Activity Overview

As with many wars, there is not one singular cause of World War II. In this activity, students will select on possible cause for the war and create a spider map outlining and defining the 5Ws to explain one cause of World War II. Students should include a written description that describes the background information along with a visual representation.

Teachers can pre-select possible reasons or have students complete research to determine which reason they would like to examine.

Possible Reasons for Students to Use:

  • Treaty of Versailles
  • Rise of Fascism
  • Policy of Appeasement
  • Failure of the League of Nations

Treaty of Versailles 5 Ws Example Questions

  • WHO signed the Treaty of Versailles?
  • WHAT was the Treaty of Versailles?
  • WHEN was the Treaty of Versailles signed?
  • WHERE was the Treaty of Versailles signed?
  • WHY was the Treaty of Versailles a cause of World War II?

Extended Activity

For this extended activity, the class can debate “What was the most significant factor that lead to World War II?” Using their created storyboards, students should make their claim as to what reason they found to be most significant and use at least three central reasons why they believe it was the most significant. For more advanced classes, allow students to provide rebuttals or counter arguments to dispel the arguments of their peers.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a 5W analysis of one cause of World War II: Who, What, When, Where, and Why.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. In the title box for each cell, type Who, What, When, Where and Why.
  3. In the descriptions, answer the question.
  4. Create an image for each cell with appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  5. Save often!

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 1 (Introducing / Reinforcing)

Type of Assignment Individual or Group

Type of Activity: 5 Ws of Social Studies and History

More Storyboard That Activities

World War II: An Introduction

Image Attributions
  • Château de Versailles • Victoriano Rivero • License Attribution (
  • Château de Versailles - Galería de los Espejos • Victoriano Rivero • License Attribution (
  • Conference Table at Versailles • Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library Archives • License No known copyright restrictions (
  • Wood • palacy • License Attribution (
  • Wood • palacy • License Attribution (
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