Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

 Resource created by: The Harris Museum

 Curriculum Links

  • KS3 Science: Biology: Nutrition and Digestion
  • KS4 Citizenship: Human rights and International Law
  • KS3 & 4 History: WW1
  • KS2 & 3 Maths: Measurement
  • KS2 & 3 PHSE: Healthy Eating

Activity Ideas


  • Due to Great Britain’s Blockade of German ports in the First World War food became increasingly scarce in Germany, particularly towards the end of the War. Rations for Prisoners of War in Germany were not good, so parcels became a vital source of food to supplement the rations available to POWs.
    - Look at the four parcels list and work out what sort of meals they might have provided.
    - What did the parcels provide in terms of nutrition - for example vitamins, protein, fat, carbohydrates?
    - Discuss whether or not the parcels would have been effective in supplementing the diet of prisoners of war.  


  • What treaty governed rules about how WW1 Prisoners of War (POWs) were treated?
    - Do you think British and German WW1 POWs were treated in the same way?
    - How were the lives of POWs different in WW1 and WW2?
  • Have the human rights of prisoners in wartime been better respected since WW1? 


  • Letters from home were a great comfort to POWs. Write a letter from the perspective of either a POW or a POW's relative at home.
    - What sort of things might you talk about?
    - Are there any topics you think it would be best not to mention, and why?
  • Compare and contrast the different methods people used to keep in touch at the beginning of the 20th century and today.
    - Which communication methods do you think are better and why?  
  • Write a short script about a POW camp, based on a scene where the soldiers receive their parcels and letters.
    - How does each man respond differently?
    - Think about why some of these men might want to escape.
    - Do you think some may have preferred prison to trenches?
    - Research how British POWs were treated and pay particular attention to interpreting what they may have felt; hunger, pain, fear, anticipation, anxiety, relief, etc.


  • Look at the list of the four different parcels sent to POWs. What items do you recognise and which ones are unfamiliar?
    - Why were the contents of each one different?
    - Why were they sent in rotation?
    - Which of these items are not in common use today?
  • If you were sending a parcel to a Prisoner of War today, what would you send?
    - Think of countries where conflicts are going on.
    - Compare the differences between the WW1 list and your own.
  • World War One was the first major war fought under internationally agreed standards for the treatment of prisoners and wounded in the battlefield. The treaties were the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armies at Sea of 1906, and the Hague Convention of 1907.
    - Explore what led to these conventions.
    - What did these conventions actually mean and which countries signed up to them?
    - How did these relate to the formation of the Red Cross in Geneva and the 1864 Geneva Convention?
    - Investigate the 1929 and 1949 Conventions and how they impact on warfare today (see related links at the bottom of the page). How are they at the core of International Humanitarian Law?


  • Look at the weights on the parcel list. Translate those into modern measurements, add up the total weight and find out how much an equivalent parcel would cost to send by post to Germany today.

How I might use this resource - KS3 Teacher

'The resource could also be used when considering the whole issue of human rights and prisoners of war.'

This resource is part of a WWI Centenary Project called 'Preston Remembers', funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England. Other resources created for the project are: