The Volunteers: Americans Join World War I, 1914-1919 Curriculum was created by AFS Intercultural Programs, together with a distinguished Curriculum Development Committee of historians, educators, and archivists. The curriculum was generously supported by the General Representation of the Government of Flanders to the USA and received official endorsement from the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission. The lesson plans were developed in partnership with the National World War I Museum and Memorial and the curriculum specialists at Primary Source, a non-profit resource center dedicated to advancing global education.

The 22 lesson plans examine the volunteer service of U.S. Americans, primarily during the period of U.S. neutrality.  They explore engaging and relevant questions such as what motivates people to engage in volunteer service? What are the characteristics of a humanitarian organization? How did women’s volunteer service in World War I connect to women’s campaigns for political equality? How were humanitarian relief efforts organized and sustained during World War I? What role have young people played in world affairs through their volunteerism, historically and today?

The lesson plans are made available through the following six topics:

  1. U.S. American Volunteers in World War I, 1914-1917
  2. U.S. American Women’s Volunteerism and Suffrage in World War I
  3. Diversity and Debate on the U.S. Home Front During the “European War”
  4. Lost Generation Artists and Writers as World War I Volunteers
  5. Humanitarian International Relief: A Legacy of Great War Volunteerism
  6. Young People, Volunteerism, and Global Citizenship: From World War I to the Present

The lesson plans are designed for secondary school classrooms worldwide and can be used in courses about U.S. History, World History, European History, American Literature, Global Literature, Economics, Global Issues, and Global Leadership and Social Change.

All 22 lesson plans are:

  • Standards-aligned—lessons align with Common Core Standards in the United States and the National Center for History in the Schools, National History Standards for the United States. They also align, where appropriate, with the Topics and Objectives of UNESCO’s Global Citizenship Education.
  • Globally-adaptable—though developed with U.S. classrooms as a primary audience, “Global Classroom Tips” in each lesson recommend adaptations to make the lessons relevant and suitable for classrooms in other parts of the globe.
  • Primary-source-intensive—lessons promote historical analysis skills and construction of knowledge making extensive use of primary documents and a wide variety of text types.