Teaching KS3 History: The British Empire
>>ADDED AUGUST 2013 Smart Task: The Empire strikes back! SEE BELOW
The requirement to teach about the British Empire at Key Stage 3 presents us with a range of challenges. We need to make the topic relevant and interesting. We need to be balanced in our approach, given the empire-bashing that has surrounded the 150th anniversary of the Indian Mutiny (or should I say First War of Independence?) and the bicentenary of the abolition of Britain's involvement in the Transatlantic Slave trade. We also need to be aware of the sensitivities of teaching this topic in a multicultural society. But you know all this! What you want are some interesting approaches. And here they are, with a full array of resources including PowerPoint presentations:
Key Stage 3 Outstanding History Lessons
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Sample page of ingredients for an Empire Christmas pudding. But where do they come from?
What have these images got to do with Empire?
Teaching the British Empire
Each of the above lessons features a different learning style. The Christmas pudding lesson starts with a fun kinaesthetic activity finding the source of the ingredients followed by a thoughtful analysis of data. In the second, groups work on different countries' experiences before pooling their findings to create a whole class living graph. The Empire Strikes back lesson starts with a Terry Deary Horrible History excerpt which pupils have to counter by looking at the positives of empire. The next is a study of causation whereas the last one on India looks at specific episodes such as the Indian Mutiny, the Amritsar Massacre and the role of Indian troops in World War Two.
A useful set of video shorts on the theme of empires is available on this site TimelinesTV, created by Andrew Chater. His treatment idea of empire spans a much wider timeframe and is a great way of linking developments in different periods.
If you haven’t already used it, have a look at the National Archives Learning Curve material on the Empire It comprises three main sections and has been authored by Ben Walsh, so you know it will be trustworthy.
The first section looks at the Rise of the British Empire. Pupils look at case studies of North America, Africa, India and Australia to work out which of the following motives explained why empires were built there: trade; adventure; politics; religion; ambition and land.
The second section looks at what it was like living in the British Empire and the final one looks at why the Empire came to an end.
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