Outstanding Lessons at KS1

If you have ever searched the internet for inspiration for your history sessions you will know how frustrating it can be. Luckily the answer is at hand. Built up from twenty years’ experience of working with infant schools, the site brings into one place some of the best history lessons you can expect to find. Not only are they logically developed with clear learning objectives, thoughtful structure and fit for purpose activities, they are all in some ways creative or imaginative. They are not run of the mill. They will almost certainly fire your imagination and stimulate an even better idea.

Why do you think Amy Johnson was famous? Smart Task KQ1

In this session on Amy Johnson (KQ1 on the planner) children learn to: predict from small clues link together disparate pieces of evidence and draw conclusions based on the clues they are given. With the help of the slow reveal of the clues in carefully arranged order, pupils build...
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How should the Wright brothers be remembered? Smart task KQ6

Commemorating the Wright brother's achievements with words young children can understand

Pupils have to create a plaque to commemorate the Wright brothers’ achievements to replace the incomprehensible one on the monument at Kitty Hawk. But they can use only 50 words so they need to be...
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KS1 History Mystery. Whatever happened to Amy?

How can we solve the mystery of what happened to Amy Johnson? Smart Task KQ6

This enduring mystery has puzzled historians for over 75 years. New evidence has just come to light which makes this an ideal opportunity for pupils to explore reasons for themselves. Clearly...
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New lessons on Wright brothers coming soon

Just putting finishing touches and clearing copyright for 5 great activities for Key questions 3 , 4 and 6 of the Wright brothers planner. These comprise : a prioritising diamond-4 task looking at the reasons why the Wright brothers were so successful; a hot-seating teacher-in...
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Amy Johnson story-telling relay KS1

How did Amy the secretary end up being the first woman to fly to Australia? Smart Task KQ2

This short, fun activity using mime and props, tells the story of Amy Johnson's first flight to Australia in a way that children will never forget.  Each of...
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6 top history ideas to cover in your Great Fire topic

Many of you will be starting your Great Fire topic this term. Naturally you will want this to be exciting as well as challenging and you will want to focus on the main historical concepts: in this case, cause and consequence and change. But you might...
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Teaching Grace Darling to Key Stage 1

Long before Grace Darling appeared in one of the additional QCA schemes of work, Grace Darling was being taught as a famous person. She was particularly popular with teachers of Year 1 in term 2. Not only was the story of her life focused on...
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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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Outstanding Lessons: Key Stage 1

If you have ever searched the internet for inspiration for your history sessions you will know how frustrating it can be.  Luckily the answer is at hand.  Built up from twenty years' experience of working with infant schools, the site brings into one place some...
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The Ups and Downs of Mary Anning’s life

This lesson focuses on helping pupils to move beyond simple story telling and sequencing to thinking about the effect that each event in her life had on Mary. By encouraging pupils to think in terms of happy and sad events, you will help them build...
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KS1 History Planner for Scott of the Antarctic topic

Medium term planning and planner for Scott of the Antarctic  KS1

This topic has been designed for Term 3 of Y1 but would also suit use with older pupils. It lends itself very well to inclusion within a broadly cross-curricular topic on Hot and Cold or Journeys....
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KS1 History Planning for Going to the Seaside topic

Medium term planning and planner for Going to the Seaside KS1

This history topic has been designed to be taught in Year 1 Term 3 and the literacy links make that assumption but there is plenty of challenge for Y2 pupils as well.  The downloadable planner...
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What do we remember on Poppy Day / Remembrance Day?

This session revolves around a PowerPoint presentation which poses 6 significant questions, each designed to encourage pupils to think and to share their knowledge and understanding of this annual event.

Question 1

Who and what do we remember on Poppy Day? Show PowerPoint slide 2 which shows poppies...
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The Great Fire of London – Key Stage 1

2 SMART TASKS AND Using de Bono’s Thinking Hats approach to deepen children’s understanding of the Great Fire. A fascinating short article in which 2 talented infant teachers explain how they successfully used de Bono’s Thinking Hats approach to both deepen pupils’ understanding of the...
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Louis Braille – evaluating the video

This lesson comes at the end of the sequence of lessons which explore Louis Braille's life and achievements.  Rather than using a video for information and atmosphere, this lesson uses it to help pupils to evaluate what they have seen.  They first consider what they...
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How could the unsinkable Titanic sink?

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...
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How should we film the sinking of the Titanic?

Stephen Spielberg has asked for a historically accurate poster for a new film he is planning on the sinking of the Titanic.  He wants school children to design a poster for him, but it MUST be historically accurate.  The children can only ensure this if...
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Teaching Scott of the Antarctic to Key Stage 1

Those of you who are thinking that this choice of famous person seems to presage a return to an Our Island Story approach to heroes and derring-do, couldn't be further from the reality in the classroom. The topic goes well beyond discussions of bravery and adventure,...
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Teaching Louis Braille: Famous Person Key Stage 1

Louis Braille will feature in many schools' Key Stage1 curriculum whether formally through the history curriculum or as part of one of the supported charities. He may be mentioned in assemblies or he might be part of a broader cross-curricular topic on senses. Either way...
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Teaching Toys to Key Stage 1

Toys is an obvious topic to select for infants. Not only is it appealing , at least initially, it is also one where you can find a good range of artefacts. Investigating these objects helps not only in Art and Science but also in Design...
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In Living Memory: Key Stage 1

Comparing pupils' lives with the recent past not only enables pupils to handle more familiar sources and make direct comparisons with their own experiences, it also opens up opportunities for using oral history.  For this reason 3 specific topics have been chosen as a focus...
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Teaching Myself – Muddled Bags

As you would expect, it is far better to start with the children themselves and images of them growing up, before moving on to look at two or more generations, which fits more naturally into Year 2. With Myself the focus must be not only...
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Teaching Caxton and Bell at Key Stage 1

These two famous people are linked by the theme of communication; spreading the word. Tim Berners-Lee founder of the world wide web could also be mentioned to bring the topic up-to-date, but his life will prove less interesting to study in detail than the other...
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Comparing different nursery rhymes: Wee Willie Winkie

This fun lesson uses images and very simple text as well as artefacts. It provides an essential grounding in an understanding of the concepts of 'then and now', and a 'long time ago. The use of simple artefacts makes the lesson come alive for pupils...
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Teaching the Wright Brothers as a Famous Person in Key Stage 1

The Wright brothers offers an exciting opportunity for pupils to explore a topic that should engage their interest, provide plenty of opportunities for drama and creative thinking and should fit well into a cross-curricular topic plan. Pupils live in a highly technologically-driven world, so this...
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Teaching the Gunpowder Plot to Key Stage 1

Ever since the Gunpowder Plot was included in the Programme of Study for Key Stage 1, there have been howls of protest from infant teachers who protest that it is futile trying to teach KS1 pupils the motivation behind Guy Fawkes' actions.  Whilst I do...
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What did people really think of Florence Nightingale?

This lesson was taught by Judith Holmes, of Awbridge Primary School, Hampshire.  Judith has supplied QCA with a number of her high quality lessons and planning.  They can be found in the 'History Matters/ It worked for me' part of the site.   In this...

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Grace Darling: setting up the enquiry

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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Teaching In Living Memory to Key Stage 1

Within living memory is one of the periods of time KS1 pupils need to study. At first sight it might seem obvious that this is the period best suited to Year 1, because it is more familiar. If you think a little longer you may...
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