The WW1 Desert Front

Teachers' notes, activities and linked resources

This resource is part of a collection of cross-curricular resources intended to promote archival material relating to the First World War for use in Arts activities and as part of Arts Award.

Curriculum links:

KS2-3 Arts Award - Identify and experience a range of art forms
KS2-3 Art & Design – Develop creativity and ideas; experimentation
KS2-3 English/Literacy – Developing skills in spoken language through speaking, performance and debate; adapting language and style to a range of contexts

Aim of resource:

To encourage the use of First World War archival material in Arts and Arts Award activities.

Learning objectives:

Knowledge of a hidden side of the First World War history
Understanding of how historical themes and events can be used in creative activities
Skills to re-interpret and reconstruct historical narratives in creative work

Discussion ideas:

  • How would the landscape of Egypt have been different to the soldiers’ home towns and cities?
  • What do you think they might have seen, felt, smelt, tasted and touched? 
  • How do you think they felt about Egypt?
  • What was their life like while guarding the Suez Canal? 
  • How might they have felt about being in Egypt? 
  • How would the sounds of the desert contrast with the sounds of war? 
Literacy/English -  Creative war diaries:
Create a paper wall display of a palm tree. Inspired by the images of the British soldiers in Egypt, students can then write ‘war diaries’ – imagining moments of the soldiers’ lives, or using additional research about Egypt. These leaves can be added to create a complete tree.

Literacy/English -  Improvise a play/scene
Inspired by the images and information about the British soldiers' experiences within this resource, pupils could create a play script as a group or just improvise a scene, then perform it in front of the class.

Art/Geography: Illustrated maps 
Using world maps for reference pupils could create an illustrated map of the soldiers’ experiences around a partly imagined geography.

The landscape of the desert might inspire larger art/performance projects. Pupils could recreate the imagined setting of the Sinai desert by either sourcing or creating their own props. 
Alternatively, the desert could be brought into the classroom and sand used as a material to create a picture.

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

Document icon Learning article provided by: Leeds Museum Discovery Centre |  Arts Award Supporter | 
This content is licensed under Creative Commons BY NC SA

Accessibility Statement | Terms of Use | Site Map

Copyright © My Learning 2018. All Rights Reserved

Website by: Grapple