In this active lesson pupils start by speculating possible motives (given a couple of clues) and then work in groups of four to discover the full range of ideas historians have put forward. They then place them on a highly likely…not very likely spectrum before deciding which they think are the most plausible reasons. Following a ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’ competition they write their own Wikipedia entry for children’s wiki which must be as convincing as possible using just 100 words.

Learning objectives

  • Pupils learn to speculate using contextual knowledge.
  • They can give several reasons which historians have advanced for the writing of the Domesday Book and can offer their own plausible explanation for why they prefer one reason over the others.
  • They are able to synthesise their ideas and create their own written explanation.


Using the information on slides 3 and 4, and working in pairs, pupils are asked to speculate as to the possible reasons why William wanted the survey. Perhaps the two aspects worth stressing are the fact that he waited nearly 20 years to carry out the massive survey and that it was done in such great haste. So why then, why

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