This section of the site look at smart tasks: short enquiry-led thinking skills activities. Unlike the outstanding lessons section, they do not attempt to offer a lesson plan but do offer a fully-resourced activity with clear learning objectives that can be used flexibly at different stages of a lesson. Some are starters, some plenaries but most are simply highly effective ways of deepening pupils’ historical understanding. At present there are smart tasks on the following. In time, there will be just as many smart tasks as full lessons, and probably more.

How did the Vikings try to take over the country and how close did they get?

This task encapsulates the struggle between the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings in an engaging way that really makes pupils think about the dynamics of the conflict – rather than ‘one damn event and treaty after another’. By using a technique called living (or fortunes) graph, pupils have to work collaboratively to create and then analyse a visual representation of the struggle. By making the shape themselves they are far more likely to understand and remember it.

What can we learn about life in the Stone Age from a study of Skara Brae?


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