Building a Persuasive Argument – “World War I Was the First Modern War”

The goal of this lesson is to use the content of this chapter to help students create a persuasive argument that defends this statement: “World War I was the first modern war.” First, students will be given 30 minutes to explore the chapter. Then, students will brainstorm ideas with a partner. Next, the entire class will learn how to build a winning argument by watching a video clip. Lastly, students will create their product independently or with a group.

Guiding Questions

  • How was World War I the first modern war in world history?
  • How do you build a persuasive argument?

Learning Outcomes

The student will be able to:

  • Build a persuasive argument.
  • Create a product that convinces their audience that World War I was the first modern war in world history.


  • Introduce the statement that students will be defending by reading it aloud using the slideshow. Define the question by defining the word “modern.” Write student ideas on the SmartBoard or marker board.
  • Read directions to the “Observations Organizer” sheet in the work packet. Then, instruct students to access this chapter on their device and use 30 minutes to explore it and fill out the organizer. Organize students into partner groups and instruct them to spend 10 minutes completing the “Brainstorm Organizer.”
  • Introduce the brainstorm question using the slideshow: “What makes an argument persuasive?” List student answers on board.
  • Show this 3-minute TED-Ed video clip about persuasive writing. Instruct students to fill out the viewing guide as they watch. After the clip, review the questions posed on the relevant slide. Then, revisit the brainstorm question using the relevant slide.
  • Read through the product menu as a whole class and review the rubric. Field any questions afterward. Then, instruct students to choose a product and start working.
  • Close by having students create their final product.


Assess students based on their reading guide and final product.

Materials Needed

Persuasive Argument Slideshow
Persuasive Writing Rubric
Projector or SmartBoard for viewing video
Persuasive Writing Work Packet