This Y2 lesson takes pupils understanding beyond that of knowing what happened to the Titanic to work out why it sank.  The aim is to go beyond simple one cause answers to develop a more sophisticated explanation, which children are capable of, given the right preparations.  By making the lesson into a history mystery pupils will be more engaged.  By structuring the learning into several discrete stages we can deepen the learning and understanding.

Learning objectives

  • children understand several reasons for the disaster
  • they grasp that there are many possible explanations and that we can never be totally sure
  • they develop their ability to write in explanatory mode, making use of ‘because’ as a stem
  • the higher attaining pupils start to think of different types of causes, to do with the boat, the captain, the owner etc.


Explain to the children that they are going to solve a mystery today. Why a ship as strong and as well built as the Titanic was capable of being sunk on its first voyage?  Surely it is more than just hitting an iceberg?  Anyway whose fault was that?

Step 1

Ask the children to brainstorm possible reasons why a disaster such as

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