Using artefacts to help children’s historical understanding at Key Stage 1

Since the early 90s, artefacts have become increasingly available either to purchase or to loan.  Many firms offer useful replicas and schools have built up their own small collections on certain themes, such as washday and schools in the past, focusing on the smaller...

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Spectacular Bronze Age finds

Among the items found this week in Peebles in Scotland were a complete horse harness, preserved by the soil, and a sword that have been dated as being from 1000 to 900 BC.

They also found...

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Linking your early civilizations at KS2

There is a real and present danger in KS2 of failing to make links between topics. If we are not careful, topics become silos, seen as separate entities. Much better to make as many links as possible to enable pupils to make important connections and...
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Great new KS2 Iron Age activity: Pitching technological developments in Dragon’s Den. From mirrors to chariots

Inspired by  an article by Karen Doull I read recently in the Historical Association's Primary History magazine, I decided to work up a fun activity on technological developments in the Iron Age. Six groups of 5 pupils each are given a technological development to pitch...
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Who played with these toys in the past? and how can we know? KQ5 lesson

This is particularly suitable as an extension question for the older/ higher attaining pupils in KS1 if you are teaching this topic to a mixed-age class. Objectives
  • Pupils are able to go beyond three generations to see people from over 100 years ago, beyond living memory,...
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Is this another find to help us understand Stonehenge?

Yesterday's more interesting news centred on a newly-published report on the finds at Durrington Wells on Salisbury Plain. As the place where the builders of Stonehenge lived and feasted, Durrington Walls is key to unlocking the story of the wider Stonehenge landscape, and this astonishing...
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How do we know about Grace Darling’s actions which happened so long ago? KQ4

There are two distinct elements to this session.  Firstly, pupils develop a sense of period and of evidence by thinking about the sources historians would use to find out about Grace Darling.  Secondly, pupils act as history detectives, hunting down the clues which support the...
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How did sea rescue improve as a result of Grace Darling’s story? KQ5

This session comprises 2 principal activities: matching descriptions of lifeboats to time periods to deepen pupils’ sense of change, continuity and chronology; sequencing and then selecting images for a Museum about most significant changes to sea rescue since Grace Darling's time.

Step 1

Ask children to think...
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Interesting resources on Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole

Great resource on Mary Seacole There are three games and an interactive glossary, each one narrated by Mary Seacole. The games are: Meet Mary Seacole: an introduction to Mary Seacole Herbal Remedy Matching Game: pupils select picture cards so that illustrations relating to Mary Seacole and herbal remedies are correctly paired...
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What inspectors report on in deep dive history inspections: a recent example with my commentary from 2020

What the inspectors said  Commentary
Pupils in your school thoroughly enjoy learning history.   They like the enquiry-based approach you take to learning in the history curriculum, as they learn to ask and answer questions about history.   Several spoke about the memorable experiences they have had when... Read more

Great new lesson on Ancient Egypt coming soon

A great new lesson using objects to draw conclusions about life in Ancient Egypt is soon to be available to subscribers who can request an early draft copy from 1.06.20 The lesson takes images of four small objects each of which is slowly revealed on the...
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KQ2 Why did Grace Darling act in the way she did?

An active lesson in which pupils generate adjectives and then use a Diamond-4 ranking activity, followed by hot seating, to ascertain Grace’s motivation.   A broader context is achieved by asking pupils to analyse the possible reasons why Grace was seen as particularly famous at the...
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Top Tips for teaching….Stone Age to Iron Age

Stone Age to Iron Age The British Isles has been populated by humans for 750.000 years but only became an island when the ice sheets melted about 8,000 years ago. It was only with the introduction of farming about 7,000 years ago that we see radical...
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Historical Association survey of secondary history provision 2019- few surprises and some disappointing statistics

Last week saw the publication of the annual survey into secondary history produced by the Historical Association. Obviously reflecting the views of members of the Association and representing less than 20% of schools, nevertheless the survey contains the most data we have available on the...
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Key ideas in primary history

When we are teaching 11 subjects it is often difficult to catch the essence of each. If we're not careful we can simply deliver the scheme of work very professionally but miss passing on the key messages about what makes history distinct. So what are...
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Remembering VE Day

In these difficult times when schools are not in session it will not be possible to commemorate the ending of the Second World War with our primary-age children in the way you might have planned. Some of you have used the lesson on VE day...
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Rotten apple or …. How should we portray Dyer’s motivation in the Amritsar massacre?

This enquiry asks students to look critically at the depiction of the massacre in the film Gandhi as a way into trying to determine the motivation of Dyer.  Students are provided with an initial set of influence cards which they have to group and classify...
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