English Civil War enquiry: was the last year of the war more about sieges than pitched battles?

This enquiry lesson asks students to use a dataset about the last year’s fighting in the English Civil War to come to a conclusion as to whether it was a year of pitched battles or of sieges.  Mark Kishlansky in his book A Monarchy Transformed: Britain 1603-1714, states that “ In 1645 it was still not clear to either side whether the next year would be like the last, with small regional armies besieging strongholds, or if the main armies would engage in a single pitched battle”.  Pupils work in groups to provide the professor with their answer.

Learning objectives

  • pupils work out whether the English Civil War was a war of sieges or great battles;
  • they are able to support a conclusion based on evidence;
  • they understand that there might be limitations to some evidence;
  • they grasp that we have to be careful when extrapolating from limited evidence.

Step 1

Introduce the problem for today’s lesson using slide 2 of the PowerPoint.  Based on pupils’ prior knowledge of what had already happened in the Civil War between 1642 and 1644, pupils are asked to predict whether they think the last year of the war will be dominated by pitched

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