Orson Welles' War of the Worlds Teacher Resources

Orson Welles’ 1938 radio broadcast of War of the Worlds, a realistic dramatization of  H.G. Wells science fiction novel, created a nationwide panic and still serves as a cautionary tale about the power of media. For students to understand the reaction to Welles’s broadcast consider using resources that ask learners to research the political climate after World War I and the role radio played in the the culture of the United States in 1938.

21st century learners live in a visual world, a world of TV news, of cell phone videos, of film. Check out this lesson that uses the broadcast to teach students the critical skills they need to evaluate the validity of media reports.

Showing 11 resources
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Lesson Plan
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"War of the Worlds": A Broadcast Re-Creation

For Teachers 6th - 12th Standards
Why did Orson Welles' 1938 Broadcast of a adaptation of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds cause such a panic? To answer this question, class members listen to the original broadcast and research the panic that resulted. They then engage...
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Lesson Plan
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Use ‘War of the Worlds’ to Teach Media Literacy

For Teachers 6th - Higher Ed
Orson Welles' 1938 radio broadcast of "War of the Worlds" is the focus of a activity that looks at the importance of clarity in broadcasting. After listening to the radio broadcast, class members discuss the ethical obligations to...
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Lesson Plan
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Back to the Past

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
What was the Untied States like in 1938? What were the concerns of Americans in the post World War I era? What were their fears? What were their sources of news and entertainment? To understand the reaction to Orson Welles' radio...
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Lesson Plan
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Understanding Mass Media News

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
In an age of fake news and photoshopped images, it is vital that 21st century learners development the skills they need to evaluate mass media and assess its validity. A great way to launch such a study is with a carefully crafted lesson...
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Lesson Plan
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The War of the Worlds

For Teachers 9th - 12th
Students discover the concept of media based on literature. In this War of the Worlds lesson, students read the novel The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells and listen to the 1938 radio broadcast adaptation by Orson Welles. Students then...
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Lesson Plan
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Stage Fright

For Teachers 9th - 12th
Students create radio play scripts. In this "War of the Worlds" lesson, students write new scenes to be added to the radio play and then perform the scenes for their classmates.
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Lesson Plan
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Radio Show

For Teachers 6th - 12th
Students work in groups to write a radio drama based on an event or period in history. They write commericals that are appropriate for the radio age and create sound effects. The radio shows are recorded using an iPod and a voice...
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Mobilizing Children

For Teachers 6th - 8th Standards
Scholars find out how the government used propaganda to mobilize children to help in the war effort. Lesson exercises include analyzing a quote from Franklin Roosevelt, viewing propaganda images and posters, and participating in a lively...
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Lesson Plan
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A Movie in Your Mind: Persuasive Text

For Teachers Pre-K - 9th
Young scholars listen to a broadcast of War of the Worlds and illustrate what they hear. In this persuasive text lesson students prepare for making a movie poster intended to persuade a director to make a film based on a short story.
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Worksheet
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Planets

For Students 7th - 10th
For this planets worksheet, students read information about Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn and then complete 21 multiple choice, 1 true or false, and 2 fill in the blank questions.
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Lesson Plan
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A Different Kind of Rock Star: Part 2

For Teachers 6th - 10th
Students examine our society's fascination with Mars.  In this journalism lesson students read an article that outlines the various ways Mars has captured our imagination and are given topics for discussion and a chart to complete.

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