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 when they were grading individual lessons. 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.

pyramids
Ancient Egypt – SMART task – Puzzle corner: Mystery of the pyramids in the desert

This thinking skills task has been designed to encourage pupils to work out plausible answers to the puzzling question, one…

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olympic rings
Teaching Olympic games in 2024

Are you planning to teach about the Olympic games which are coming to Paris in July 2024? If so you…

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britain during ww2 knowledge organiser
Britain during the Second World War knowledge organiser – KS2

In this topic you will learn why Britain went to war and was threatened with invasion by Hitler’s Germany during…

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shang dynasty
Shang dynasty knowledge organiser – KS2

You are studying the Shang dynasty because it was the first Chinese civilization in ancient times and one for which…

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Shang dynasty – KQ1 – Why do YOU think the Shang dynasty MIGHT be important?

Lively introductory session which creatively gets pupils to find things out for themselves and check their understanding using bells and…

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shang oracle bone
Shang dynasty – KQ2 – How different was the Shang society to other civilizations at the time?

Using the expert/envoy technique to research and disseminate information from dossiers on a range of different aspects of Shang society,…

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Shang dynasty – KQ3 – What can we tell about the Shang dynasty from the objects that have survived?

Here the focus is on developing enquiry-led learning which is as much about asking valid historical questions as it is…

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shang tomb
Shang dynasty – KQ4 – Why has our understanding of the Shang dynasty changed so much in the last 100 years?

Opening up the tricky concept of interpretations of the past, this session enables pupils to grasp that history is always…

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shang postcard
Shang dynasty – KQ5 – What was distinctive about the Shang people’s beliefs?

Having used a fast-paced Information Run activity to acquire the key points about Shang religion pupils are set the task…

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di xin
Shang dynasty – KQ6 – If the Shang dynasty was so well organised why did come to an end after just 600 years and what makes it so special for people today?

Pupils compare 5 different simple textbook explanations, which they colour code, before building their own explanation, based on what seems…

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crime and punishment
Crime and punishment knowledge organiser – KS2

You are studying this topic in history because it helps you to understand how things have changed,(and have stayed roughly…

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black and british knowledge organiser
Black and British knowledge organiser – KS2

You are studying this topic in the hope that you will discover how Black British is an important part of…

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victorian britain knowledge organiser
Victorian Britain knowledge organiser – KS2

You are learning about Victorian Britain because this was a really significant period of huge change in industry and technology,…

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mayan civilisation knowledge organiser
Mayan civilisation knowledge organiser – KS2

The height of Maya civilization came at the time when the Saxons were fighting the Vikings in Britain, but it…

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benin featured image
Benin knowledge organiser – KS2

Benin was a very important civilization, not just within Africa but in world history too. An important part of what…

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vikings fi
Vikings knowledge organiser – KS2

Probably one of the most captivating of KS2 history topics, the Vikings present wonderful opportunities to capitalise on pupils’ fascination…

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anglo saxons knowledge organiser
Anglo-Saxons knowledge organiser – KS2

During this period England emerged as a recognisable nation and Christianity became established. The recent coronation of Charles III is…

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Keeping up to-date with teaching of the Maya – Archaeologists uncover scoreboard for ancient Maya ball game

In the Archaeological Zone of Chichén Itzá, archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have discovered a…

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Adapting Keystage history lessons – FAQs

1. Why are lessons still called ‘outstanding’? I am often asked how the lessons section of the site should be…

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ancient greece knowledge organiser
Ancient Greece knowledge organiser – KS2

In your study of Ancient Greece you will learn how a civilization that flourished over 2500 years ago still influences…

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Roman Britain knowledge organiser – KS2

The arrival of the Romans to Britain and their occupation for over 350 years marks a turning point in the…

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stone age knowledge organiser
Stone Age to Iron Age knowledge organiser – KS2

The earliest known humans arrived in these lands around 900,000 years ago. During this time there were huge changes: the…

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top 10 history teaching
10 places to go to find out about your local area

1. Go to your library Your local library will nearly always have a local history section that can tell you…

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Black and British – KQ1 – How shall we tell the story of the first Black Britons in Britain?

Pupils watch a brief introductory video for just 70 seconds, the point at which the film stops short of identifying…

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black and british
Black and British – KQ2 – What part did Black people play in British life when they started to settle 500 years ago?

