The Battle of Marathon. A history mystery KQ3 part 2

This lesson on the Battle of Marathon makes a major contribution to pupils’ thinking skills. They are presented with a paradox.  How could the David of Athens beat the Goliath of Persia?

Instead of being given a  textbook account or a video explanation, pupils are asked to work things out for themselves, in the form a of a history mystery.  Because they have tried to make their own meaning first, when they later come to look at historical interpretations of the event, it will mean so much more.

How on earth could tiny Athens beat mighty Persia at Marathon? – a history mystery

Learning objectives

  • pupils are able to work out which are valid and non-valid reasons for Athens’ victory at the Battle of Marathon
  •  they can sort and classify different reasons
  • they can evaluate a simple textbook account and suggest ways in which it might be improved

Step 1

Ask eleven boys (of course it could be girls if it was Sparta) to come out to the front.  Give ten of them a card with Persian soldier written on it.  Then give the remaining boy a card saying Athenian soldier.   Ask the Persians to stand on one side, the

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