An object-based problem-solving approach to learning about life during the Great Fire

This Smart Task is just part of a lesson and uses the power of concealed objects to fire children’s curiosity. Pupils work to help archaeologists establish the likely owner of the mystery bag found by builders when land for the London Olympics was being cleared.  By revealing each object, one by one, pupils gradually start making associations with the life of Pepys who they had heard of but not studied in detail.  This part of the lesson encouraged pupils to use the limited knowledge they had of Pepys to tie the objects into the narrative of his escape from the Great Fire

Learning objectives

  • Pupils learn to predict what each object might be, firstly by touch and smell
  • They make deductions based on the physical properties of the object e.g. ink on end of a feather quill
  • They learn to link the objects to the story of Pepys and the Great Fire.


Arouse the children’s attention by bringing in an old, very dirty, threadbare bag tied at the neck with old rope.  Make sure it smells of smoke by liberally adding soot. Inside are several objects such

You need to be logged in to view this content in full. Please Login or register