Back to Lessons

Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Suggested Level

Suggested Applications

Middle and High School History, Science

Students will:
• Research Post -Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (and evaluate the repercussions as they pertain to military service.)

Introductory Activity:
Write the following on the board: "Do you have any friends or relatives who have served or are currently serving
in the military? Are they on active duty? If not, have you ever seen a movie or read a book with a military theme?
If so, think of a character in that movie/book. Place yourself in that position." In five lines, describe how you think
you might feel if you were in a combat situation. Include specific examples of what might cause these feelings.
Students will discuss their responses with a partner.

Whole Group Activity:
Students will expand their discussion with another group. Students will create a T-chart with one side labeled “positive”
and the other “negative." Students will classify their feelings as positive or negative and include the reasons. Pairs will
continue to switch partners until the entire class has shared with one another and each student has a complete chart
of all listed feelings.

Teacher will introduce PTSD (Battle Fatigue) and discuss student preconceptions.

Small Group/Individual Activity:
Students will read the biography of Audie Murphy from the Medal of Honor website, Students will also
read the citation for the Medal of Honor from the Audie L. Murphy Memorial website.

In small groups, students will discuss their lists of feelings with the information about Audie Murphy. Students will choose
from their lists any feelings they think he may have had before, during, and after his heroic actions.

Students will research PTSD for a description of the disease, signs and symptoms of the disease, incidence of occurrence,
risk factors, and treatments.

Students will share their research with a small group, using chart paper to describe their findings.

Whole Group Activity:
As a class, students will perform a “Gallery Walk” to review information found by other groups. Students will view other
students’ work on the chart paper.

Students will add to their own information as necessary.

Concluding Activity:
Students will choose one of the following activities:
• In their small groups, students will discuss the implications of PTSD on today’s troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At the conclusion of their discussion, students will write an informational letter explaining the risks of PTSD and what to
do if they exhibit symptoms.

• Students will create an informational pamphlet on PTSD for friends or family members considering entering the military
to explain the risks of PTSD and what to do if they exhibit symptoms.

Discussion, letter, pamphlet

Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty. NY: Artisan, 2006.

Extended Activity:
Read or view the autobiography of Audie Murphy (book or film).

Quote: "If one dishonors Godor his country, he dishonors himself." - Raymond M. Clausen Jr., Marine Corps-Vietnam War