Teaching KS3 History: Overviews
>>UPDATES October 2014: Smart Task added see below and Post-1939 overview In Keith Robbins’ recent study of the last 75 years of world history, he identifies a number of key themes. How many of your pupils will leave KS3 knowing what these are? Have you designed an end-of keystage study to embrace these? For reference his book is called Transforming the World: Global Political History since World War II and is published by Palgrave Macmillan. You may have your own favourite themes, but the ones he includes are:
1. Decline of European overseas empires
2. Rise of the Superpowers and their attempts to mould the world in their image 
3. The challenge to their dominance from China
4. The collapse of the Soviet Union
5. The survival of the US as a pre-eminent military force.
With the advent of the KS3 curriculum September 2014, most schools are now experimenting with more radical ways of teaching overviews. Some of you will be running longitudinal studies looking at change over, say, 2,000 years.  These may occur at the beginning of the Y7 course or perhaps at the end of the Key Stage looking backwards.  At other times, you may want to look forwards and backwards, building an overview out of a depth study.  As yet many of these exciting ideas are still in the experimental stage.  When teachers start reporting obvious success with these overview lessons, examples will start appearing on the site.  You can expect lessons connected to themes such as: Living and believing; Power and protest; Conflict and co-operation; Empires; Migration and settlement 

There will also be lessons on development studies such as Crime and Punishment through Time. Schools teaching Modern World often find that using this SHP module fits well.
International relations overview 1914-2004 using a piece of COAL ADDED OCTOBER 2014 Interesting starter activity for KS3 or GCSE overview of important changes in Europe in  the 20th century. Starts with a lump of coal – from the Upper Silesian coalfield. Students have to work out which key events and developments, as many as 7, can be related to ownership of just this lump of coal.
Minted: Telling the stories of changing British rulers by exploring 10 signfiicant coins
On the move: teaching the theme of migration

Teaching overviews
As you develop your overviews, especially those around British history, I warmly recommend that you bear in mind Andrew Chater’s website Timelinestv. Not only does it offer good timelines, organised by important themes, it also makes a point of referring forwards and backwards in time. This is done succinctly and accessibly, providing short film clips that can easily be integrated into a number of lessons, bringing variety and high interest levels.  Andrew usually takes a film crew to the site of significant events and uses this as a way of linking to the present but also to other linked events.
In terms of textbooks, you will find some thoughtful overview work, as you would expect, from Ian Dawson. As with his earlier GCSE History of Medicine and Crime and Punishment work, Ian can be relied on to give clear an authoritative overviews. I particularly like his attempt to show, by way of a living graph, how living conditions changed over the 900 year span between 1100 to 2000.You can find this in his book SHP History Year 7 (Hodder Education 2008) p188-9.

On the move: teaching the theme of migration at KS3 Smart Task


When looking at movement and settlement as a theme you will clearly want to look at: • the reasons for both immigration and emigration (invasion ,expulsion, immigration • how invaders were treated, through a series of case studies • the effects of movements The choice of case studies will...
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