The Poison Gas Op-Ed

Using the content in the section titled, “How Did Poison Gas Change Warfare?”, instruct students to write an Op-Ed, pretending they are a World War I reporter on the front lines of the Western Front who has seen the effects of gas warfare. First, provide a skills session on how to write an effective Op-Ed. Then, provide students about 20 minutes to explore the content in this section. Require that they use the graphic organizer handout to record their observations. Lastly, instruct students to write their Op-Ed.

Guiding Questions

  • How did poison gas change warfare?
  • How do you write an effective Op-Ed?
  • Why did poison gas warfare capture the imagination of artists?

Learning Outcomes

The student will be able to:

  • Write an Op-Ed about the effects of poison gas warfare in World War I.
  • Analyze art and poetry that depicts poison gas warfare.


  • Read the direction box on page one of the “Poison Gas Op-Ed” handout packet as students read along.
  • Instruct students to independently read the “How to Write a Killer Op-ed” piece prepared by Oregon State University.
  • Using the slideshow and making a list on the SmartBoard or on a marker board, lead a class discussion addressing the
    following questions:
    • What is an Op-Ed?
    • How do you write an effective Op-Ed?
  • Introduce the four questions below, related to “Down with Homework!” using the slideshow before students read:
    • What does this op-ed do to convince?
    • How effective is the argument?
    • Is the argument simple and straightforward?
    • Are both sides presented?
  • Instruct students to read the “Down with Homework!” After 5 minutes, lead a discussion and list student answers on the SmartBoard or on a marker board.
  • Have students access the “How Did Poison Gas Change Warfare?” section of this chapter. Instruct students to use 15 minutes to explore the videos, text, and audio of this section. Students must fill out the “Observations Organizer” to organize their thoughts.
  • Read the War Times Review prompt. Review the guiding questions using the slideshow. Still using the slideshow, review the expected structure of the Op-Ed. Lastly, allow students to write.


Assess students using the organizer and their final product.

Materials Needed

Poison Gas Slideshow
Poise Gas Op-Ed Packet
Alfie Kohn’s Op-Ed, Down with Homework!

Time Required
60 minutes