Parchment in the flames – the World Turned Upside Down

This lesson uses a familiar post-Civil War source in an unusually intelligent way to give Y8 pupils a good understanding of the need to interpret sources in their historical context.  The featured pamphlet has been variously attributed and captioned with dates as far apart as 1642 and 1648.  Pupils solve the puzzle as to when it was actually produced.  It is one of the best examples I have seen of how a lesson becomes progressively more challenging as it unfolds.  It also manages to provide low attainers with a sufficiently strong foundation so that they can participate with interest and enjoyment.

This Year 8 lesson is based on one that was taught to a mixed-ability class at Bishop Challoner RC School in Basingstoke by Ken Pickering .  A few minor alterations, principally in terms of differentiation have been made, in the light of pupils’ comments and I have slightly altered the start.

Learning objectives

  • Pupils can identify some of the ways in which contemporary pamphlets portray the feeling of dislocation after the Civil War
  • Pupils can interpret the message of a 17th cartoon and grasp the sympathies of the author
  • They can use their contextual knowledge to predict when the
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