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 why this was such a big fire.  After all, there would have been very many fires in 17th century England !!

Learning objectives

  • children can distinguish between simple reasons and mere description
  • they can give three valid reasons for the fire, to do with the nature of the buildings, the streets, the weather and poor fire fighting
  • pupils can compare three contrasting accounts and discuss the similarities and differences
  • children are able to give their own explanation with confidence
  • more able pupils explore short-term factors such as wind direction and long dry, hot summer and can identify reasons from a newspaper facsimile
  • extension: more able pupils see if they can read an original 17th newspaper account giving reasons for the fire and identify two or three for themselves buried within the archaic language. (A transcript is provided on the last two PowerPoint slides !!)

 

Step 1

Introduce the session by recapping what the children

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