Language selection


Battle of the Somme learning stations


To provide a general understanding of the First World War and the sacrifices and achievements made by Newfoundlanders and Canadians in the conflict.


Youth will be expected to:

  • develop an understanding of the involvement and experiences of Canadians at the Battle of the Somme;
  • gain knowledge of experiences of the Newfoundland Regiment on the front lines at Beaumont-Hamel and the Battle of the Somme;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the important symbols of remembrance for Newfoundlanders such as the caribou and forget-me-not flower;
  • develop an appreciation of the importance that war memorials have in helping Canadians remember;
  • learn about the impact of the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel on individual lives on the home front and the way people reached out to Newfoundlanders serving on the front lines; and
  • understand the devastating effect July 1st had on the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and how it has shaped the attitudes of the people towards remembrance over time.

Anticipated time frame

Approximately 90 minutes are required to complete this activity.

Recommended materials

Optional materials

Background discussion

At the outbreak of the First World War, the response by the people of Newfoundland was enthusiastic. Although there was no existing military organization on the island, a force was assembled to help in the war effort. The Newfoundland Regiment was quickly trained and shipped out for England.

It was near the town of Beaumont-Hamel, in northern France, that the 1st Newfoundland Regiment first saw action on the Western Front. They suffered enormous losses on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916. Of the approximately 800 men from the Regiment who went on the attack that morning, less than 70 were able to answer the roll call the next day; the remainder were dead, injured or missing.

Introduce the learning stations

Divide the youth into four groups. In their respective groups, youth will participate in a “learning voyage” in which they will visit one of the four learning stations and then after becoming an “expert” on their topic, will educate their peers through a short presentation. At each station, the group is to use the resources provided to create a short presentation (discussion guide, tasks, image gallery and handouts). The presentation could be in the form of a poster, a skit or a PowerPoint presentation. Allot 30 minutes at each station. Teamwork will be essential to ensure success.

Groups must be prepared to discuss their findings with the whole group at the end of their learning station research.


Open a class discussion on what the youth have learned from the various resources they have used. Have the reporter from each group present to the other groups. Take the opportunity to elicit any personal reflections that students may have regarding the experiences of the Newfoundlanders at Beaumont-Hamel as well as those of Canadians in other battles during the First World War.

Date modified: