First World War Army Rations

Teachers' notes, activities and linked resources

Curriculum Links:

KS3 Art and Design - Artefacts

KS3 History - WW1

KS4 History - Britain 1905-1986

KS4 History - Britain at War


Aims of resource:

To make students aware of rationing restrictions in WW1 and give an insight into daily life in the trenches


Learning objectives:

Knowledge of WW1 rationing and soldiers’ everyday lives

Understanding of the organisational difficulties involved in wartime and how soldiers coped

Skills to draw comparisons with pre-war social conditions and build up a picture of soldiers’ lives in wartime


Discussion ideas:

  • Why do you think soldiers created ‘trench art’?
  • Why do you think Staff Sergeant Shaw used a biscuit to paint on instead of paper? 
  • What might the picture of the terrier mean?
  • Can you think of any artists who have used unusual items in their work?
  • Why didn't Sergeant Shaw eat the biscuit?
  • How did the food soldiers ate compare to the type of food ordinary working class families ate at this time?


Activity ideas: 

  • Design a piece of trench art: Discuss as a class, the sort of materials soldiers might have to hand in the trenches and what sort of images they might have wanted to record or create. Pupils could then try painting their own 'trench artwork' on to small pieces or paper or objects, then transfer these on to crackers.

  • Research modern British Army issue ration packs and compare their contents with WW1 rations.

  • Maths: Using the calorie allowances for soldiers within this resource, pupils could attempt to design a meal plan for a soldier and then click on the link below to the Guardian article on soldiers' ration packs to compare these with modern soldiers' ration packs. 

View other relevant My Learning WW1 resources or scroll down for a list of related links on this topic.




 
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