Teaching history at Key stage 1

keystage 1

Welcome to the Key Stage 1 section of Keystage history where you will find masses of advice on how to make KS1 history lessons fun and how to help pupils to take their first steps into the fascinating world that is the past. You will be helped to design and plan an exciting primary history curriculum in line with the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum taking into account the difficult areas of assessment and progression in history.You also will be helped to make the most of history’s contribution to the whole curriculum by being shown cutting edge practice in the areas of cross-curricular planning, literacy, thinking skills and creativity.

If it is imaginative ideas for KS1 history lessons you are looking for, then you will definitely want to spend time in the teaching section with its hundred great primary history teaching strategies and in the learning section with its wide range of imaginative approaches and brilliant ideas for products that children will love.As a subject leader, you will find easily accessible advice that is ‘right on the money’. Years of helping hundreds of infant teachers with their history planning, resourcing, and monitoring in history, has enabled me to know exactly what is needed, and which support strategies really work.

KS1 Medium Term Planner for Spreading the Word: Caxton to Bell

The ‘significant people’ element of the KS1 history curriculum now requires pupils to compare achievements of individuals within a linked theme - in this case communication in a topic called ‘spreading the word’. We have chosen Caxton and Bell, rather than Berners-Lee who, although mentioned...
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KS1 Medium Term Planner: Louis Braille

The current history curriculum at KS1 asks schools to provide a little more coherence in their choice of significant people to study, suggesting that they might be linked by theme. I agree with this improvement. Here we have a possible theme of ‘our senses’ or...
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KQ6 How can we set up our own toy museum?

This final KS1 lesson on the Toys topic cements children’s understanding of old and new in an interesting way.

Learning objectives

  • Pupils are able to make reasoned decisions as to what constitute old and new items
  • They can apply criteria to their chosen objects
  • They can...
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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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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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KQ2 What are other people’s toys like?

This session comprises two very simple tasks: matching objects to the young children who would usually play with them, followed by a follow-up task, this time on the theme of wheeled transport where children have to sequence 3 images and match them to who would...
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KQ3 How can we tell these toys are old?

This smart task complements the existing lesson on the site using ICT . Rather than re-write the whole lesson this is added as an extra task. Using slides 2-5 show pupils the pairs of objects - old and new versions of teddies, dolls, trains and roller...
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Toys old and new: Sorting and setting

This lesson draws on some excellent resources you may not have come across, produced by museums in Bedfordshire and Warwickshire.  Not only do they look at old and new and then and now they also offer Venn diagrams which provide that extra challenge.  You will...
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OFSTED’s report on teaching of Toys-outstanding lesson

  When the inspector entered, the pupils were sitting on the carpet around the teacher. She was gently exploring whether they understood the concepts ‘old’ and ‘new’ and the differences between the present and the past. The pupils responded very well to this. Virtually all were...
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How should Scott be remembered today? KQ6

Exciting finale to the topic sees pupils analysing different ways in which Scott has been commemorated in the past, coming up with their own 21st century ideas and then completing a diamond-4 prioritising activity before acting as historical advisers to a stone mason renovating a...
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How should we remember Grace Darling? KQ6

This last key question of 6 on the medium-term planning, focuses on her legacy and why we should commemorate her. It introduces pupils to a number of ways in which people are remembered before inviting them to use their creative imaginations to come up...

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KS1 Medium term planner: The sinking of the Titanic Y2

This topic provides an exciting addition to the usual famous events taught at KS1. Not only is there a clear, compelling narrative that pupils can relate to, it also offers opportunities to develop worthwhile historical concepts such as diversity, causation, consequences, interpretations and source analysis....
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Why weren’t more people saved from the Titanic? KQ5

In this problem-solving activity, pupils have to speculate, using a stimulus image and then evaluate a range of given reasons based on their plausibility, placing them on a spectrum. To demonstrate their understanding pupils complete 3 speech bubbles giving the most important reasons coming from...
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Final Moon Landing lesson (KQ3) available now on request

Pleased to announce that final Moon Landing lesson resources for KQ3 are available on request as we find the last missing piece of the copyright jigsaw!  Subscribers simply email us and we'll send all the lesson resources, by return, prior to full upload....
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What happened during the Great Fire and how do we know?

This lesson focuses on the idea of evidence and proof. Can pupils find evidence to back up statements made in books? Can they tell which is the strongest piece of evidence to support a statement. By learning how to select the sources which they think...
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What did people do at the seaside 100 years ago? KQ2

From mime to movie. SMART TASK

This fun activity is carried out by children working on tables of six.  Half the class work on one image, the other half  on another interesting image.  Each table is given an A4 colour picture either A or B.  For...
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Planning for a cross-curricular topic on Going to the Seaside

This advice with associated downloadable resource below is for KS1 teachers planning a cross-curricular topic and focuses on how to integrate history, geography, literacy and ICT. Start the topic with a brief discussion with the children about where they are going on their summer...
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The learning process in history at KS 1

Given that this site specialises in giving practical support to busy teachers and subject leaders, you may be surprised to find a section on the theory of learning.  Well, don't worry it is very short! With so much theory and so many research findings...

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Why did the Great Fire burn down so many houses?

This Great Fire lesson focuses on developing children's powers of explanations.  They will already have looked at the sequence of events and will be able to offer a few simple reasons.  This lesson aims to take them beyond a simple list towards deeper understanding of...
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The Gunpowder Plot: Prove it using a gallery of images

This skilfully differentiated lesson places pupils in the role of detectives that have to find evidence to back up statements that have been made about the Gunpowder plot.  They are given responsibility for a range of statements carefully matched to their learning needs. ...

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How shall we rebuild London after the Great Fire?

This lesson gives full rein to children's creative flair, disciplined by evidence.  The City of London is offering a prize for the best design for a rebuilt London after the Great Fire.   If the children know the causes well, and they should do after using...
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Grace Darling: setting up the enquiry KQ 1

This is the first lesson on an enquiry into Grace Darling: what she did, and why she was famous. The kernel of the lesson is a slow reveal activity which works really well on an Interactive White Board.  The key image comes from the...

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