20th Century World

KS3 history 20th century world outstanding lessons

For 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 from 1914-2012.

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 is being ‘covered’ in each cartoon - sometimes two. b. Which causes are NOT covered. They are given a textbook diagram explaining the causes in the form of an...
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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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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 activity has proved to be really effective. Give every student a different role card and ask them to talk to every other member in the...
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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 prelude to drawing out weightier themes. Worksheet and answers in resources section below. A full lesson on What do the Olympic Games tell us about...
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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 old ground again but there is nothing to stop you taking student’s understanding to a deeper level. In addition, to looking at contrasting interpretations and...
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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 erected in Trafalgar Square. Pupils are asked to consider whether it ought to be removed in light of what happened at Dresden. There are...

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Spinning Dunkirk

Rather than simply asking pupils passively to read examples of propaganda surrounding the evacuation of Dunkirk they are asked to put a positive spin on it for themselves. Having been told the harsh realities of what happened, they have to work in groups as the...
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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 Fisher's book on thinking skills in history. Whilst the core activity remains the same, the refinements added here make so much difference. For here we...
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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 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...
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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 sources, this lesson aims to capitalise on pupils' innate interest in the event.  They are encouraged to carry out an evidence-based enquiry in which they...
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