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English Detective #42, 100 Years of Consequences: How World War 1 Changed the World: Aug. 5, 2014
August 05, 2014

English Detective #42, 100 Years of Consequences: How World War 1 Changed the World: Aug. 5, 2014


The current investigation (Introducing this issue):

This month is the hundredth anniversary of the beginning of World War 1. The anniversary has inspired many articles and new resources for teaching and learning about the Great War’s roots and consequences. I especially like two short, clear essays and a flow chart with a minimum of difficult words for such a complex subject.

(I kept finding more articles that seem so useful for middle school to adult students of history, so I’ve added a few extra links with comments near the end of this newsletter, after the practice activity.)

If you can only read (or give your students) one article, I would recommend MSNBC’s “World War 1 is responsible for modern life as we know it.” It’s an easy to read summary of some of the main causes and effects of that disastrous conflict.

A second article on the Global Effect of World War 1 comes to similar conclusions: that it has affected most of the big events in world history ever since.

What better reason to try to understand it?

Below a short vocabulary discussion and the links to these two articles (and a flow chart on the war’s events) is a short practice with the prefix ‘mis-‘ and then links to several other useful or interesting articles for teachers who want to give their students more background on World War 1.

I think they would make a great webquest-- asking students to read several different articles, and then in pairs or groups to choose what they think were the most important consequences of the war.

(There’s also a suggestion below for an alternate history task-- asking ‘what if’ things had happened just a bit differently. That’s a question that can make history come alive to students, as they begin to realize that the way things have turned out was not inevitable. One article mentions several events that almost didn’t happen-- and how that might have led to a very different outcome.)

Word Clues: This Issue’s Vocabulary

alliance, avert, bequeath, (redraw) boundaries, consequences, legacy, magnitude.

Alliances are promises of groups or nations (that may not be friends in other ways) to help each other against attacks or threats by other nations.

To avert is to prevent something bad from happening (or sometimes to turn your eyes away from something.)

‘Bequeathe’ and ‘legacy’ refer to what the war ‘gave’ us after it was over, as if it were a dying relative passing on (bequeathing) its treasures to those still living.

To redraw boundaries is to change the borders (in this case of nations).

Consequences are the results or effects that follow an action.

As noted above, a ‘legacy’ is property or an inheritance handed down by a person’s or group’s ancestors.

Magnitude means a very large size.

Getting the whole story: reading practice:


Click here for the MSNBC article.

Here’s the Global Effects article

The flow chart is here.

Follow the Clues (More Vocabulary Practice): Mis- compared with un-

The author of “Global Effects of World War I” says “World War I was a product of miscalculation, misunderstanding, and miscommunication.”

Match the words in list 1 with their closest equivalents in list 2.
List 1
A. calculated
B. lack of understanding
C. miscalculated
D. miscommunicated
E. misunderstanding
F. uncalculated
G. uncommunicated
List 2
__ 1. not talked about or explained
__ 2. understood inaccurately or badly
__ 3. figured out in an incorrect way
__ 4. reasoned, computed mathematically, or done deliberately
__ 5. no comprehension or understanding of something
__ 6. not figured out or reasoned through
__ 7. explained or discussed badly

(For answers, see below “Coming in the next issue.”

Investigating on your own: Check out these links for more information and classroom ideas


Here’s the “what if” article.


You can find more useful resources for classrooms here.

A note if you get gmail: Have you missed any issues of English Detective? if you find English Detective in your Promotions box, you can move it to your Primary box (if you want) by clicking on it and dragging it there, then clicking Yes when asked if you want to always get it in the Primary box.

Coming in the next issue: On Writing Well-- and Teaching Writing

Answers to the Word Clue Practice
G 1. not talked about or explained (uncommunicated)
E 2. understood inaccurately or badly (misunderstanding)
C 3. figured out in an incorrect way (miscalculated)
A 4. reasoned, computed mathematically, or done deliberately (calculated)
B 5. no comprehension or understanding of something (lack of understanding)
F 6. not figured out or reasoned through (uncalculated)
D 7. explained or discussed badly (miscommunicated)

In case you missed these: Earlier issues of English Detective have articles on a number of topics, plus practice with all 570 words from the Academic Word List. You can check them out with the link to the back issues page below (or find what words were practiced each issue here.

P.S. If youare not already getting English Detective, you can subscribe by completing the form here. (It's free!) Also, you can reach me by mail at 1752 Driftwood Drive, El Centro, CA 92243, USA.
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