How serious was the German naval threat before the First World War?

This lesson launches an enquiry in which students work in teams to arrive at their own answer to this question.  Following a very brief introduction, students are introduced to the idea of a naval race by running to post images of German and British battleships on the board.  This sets up the enquiry, clarified by explaining the historical debate they are going to enter.  They are then asked to frame their enquiry.  What questions will they need to ask?  Which sources of evidence will they need to use?  They are shown two sources and answer questions to help them evaluate them before being given access to even more.   After they have investigated for themselves, they feedback and are left with an interpretation to reflect on.

This lesson draws heavily on material provided by the Churchill Archive Centre .  We are grateful to the collection for permission to use their material in this way.  The initial kinaesthetic activity is a variation of the one produced by ‘Lesley-Ann’ that featured on the Teachers forum of www.schoolhistory.co.uk a while ago.

Learning objectives

Students will

  • raise relevant and fruitful historical questions
  • deepen their understanding of the types of sources that might be used
  • compare
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