The Meuse-Argonne Pistol Duel – Act It Out

Students will read about the pistol duel story, write their own script, and act it out. First, instruct students to take 30 minutes to read the pistol duel story in the section titled “Meuse-Argonne Case Study: How Does Open Warfare Lead to a Pistol Duel?” and fill out a reading guide to organize their thoughts. Then, divide students into groups of 4. Next, instruct them to select roles: actor, scriptwriter, or prop coordinator. Then, instruct students to either prepare to act out their version of the pistol duel in front of the class or to create a video to show in class.

Guiding Questions

  • What happened when an American sergeant and a German major met face-to-face for a pistol duel during a battle of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive?
  • What does this example show about America’s open warfare fighting strategy?

Learning Outcomes

The student will be able to:

  • Write a script based on the pistol duel story.
  • Synthesize the pistol duel story and summarize in their own words.


  • Read the German soldier quote to whole class using the slideshow. Ask students to use the questions on page 1 of the work packet to analyze the quote with a partner. After 5 minutes, have a class discussion about the answers, listing answers on the SmartBoard or White Board.
  • Instruct students to access the section of this chapter titled “Meuse-Argonne Case Study: How Does Open Warfare Lead to a Pistol Duel?” Tell them to use the reading guide in the work packet to read through the story of the pistol duel. Allow 20 minutes for this reading.
  • Review selected answers with the whole class to check for understanding. Play the video clip, “Moore’s gritty defense”.
  • Review as a whole class the “Act it Out” directions found in the work packet. Review directions before revealing groups. After directions, reveal groups on the SmartBoard.
  • After you assign groups, have a group discussion around this question: “What makes a movie script good?” List student answers on your SmartBoard or marker board.
  • After a 5-minute discussion, play this 6-minute clip that addresses this question, instructing students to take notes on
    the video: Screenplay Structure.
  • Re-visit the question as an entire class: “What makes a movie script good?” Take notes on the marker board or SmartBoard.
  • Instruct students to break out into groups and assign roles. Then, instruct them to use the script outline and Story Plot Terms Chart to organize their ideas. Next, they will write their full script, with dialogue.
  • Circulate among groups to review roles and answer any lingering questions.
  • Close with skit presentations or video viewings. Display the rubric and review expectations before starting presentations so that expectations are clear.


Assess students based on their reading comprehension guide and their skits/videos.

Materials Needed

Act It out Work Packet

Story Plot Terms Chart

Acti It Out Slideshow

Screenplay Structure