Great Fire Smart Task .What’s going on in our mystery picture?

This simple starter activity uses a large, coloured, artist’s reconstruction of Pepys burying his possessions when he knows it is time to finally flee his home. Children will be familiar with the story though it will deliberately not have been looked at in detail so as not to spoil the curiosity engendered by this concealed image. It’s always a fine line, isn’t it between having enough context to make an informed guess and knowing immediately what the image is, thereby killing curiosity dead.

To try to build up a sense of clues being unravelled and revealed one by one, slide 2 of the PowerPoint presentation has been so animated that it builds up a story. This is how it goes.

Step 1

Projected onto the screen when the children come in is an image of just the man and the lantern.  What does this tell us about the picture?  Is it happening nowadays?  No?  How can we be sure?  Old fashioned hairstyle and feather in hat.  Old lantern rather than modern torch?  Children will be keen to speculate.  Ask them to share their ideas in pairs, so that if some pupils can already work it out for themselves they don’t

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