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.

Why did they build Stonehenge? SMART TASK Key Question 4


Reveal slide 2 which is of the standing stones at Stonehenge. Can pupils recognise it as clues are revealed?

Step 1

Discuss the fact that it is Stonehenge and explain where it fits in time, showing slide 3 or using the BBC interactive timeline accessed from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/timeline/neolithic_timeline_noflash.shtml Now...
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Why did Britain have to go to war in 1939? KQ1

Pupils learn the sequence of events leading to the Second World war before a lively role-play debate in which they exchange well-rehearsed arguments verbally in the House of Commons and then write tight summaries of the key arguments for both sides. Step 1 Start with the puzzling...
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Why did punishments become so bloody in the 18th century? KQ4

Pupils label their own copy of a motivating Hogarth print showing popular attitudes to public executions before explaining the puzzling conundrum: when the number of death penalties was increased why did the number of executions actually go down?  Really good thinking skills stuff. Learning Objectives
  • Pupils...
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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 Anglo-Saxons being particularly prominent. The way round this, I think, is to skilfully link your teaching of the Saxons and the Vikings so the interrelationship...
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Planner for Britain at War: The Home Front 1939-45

The new  detailed downloadable planner ( July 2017) below has key questions, suggested activities, resources and assessments for teaching The Home Front in World War Two at KS2 and links with the lessons on the site. It has been released, on teachers' request, prior to...
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Why did Germany lose the Battle of Britain?

If Britain was only a few days away from defeat in August 1940 how on earth did she win the Battle of Britain a month later?

PLEASE NOTE - This lesson was aimed at Key Stage 3 but should be capable of being used with minimal...
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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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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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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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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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The opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb KS2: KQ3 part 1

The opening of Tutankhamun's tomb: a reconstruction relay

The activity that forms the basis of this lesson is called reconstruction relay. It is GUARANTEED to enthuse even the most recalcitrant Y4 boy! Pupils have to travel down a tunnel of tables to see pictures of the...
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So who did build the pyramids? KQ3 part 2

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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Using evidence of Life in Ancient Egypt KS2: KQ4

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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Embalming the dead in Ancient Egypt KS2: KQ5

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: KQ5 part 2

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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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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Evacuation enquiry – links with numeracy KQ2

This lesson comes towards the beginning of the topic after pupils have explored the nature and reasons for evacuation. I am grateful to Julie Tzivanidou of Cove Junior School, near Farnborough , for providing the original version of the PowerPoint presentation.

Learning objectives

  • pupils learn to...
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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 KQ2

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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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 Britain at War medium term plan, Why is it so difficult to be sure what life was...
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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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