Wartorn (History)


In this lesson students will explore the different perspectives of PTSD and other war traumas; they will learn about the different types of PTSD, and consider a therapeutic garden as a form of treatment.


After the Civil War more than half of the patients in mental institutions were veterans. In 1980 post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) became an accepted diagnosis for veterans with psychological wounds. In this lesson students will watch the HBO documentary Wartorn: 1861-2010. Based on personal accounts of American soldiers whose physical and mental health was torn by the shock and fear of bloodshed and PTSD. The documentary narrates the chronic effects of battle agony and post-traumatic anxiety on military personnel and people close to them throughout American history... from the Civil War through today's modern warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan.

NOTE FOR IT: History content standards:

10.5.1 Analyze the arguments for entering into war presented by leaders from all sides of the Great War and the role of political and economic rivalries, ethnic and ideological conflicts, domestic discontent and disorder, and propaganda and nationalism in mobilizing the civilian population in support of “total war."

10.6.4 Discuss the influence of World War I on literature, art, and intellectual life in the West (e.g., Pablo Picasso, the “lost generation" of Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway).

Lesson Times

5 Minutes
Wartorn: 1861-2010 Documentary
3-5 Class Periods
PBS Article
20-30 Minutes
Article Response short essay prompt
20-30 Minutes
VA Resources and Support Web Search
40-45 Minutes

Industries / Subjects / Grades

Industries / Pathways
  • Agriculture & Natural Resources Agriculture & Natural Resources
Grade Levels
  • 10

Standards and Objectives


California English Common Core Standards (2)
Next Generation Science Standards (1)

Related Instructional Objectives (SWBAT...)

  • Students will be able to explore the different prespectives of PTSD
  • Students will be able to understand how a soldier's physical and mental health can be torn apart by war.

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