International relations overview 1914-2004 using a piece of COAL Smart Task


Start the lesson dramatically by thumping a lump of coal on the desk. Explain that this lump of coal came from the Upper Silesia coalfield. By tracing who owned the coal throughout the 20C we can open up some of the big movements and changes within the century. Not only do we get the fall of the Austro-Hungarian uprising and subsequent revolutions, followed by the Peace terms and the establishment of a new state, a (nearby) plebiscite adjudicated by the League of Nations, we also touch on pre-war Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia and post-war return to Czech rule but under Cold War Soviet Control. The task finishes by covering the collapse of the Soviet Republic and the joining of the EU.

Step 1

Show slides 2 and 3 (a map).

Now ask the students to predict what changes in the 20th century might be highlighted by what happened to this Upper Silesian coalfield. Encouraging this broad overview will tease out some students’ broader knowledge of world affairs.

Step 2

Now set the challenge. Can the students work out which country is being referred to in each of the dated slides from the PowerPoint?

Differentiation by support. To help the

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