Outstanding Lessons and smart tasks

This section comprises two parts: the main one is the series of outstanding, fully-resourced and described, lessons graded 1 by an OFSTED history inspector. You are given the learning objectives and every activity in sequence all with accompanying PowerPoint presentations and PDF files. The other lesson activities, from parts of lessons, are called smart tasks, exemplifying features of outstanding lessons and, again, all fully resourced.

Great starter on interpretations of Henry VIII

Working closely with academic authors, in this case Catherine Fletcher, always gives a fascinating insight into what historians want to write and publishers want to sell.  This is fertile ground for exploring the question of interpretations with pupils at KS2 and KS3. With this simple...
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Outstanding Scheme of Work for Stone Age to Iron Age

This scheme of work, judged outstanding by an OFSTED history inspector now links to all the fully-resourced outstanding lessons and activities making the teaching of this topic completely self-contained. Not only does it ensure that you cover all the significant content, and develop key historical...
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Outstanding medium-term planner for Vikings

This KS2 Vikings planner, judged outstanding by an OFSTED history inspector now links to all the fully-resourced outstanding lessons and smart tasks making the teaching of this topic completely self-contained. Not only does it ensure that you cover all the significant content, and develop key...
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Britain at war. The Home Front KQ5

Why is it so difficult to be sure what life was really like on the Home Front?

Two great tasks which together make up Key Question 5 of the upcoming Britain at War medium term plan, Why is it so difficult to be sure what life...
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Top ten ingredients of a good KS2 post-1066 thematic unit.

Teaching Crime and Punishment as a post-1066 thematic unit at KS2 For a while now, a number of schools have been developing interesting thematic units that span 1,000 years and which redress the KS2 imbalance of pre-and post-1066 thematic studies. One of the most successful appears...
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The Victorian Era: Dark Age or Golden Age?

This is the concluding lesson on the Victorians.  It starts with a plate and a poster commemorating the achievements of Victorian Britain to set it in an international context.  Pupils are then invited to weigh up the bad aspects of the reign before arriving...

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Vikings: What were they like?

This lesson gives the topic on the Vikings a really active start. Pupils are placed in role as Saxon spies who have to find out what makes the Vikings' boats so special.  You'll love the technique known as reconstruction relay, because after the fast...

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Ancient Greece: Short task on using Greek pots

What can I do with just one Greek pot in the resource cupboard? Collaborative and creative storyboarding At the core of this activity is the development of pupils' creative imagination and their sense of the past as evidence for just one object.  To make it work...
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Ancient Greece: Citizenship

This full lesson is a role-play activity looking at Greek democracy in the context of the rebuilding of the Parthenon. It starts with a link to the building of the Millennium Dome. In Ancient Greece, anyone who did not fulfil their democratic duties was called an...
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What was life like for women in Ancient Greece?

This simple lesson on life for women in Ancient Greece, based around a PowerPoint presentation, makes an excellent contribution to literacy and also makes pupils aware of the nature of evidence and the need to be careful when making generalisations.  The children draw conclusions from...
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Teaching history using the Olympic Games KS2 and KS3

We thought we would offer you a range of different cameos showing how the history of the Olympics could be imaginatively integrated into your current teaching.

The teaching activities below have all be tried and tested in schools and have been judged outstanding by...

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Embalming the dead in Ancient Egypt KS2

Helping the Hopeless Embalmer

This really fun lesson, in the style of 'mantle of expert', asks the children to help the Hopeless Embalmer whose boss has left him in charge of preparing the bodies for the afterlife.  Unfortunately, the embalmer is slow to understand and needs...
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Ancient Egyptian after-life lesson KS2

Understanding the Book of the Dead: from page to stage

Using simple drama techniques to make a very old document come alive, this lesson involves pupils becoming the characters in the pictures of the Book of the Dead so that they can personalise what...

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Lesson using evidence of Life in Ancient Egypt KS2

Crimewatch Ancient Egypt: Tomb Robbers

This fun activity is a brilliant way of developing pupils’ deductive thinking skills in a realistic context.  Pupils are cast in the role of police detectives trying to solve a 3,000 year old crime, one with a difference.  This...

