This lesson works really well because the tension you build into the waiting room activity gets all the class involved and focused.  The more able pupils have a specific, more challenging role to play, working out an explanation that assuages the rage of an angry Spanish king. The rest of the class has to improve this explanation, having worked on a few accounts the able group have not had access to.

Learning objectives

  • children can identify a range of possible reasons for the failure of the Armada
  • they can group and classify causes of the Armada’s failure
  • they grasp that Spanish reasons for the failure might be different to English reasons
  • the more able can prioritise causes

Step 1

Recapping on the events of the Armada and returning to a map used during the last session, can the children speculate as to why the Armada might have been defeated?  Some of their answers will be based on knowledge of the impact of the weather, others might be more commonsensical ‘guesses’ such as “the English had better ships/leaders etc” .

Step 2 – Waiting room role play

At this stage inject real excitement and tempo. Tell the children that a very

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