KS3 history 20th century world outstanding lessons

War and Peace switchFor many pupils this will be their last topic in KS3 history, though some history departments prefer to end with a retrospective long term study. Most pupils enjoy the 20th century, though we need to ensure it is not just one war after another. Almost inevitably the first lesson showcases the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, but this time as a murder mystery.

There are also a couple of engaging lessons on recruitment, with hypotheses to test (involving numeracy), and posters to analyse.The case study of Earnest Coleman provides a familiar history mystery, but with a twist. The much-admired lesson on Battalion 101 has already proved a massive hit, combining a history mystery with excellent opportunities for the development of pupils’ emotional intelligence. Similar skills are developed through a study of Dresden and the dropping of the atomic bombs. The post-war period, is approached by an overview using a tension graph and more original use of the 20th and 21st C Olympic Games as a reflection of the changing world.

Teaching the 20th Century World to Key Stage 3

For many pupils this will be their last topic in KS3 history, though some history departments prefer to end with…

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hitler and chamberlain cards
How well did Chamberlain play his cards at Munich? A KS3 smart task

This smart task asks pupils to think a little more deeply about why Chamberlain adopted the policy of appeasement. It…

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Rotten apple or …. How should we portray Dyer’s motivation in the Amritsar massacre?

This enquiry asks students to look critically at the depiction of the massacre in the film Gandhi as a way…

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How should Germany be treated at the Paris peace conference? KS3 or KS4 task

This short but engaging task precedes any detailed analysis of the terms of the treaty itself. It has four distinct…

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Why did President Truman drop the atomic bombs
Why did President Truman drop the atomic bombs in August 1945? A study in interpretations SMART TASK KS3

This is a well-covered topic and most of you will already have your own favoured approach.  For that reason I…

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franz ferdinand
Something about an ostrich – the assassination of Franz Ferdinand as a mystery to be solved

Pupils are fed information, asked to formulate their theories on who was killed, who did it, how, why and when….

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Did the number of deaths on the Western Front in World War One have any effect on the numbers joining up?

This superb lesson was the original idea of the history team at Toynbee School, near Southampton, and specifically the work…

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Suffragettes train ticket
What’s the truth behind the Suffragette derby of 1913?

This lesson is always popular. By adding newsreel footage and facsimile artefacts to the usual array of photographs and documentary…

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causes of ww1
How well do these cartoons cover the causes of World War One?

In pairs, Y9/GCSE students visit 9 different cartoons posted around the wall. They have to work out: a. Which cause…

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hitler propaganda
Hitler’s propaganda: the cult of leader. Reading internal clues. KS3 & 4 Smart Task

The aim of this short task is to encourage students to look really closely at images for what is there,…

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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…

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keep calm
Was there really a Blitz spirit? Killer evidence. Smart Task

Historians to this day still argue as to whether there was a Blitz spirit or not. Much depends on the…

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Market place: Why I didn’t oppose Hitler.

To help pupils to understand why so few people opposed Hitler in the 1930s the use of this market place…

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Which modern Olympic Games am I? Short KS3 Smart Task

This engaging smart task on the Olympics in the 20th century focuses pupils’ attention on significant individual games as a…

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KS3 & 4 The Causes of World War One: The Blame Game

This smart task which can be used from Y9 or for GCSE can be used as a form of diagnostic…

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Explaining why there were so many casualties on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. SMART TASK

This task, suitable for KS3 Year 9 or KS4 students, presents them with something of a conundrum.  When the Allies…

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battle of the somme
Why are these accounts of the Battle of the Somme, written by the same person, so different? SMART TASK

This task, suitable for Y9 in KS3 or KS4, drives at the heart of source evaluation. Students explore two sources,…

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Battalion 101. Why did they shoot? A history mystery

This lesson could be used as part of a Year 9 course or with the Germany module of Y10/11 SHP…

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Smart Task: Evacuation: was it worth it?

Many primary schools look in detail at evacuation in World War Two and you may not want to go over…

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Smart Task: How close to World War Three did the world come in the 65 years after World War Two?

Helping pupils to develop overviews of different timescales is central to the Key Stage 3 curriculum.  When so few carry…

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bomber harris statue
Smart Task: Was the bombing of Dresden justified?

Should the statue to Bomber Harris be removed? It is now 20 years since the statue to Bomber Harris was…

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Teaching Dunkirk at KS3 – WW2 – Spinning Dunkirk

Rather than simply asking pupils passively to read examples of propaganda surrounding the evacuation of Dunkirk they are asked to…

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History mystery. Why did Ernest join up in 1914, aged just 15?
Why did 15 year-old boys want to join up in 1914?

At the heart of this lesson lies a history mystery. Many of you will have seen something similar in Peter…

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