Focusing on four key documents, pupils have to work out what we can say about the role of Black people…

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slave trade
Black and British – KQ3 – What difference did the slave trade make to the experience of the Black people?

Having understood the nature of the transatlantic slave trade, and Britain’s role within it, pupils work in expert groups to…

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barrister
Black and British – KQ6 – How far has life improved for Black people living in Britain in the last 60 years?

This active session asks pupils to create a physical fortunes graph to show the effects that changes in the law…

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top 10 history teaching
Top 10 things your KS2 pupils need to know – Early Islamic civilization

Top 10 things your KS2 pupils need to know, and remember, about Early Islamic civilization 1. 1000 years of extraordinary…

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top 10 history teaching
Top 10 things your pupils need to know – Roman Britain

Top 10 things your pupils need to know about Roman Britain 1. Roman Britain was part of a huge empire…

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Ancient Egypt : a new Pompeii?

A few weeks ago, Egyptian archaeologists the discovery of a “lost city” of the pharaohs dating back some 3,400 years…

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Interactive Timeline
Beyond Face Value – KQ1 – Henry VIII a question of interpretations. Could you spot Henry VIII in a police line-up?

This is a really fun lesson which shows children what is meant by historical interpretations in an engaging and accessible…

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Elizabeth I portrait. Why was it rejected?
Beyond Face Value – KQ2 – Elizabeth I portraits – Why do Elizabeth I portraits mysteriously start showing her looking younger towards the end of her reign?

This powerful lesson on Tudor portraits as propaganda gives pupils the chance to appreciate that things aren’t always what they…

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Children working in Victorian factorie
Beyond Face Value – KQ3 – So what were Victorian factory conditions really like? A Y6 study in provenance

In this lesson, pupils are shown 3 images of factory conditions from early/mid Victorian times. Using their knowledge of factory…

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planner
Outstanding medium term planner for Ancient Civilizations: Egypt Y3

At one point in recent years, there were real fears that Ancient Egypt would be axed from the KS2 curriculum….

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planner
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…

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planner
Planner for Britain at War: The Home Front 1939-45

The new detailed downloadable planner below has key questions, suggested activities, resources and assessments for teaching The Home Front in…

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stoneage
Stone Age to Iron Age – KQ1 – Is it true to say that Stone Age man was just a simple hunter gatherer only interested in food and shelter?

This KS2 outstanding history lesson on the Stone Age revolves around the reveal of an object found at Star Carr…

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Blitz spirit
Ideas for teaching the post-1066 thematic unit at Key Stage 2

Whatever you choose to study for your post-1066 thematic unit here are some pointers to help. 1. Try to make…

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WW2 – KQ1 – Why did Britain have to go to war in 1939?

Pupils learn the sequence of events leading to the Second World war before a lively role-play debate in which they…

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planner
Planning for teaching 1000 years of Crime and Punishment (KS2 Thematic Unit)

This post-1066 thematic unit has been produced to meet demand from KS2 teachers for a topic that is genuinely relevant…

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planner
Planning for teaching Life in Tudor times at KS2

As you know, the requirement to study Life in Tudor Britain was mysteriously and inexplicably removed from the Key Stage…

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planner
Outstanding Scheme of Work for teaching the Anglo Saxons

You’ll probably be thinking that there is an awful lot of pre-1066 British history in the KS2 curriculum with the…

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saxon invasion
Anglo-Saxons – KQ1a – Why did the Saxons invade? Push or pull?

A fun thinking skills activity in which pupils infer from visual clues before moving on to analyse a range of…

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stoneage
Stone Age to Iron Age – KQ2 – How much did life change when man learned how to farm?

This session focuses on the concept of change and continuity. Pupils learn of the major changes that came in the…

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stoneage
Stone Age to Iron Age – KQ2 additional information – Comparing life of hunter gathers with farmers

A simple idea to make the key differences as clear as possible, using just two central questions: how did they…

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trial by comat
Crime and punishment – KQ1 – How do we know what punishment was like 800 years ago.

How were criminals punished 800 years ago, and how do we know? The story of the fox and the goose…

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evacuating children
WW2 – KQ2a – Why was it necessary for children to be evacuated? Introductory task

Why was it necessary for children to be evacuated throughout the war, and what was the experience of evacuation really…

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don't do it mother
WW2 – KQ2b – Evacuation enquiry – links with numeracy

This lesson comes towards the beginning of the topic after pupils have explored the nature and reasons for evacuation. I…

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