Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

The Hello Girls in World War I
Melanie Hendrix
US History
Time Frame:
Two class periods
World War I

Grade Levels:
8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:
  • Students will work in learning communities (small groups) to create a presentation explaining the role of The Hello Girls in WWI.
  • Each group will use technology, primary sources, and other resources to gather information, answer questions and create a presentation to share with the class.


In 1918, General Pershing sent 223 American women to France to work the telephone switchboards, many of them serving in danger zones near the front lines.  At this time, women were not allowed to serve in the military as soldiers and even after they were allowed into the Army to serve in non-combat roles during the war, they were not deemed eligible for Army military benefits because they were never officially sworn in to the Army.  Basically, women were soldiers before they became voters.  They had a stake in the future of our country and were fighting a battle on two fronts: women’s rights at home and the Great War in France.


This lesson is designed to introduce students to the importance of women working on the front lines during WWI and how it impacted the role of women on the home front.

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:

FL State Sunshine Standards: SS.912.A.4.5. Examine causes, course, and consequences of United States involvement in World War I. Demonstrate an understanding of the changing role of the United States in world affairs through the end of World War I.  Examples may include, but are not limited to, nationalism, imperialism, militarism, entangling alliances vs. neutrality, Zimmerman Note, the Lusitania, the Selective Service Act, the home front, the American Expeditionary Force, Wilson's Fourteen Points, the Treaty of Versailles (and opposition to it), isolationism.


Missouri State Standards:

History, Continuity and Change. Theme #1: 

  1. Create and use tools to analyze a chronological sequence of related events in United States history
  2. Explain connections between historical context and peoples’ perspectives at the time in United States history.
  3. Develop a research plan, identify appropriate resources for investigating social studies topics, and create and present a research product which applies an aspect of United States history post c. 1870 to a contemporary issue.
  4. Analyze the causes and consequences of a specific problem in United States history post c. 1870 as well as the challenges and opportunities faced by those trying to address the problem.

Government Systems and Principals

  1. Analyze laws, policies, and processes to determine how governmental systems affect individuals and groups in society in United States history c.1870-2010.
  2. Predict the consequences which can occur when individuals fail to carry out their personal responsibilities.
  3. Predict the consequences which can occur when institutions fail to meet the needs of individuals and groups.


History, Continuity and Change. Theme #2:

C  Trace the contributions of individuals and institutions on social, political, artistic and economic development.   


History, Continuity and Change. Theme #3:

C. Evaluate the impact of U.S. participation in WWI and the resulting peace efforts.


9-12.AH.3.CC.C.  Evaluate the impact of US participation in WWI and resulting peace efforts.


9-12.AH.1.CC.C.  Develop a research plan, identify appropriate resources for investigating social studies topics, and create and present a research product which applies an aspect of United States history post c. 1870 to a contemporary issue.

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

o   Book Review for the Hello Girls.  Video clip trailer included https://www.npr.org/2017/04/06/522596006/the-hello-girls-chronicles-the-women-who-fought-for-america-and-for-recognition

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

National Archives; https://www.archives.gov/

Docs teach:  https://www.docsteach.org/

World War I Museum and Archives: https://www.theworldwar.org/

Full description of activity or assignment.

1)    Class Discussion-

  1. What is going on in the US during this time period?
  2. What is going on in Europe during this time period?
  3. What are some ways we were trying to help Europe without getting involved?
  4. Once we enter the war, how could women help here in the US?  Are there any ways we could help overseas or on the battle front?

2)    Introduce the term “Hello Girls”.  Who do you think this refers to?

3)    Show students the primary source photos (I have included a few in this lesson plan).

4)    Students watch short video clip introducing them to the Hello Girls. It is the trailer for an upcoming film but it is a good introduction. Approximately 2.5 minutes


Here is a second video with a different trailer, if the other one doesn’t work:  http://harvardpress.typepad.com/hup_publicity/video/

5)    Assign activity:

  1. Divide class into groups of 3-4.  Each group will create a 5-6 minute presentation on the Hello Girls and present to the class.
  2. Hand out rubric/instructions.
  3. Each group can choose how they present:  Power Point, poster, tri-fold, brochure, webpage, or production. 
  4. Students must utilize primary sources and online resources to gather information.  These sources MUST be documented somewhere in their presentation.  The teacher acts as facilitator and guides the students to proper and useful sites. Here are some helpful ideas:
  • Job descriptions
  • Why would they want to be a part?
  • Diary excerpts
  • Maps
  • Video Clips
  • How do their actions affect others


6)    When students are finished creating project, then they will be allowed to present to the class. The best presentation will be allowed to present to other classes.

Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:

This rubric is given to the students BEFORE they begin their project.  When they present, they hand it back and the teacher uses it to grade the group project.


I always have my students “self -grade” prior to the presentation.  This gives them an opportunity to see how they think they did on the project.



Name of student (first and last).  How do you think you did on this project (be honest)?

Self -Grade
















Points available

Points Earned

Student uses at least 5 primary sources in their presentation and each is documented.



Student has a minimum of 5 visuals to demonstrate knowledge of content



Student effectively defines and illustrates the role of the Hello Girls during WWI



Student effectively compares women’s roles in the military during WWI with women’s roles at home.



Student assesses1the effectiveness of the Hello Girls on the war front.



Student explains the struggle the Hello Girls faced once returning home. 



Presentation (on time, speaks clearly, appropriate behavior, keeps within time limit)






Teacher Notes: