suggested list of post-visit activities is available here: KS2 World War One Post Visit Activities PDF.

Feedback and evaluation

We will give you an evaluation form to complete at the end of the workshop. Please complete this as fully as you can. Your feedback is very much appreciated and is used to ensure that future workshops meet the learning needs of your students.

Telegraph Museum