Page Two

Back To Your History Site

This WebQuest is an adaptation of the original work created by Paul Fetzman and published @ in 1993. The links and page layout have been updated and reworked by Mr. Saccullo in September of 2006.

Life in the Trenches






of the
First World War

Through the eyes of my great grandfather


On a stormy winter Saturday your mom asks for help cleaning the attic. After throwing out garbage and rearranging the mess you come across a big envelope filled with yellowing letters. All of the letters are written by your great - grandfather. All of the letters are dated between 1917 -1918 and they all come from France. Intrigued, you sit down to discover a bit of your family history.

Great - granddad, it turns out, was quite a character. His letters are filled with adventure: joining the army at fourteen, traveling overseas, and being involved in some of the scariest moments of WWI. He writes of the Somme, Ypres, mustard gas, flame throwers, and rat filled trenches. His fear is obvious when the letters speak of "going over the top."


      This web quest invites you to relive your great grandfather's experience during World War One.  As you discover his story you will compile a scrapbook for other members of your family so they too can learn about their past.  The scrapbook will include photos and explanations of your findings.  The finished product can be in book form or a PowerPoint presentation.


 1)    You will need to gather basic information about WWI.  The names, places, battles and weapons mentioned don't come with full explanations. Before you can understand what your great granddad was involved in you should find out why he wound up there. As an introduction to your scrapbook use the sites listed below to answer the following questions:

 What was the role of militarism as a cause of WWI?

 What was the role of alliances as a cause of WWI?

 What was the role of imperialism as a cause of WWI?

 What was the role of nationalism as a cause of WWI?

 What were the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente?

 What was the Zimmerman Telegraph?

The answers to the above questions can all be found in the Following websites.  Your answers will serve as an introduction to your scrapbook

2)  One of the letters talked about living in trenches yet it didn't give you a clear picture of trenches and trench warfare.

 What was the Western Front?


 What was the purpose of a trench?


 "No man's land" and "going over the top" are phrases he keeps writing about.  They sound frightening.  Were they?  Why? 


Use the following sites to explore your great grandfather's experience in the trenches. Include 3 - 4 pictures with your explanations