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. I am grateful to Steve Rollett, Head of History at Noadswood School, near Southampton for permission to use his lesson.

Learning objectives

  • students learn to process, interpret and then synthesise new information as it emerges
  • they deliberate on specific questions about possible motivation as well as
  • formulating their own hypothesis

Step 1

Start by explaining that the pupils will spend the lesson solving a murder  enquiry, probably one of the most important of the last century. Open the PowerPoint and set the scene of the murder taking them through the first slides. Then show Source B, the witness statement. It is revealed in two parts in order to leave students thinking that Archduke Franz Ferdinand was killed by a bomb. Students often work this out for themselves, of course, based on the state of his jacket. They then grasp from the rest of the source that the bomb missed – what does this mean?

Step 2

Then reveal source C, the murder weapon. More able students will infer that if he was shot,  there may have been more than one

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