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KS2 Quick Quiz on the Vikings

This exit task is a quick way of working out whether the key messages of your teaching about the Vikings have been understood and is best done towards the end of this KS2 topic so that you still have time to remedy any misapprehensions. But first...
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Linking history with numeracy; a Tudor enquiry

More glass than wall? Is this a fair description of Hardwick Hall? And how do we find out?

This SMART task links history with numeracy asking pupils to apply numeracy techniques to a famous historical building.  Pupils are shown a photograph of an early Tudor building,...
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Primary History: Teaching Victorian Britain Key Stage 2

Astonishingly, at a stroke, Gove has removed the Victorians from the KS2 history curriculum where it had reigned supreme for decades. At least he thinks he has. Most primary teachers will not give up this topic without a struggle so will either use their locality...
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Teaching Life in Tudor Times for KS2

The world has gone mad! Gove has axed the Tudors from Key Stage 2 history. My advice. Carry on regardless. It is too good a learning experience for pupils for them to miss out on. if you want to see how you could infiltrate...
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How to teach Ancient Greece to Key Stage 2

Teaching Ancient Greece in the 2014 history curriculum.  To all intents and purposes, the ancient Greek planning and all the outstanding lessons fit just as perfectly with the new curriculum from 2014 as well as the existing one.  The only difference might be is where...
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Extending the BBC website on Eric the evacuee

The BBC children’s history section has been in touch with the school asking for their help in extending their website section on Eric the evacuee.  There is nothing wrong with it: indeed, it is very popular.  That’s why they want to make it longer. There...
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Teaching Life in Britain 1930-1945 at Key Stage 2

Inexplicably axed by Gove from the 2014 curriculum, my advice is to carry on teaching this highly successful unit focusing on the Home Front. You can shave time from other units to make room for this because you know it works so well and leads...
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Teaching Local History at Key Stage 2

So, where do we start if we haven’t a clue about Local History? Unlike all other areas of study Local History has no real prescribed content. If you live in the middle of a new town, then your locality is quite different from that of a school...
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Teaching Anglo-Saxons & Vikings for Key Stage 2

With effect from 2014, the new National Curriculum has afforded separate status for individual units of work on the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings. Whilst this may be applauded in some circles, it has increased the amount of pre-1066 history to be learned, at the expense of...
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KS2 Outstanding Lesson on the Old Stone Age

Is it true to say that Stone Age man was just a simple hunter gatherer only interested in food and shelter?  Key Question 1

This KS2 outstanding history lesson on the Stone Age revolves around the reveal of an object found at Star Carr in Yorkshire...
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So who did build the pyramids?

This active lesson for Year 4 has been adapted from the one featured in the QCA Teacher Assessment Activities for history at Key Stage 2 (2006).   It involves pupils seeking out clues as in a treasure hunt before researching, as a team, the evidence for...
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Is this another Roman villa? Key Question 4 part 2

For this lesson pupils are in role as experts to help Tony Robinson’s Time Team.  He has seen aerial photographs that suggest there might be a villa nearby but none have ever been found there before.  He wants to know what to look for...

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Why did the Saxons invade? Push or pull? KQ1

A fun thinking skills activity in which pupils infer from visual clues before moving on to analyse a range of influence cards and evaluate a video before coming up with their own explanation for the Anglo-Saxons invasion.

This activity is part of a series...

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Where did the early Anglo-Saxons live and how do we know?

This ambitious but engaging lesson asks children to test some simple hypotheses about where the early Anglo-Saxons settled.  They start with some very straightforward statements to make sure they know how to use a map key.  To make this fun they have to make...

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What image do we have of the Vikings? KQ1

This two part session gives the topic on the Vikings a really active start. Following an introduction to the Vikings in time and place, including a competitive Time Team task, pupils investigate stereotypical images of Vikings as a start to the overall enquiry. The main fun...
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