Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

This resource is one of a series created to commemorate the First World War Centenary in 2014-2018.

The First World War (WWI) was a turning point in world history. It claimed the lives of over 16 million people across the globe and had an impact on everyone. A hundred years on, we are all connected to World War One, either through our own family history, the heritage of our local communities or because of its long term impact on society. Across the world, nations, communities and individuals of all ages will come together to mark, commemorate and remember those who lived, fought and died in the First World War. 

The Imperial War Museums (IWM) led the First World War Centenary Partnership, a network of local, regional, national and international cultural and educational organisations, which enabled millions of people across the world to discover more about life in World War One.

This resource looks at one item, a box of darts inspired by shell casings, to capture just one legacy of the First World War. 


Curriculum Links

    • KS2 History: First World War and Remembrance
    • KS3 History: World War One
    • KS4 History: Britain 1905-1986, Britain at War
    • KS3 Design and Technology: Product Design
    • KS2 Art and Design: Materials
    • KS3/4 Art and Design: Design
    • KS3 Citizenship: Dealing with conflict
    • KS4 Business Studies:Enterprise

Activity Ideas

First World War

  • The men in this photo were the lucky ones, as they came home from the War. Imagine you are one of the men in this photo or the girlfriend or wife of one of them. During the war you knew or heard of a soldier who made darts from shell casings, but sadly he didn't survive the war. Write a story about the soldier who didn't survive the war but whose darts did.
    • Watch the video (see Supporting links in Resources) about life in the trenches, to be able to describe the conditions he experienced.
    • Use your imagination - might there have been fun playing darts, competitions and a feeling of comradeship in the trenches despite the horror of the situation?
    • What would the tools the soldier used to make the darts generally have been used for?
  • Research 'Trench Art':
    • What tools did people use to make Trench Art?
    • Who did they make it for?
    • Why would people want to collect it today?

Patents and Copyright

  • For which of these things would you need to register a patent or claim copyright, or both?
    • You have a brilliant idea about making art from recycled materials today. 

    • You have designed a clever new app for iPhones.

    • You have invented something new that will help people with disabilities turn the pages of a book.

  • Look carefully at the two patent documents of 1923 and 1927 (see Documents in resources). What improvements did George Jones make to his design of darts that meant he needed to apply for a new patent?
  • Michael Jackson used to own the copyright of the Beatles songs. Research who owns them now that he is dead.

Business Ideas

  • Work in groups of three to invent a new hobby or sport that would be easy to play, cheap to manufacture and one you could market through your phone, and then to pitch the idea for this hobby or sport in the style of 'Dragon’s Den'. 
  • What else would will be needed to make the idea a success once it has been patented?

Design and Technology

  • Create a game from some everyday objects that you might find lying around (in much the same way as the shell cases were lying around). These could include items such as toilet roll/paper towel tubes, ping pong balls, plastic bottles etc. This could be used as a way of demonstrating how things that we may consider as rubbish and to have been discarded can be recycled and used in other ways.


How this Resource Could be Used

This resource provides an excellent way of using information from WWI as a vehicle to approach specific curriculum areas. It would be suitable for teaching specific aspects of History, Art and Design Technology and could be used as the background for one-off lessons looking e.g. at games and recreation in the trenches or making art through recycled materials. 

I think, however, that it would be an ideal resource to use in KS4 Business studies when discussing patents and intellectual property rights, which can often be a bit dry and uninspiring – this resource is certainly something I will be promoting to the Business  Studies department in my school for when they deliver this topic.
Ben Thompson, Deputy Head, The Business Academy, Bexley