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European Alliance System 1879-1914 - lessons ideas?

Discussion in 'History' started by TheHistoryGuy, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. I would be very grateful if anyone could share any lesson ideas for teaching the European Alliance System 1879-1914. [​IMG]
  2. What age/year are the students? You could try the old idea of selecting students to stand at the front of the class and roleplay; one represents Germany, the other France. Then they select friends to represent Austria-Hungary, Italy, Russia and Britain respectively as the alliance system develops. The students need to take on 'characteristics' of the countries: Germany - strong, powerful, aggressive; France: vulnerable; Italy: rather weak; Russia: big; Britain: John Bull-like. A bit cheesy and stereotypical, but you get the idea. Then reinforce this by showing cartoons and getting the students to interpret them, there are plenty from Punch etc. A map activity also helps so they can see the relative sizes and positions - you can explain the German idea of being surrounded and fears of a two-front war.
  3. I staged a 'July Crisis' conference for my IB students - I gave each small group background details for the country they were representing and an agenda of what they needed to discuss. I acted as chair and every so often threw in a piece of 'breaking news' - and asked for reaction. Students were able to pass 'secret notes' to other countries via the chair - we did eventually end up with the traditional alliances! We continued with the breaking news scenario until Serbia sent a note to the chair asking to be removed from the class for their own safety!
  4. The map activity still helps, even with A-Level students, in my opinion TheHistoryGuy. For a bit of light relief, you can show some extracts from the old 1970s BBC series Fall of Eagles if you can get access to it.
  5. Thanks Keira, that role play sounds great, I'll use that later in the course when we move on to the next part of the course which is the crisises between 1905 and 1914. I'm keen to use more role play activities, but prefer ones like that were the students don't have to leave their seats.
  6. Thanks paully. I've been showing on the projector lots of maps and Punch cartoons I've pinched form the internet, but I think I need to develop some more interative activities of using the maps and cartoons that get the students more involved. I've just found a few clips of Fall of Eagles on youtube and it looks absolutely fantastic, just the type of video I had been looking for to show clips in lessons from, but unfortunately they are only very short clips and the ones there aren't on quite the right time period. I found the DVD set online and it seems to be about £45 which my work place woundn't consider paying for. What we need is some generous person to download some relevent 10 minute blocks.
  7. Get them to play 'Diplomacy' board game. I've used it for years and it works a treat.
  8. Thanks samian. I hadn't heard of that game before, it would be perfect for this course.

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