This short but engaging task precedes any detailed analysis of the terms of the treaty itself. It has four distinct elements: prediction; analysis of a rarely seen German poster; attaching significance; and refining ideas based on most recent scholarship. Step 1 Firstly, students have to work in...Read more
The Unholy Alliance: why on earth did Hitler and Stalin sign the Nazi-Soviet Pact when they clearly hated each other?Starting with the historical puzzle of why Stalin and Hitler signed the Non-Aggression pact on August 1939 which so shocked the world, students then work collaboratively...
Latest statistics prove invaluable when making comparisons across time. Today, fewer than 5% of street robberies and burglaries are being solved across England and Wales. Unsolved crimes have risen by 20% in the last 3 years There has been an 83% rise in unsolved violent crimes in London. Only...Read more
Most anachronism activities used in schools are the rather naff ones put before Y7 pupils in an introduction to What is History. You know the sort of thing: Roman soldiers wearing wrist watches. This activity is...Read more
This is the first of two lessons on transportation and owes its genesis to an idea from Richard McFahn when an Advanced Skills Teacher for history in Hampshire. It starts by revealing clues connected with the topic, one by one, to arouse students' curiosity. They...Read more
This history puzzle focuses on a well-known painting, Across the Continent, but one which is actually more puzzling than might at first appear. The task starts simply and then becomes complex. Initially, all students have to do is to annotate a copy of the 1868 painting of...Read more
This is a very straightforward, yet highly effective task which asks students to distinguish between the generic and the specific, to speculate about possible reasons from clues, to think creatively about historical myths and just as importantly to know how to get full marks on...Read more
Students are taken back to the year 1860 before there was a transcontinental railway. They are asked to speculate about the likely impact of the coming of the railroad. In order to do this, students are placed in groups. They are each allocated a role....Read more
This lesson draws heavily on the ideas of Sarah Herrity, Advanced Skills Teacher, Wyvern Technology College, near Winchester. It moves students from their own initial perceptions of cowboys, through to the harsh realities of life. After an initial card sorting activity, students have to consider...Read more
This lesson worked really well with lower attaining Y10 students who had already studied the Plains Indians and the contact between the early mountain men at the trading posts. This was their first lesson on movement West. They had never used artefacts before in their GCSE...Read more
In this short activity students are shown two contrasting images of a physician inspecting a patient’s urine. Students have to guess the provenance and date. It transpires that they are 250 years apart. Does this mean then that no progress was made in the way...Read more
A smart task based on an original idea from Lorna Hunter, of Swanmore Technology College.This deceptively simple example of a familiar technique takes students from the known to the unknown. They begin by annotating all they can see in the picture, available on...
To help students remember who the key individuals were in the history of medicine, you might like to present them as members of two opposing football teams.... [private] Team A is clearly the best squad of 11, perhaps with a couple of substitutes. The ‘second team’ would be the next...Read more
This is a short, fun SMART task. All the instructions are on the PowerPoint presentation. Start with slide 2 which sets the puzzle, a paradox. If Jenner was so highly regarded and his ideas paved the way for the eventual eradication of smallpox, why then...Read more
This quick activity asks students to explore the detail in Rowlandson’s cartoon called ‘Amputation’. They score one mark for each of the 10 labelled examples of relevant detail and 3 marks each for good inferences. If they can explain the purpose of the cartoon they...Read more
The lesson starts with a glass of water which you have filled to roughly half way. Students have to say whether they would describe the bottle as half full or half-empty. Use this to introduce the notion of historians who take the optimistic and pessimistic points...Read more
This short task was designed to combat the tendency many students have to simply describe rather than evaluate the policy. To help them make judgments they are given up to 16 pieces of evidence to consider (resource sheet 1). They discuss each card and then...Read more
Fascinating starter in which students have to spot and then explain the differences between three pairs of photos of Soviet leaders Lenin and Stalin taken between 1920 and 1930. Excellent material to promote discussion of manipulation of leaders’ image and the cult of the personality.
This simple starter uses just two contrasting photographs, one showing the popularity of Johnson’s policy towards Vietnam, the other opposition to it. How can we explain the difference? Students generate questions to ask about each source before being given the answers on the PowerPoint presentation. ...Read more
Three separate short activities help students produce a top grade answer to the question.Read more
Task I - brainstorming early ideasThis first introductory task simply asks students to consider the various reasons why the US got involved in Vietnam, going over what has already been learned. Students...
Quick ranking activity for GCSE/AS students. Students are asked to consider the relative significance of 11 possible arguments that have been used by historians who claim that the Montgomery bus boycott was the real start of the Civil Right movement in USA. The 11 arguments and full...Read more
Students are given a set of influence cards which help them to work out the answer to an apparent paradox. If people were getting rich quick in the 1920s, why then was there such a crash in 1929? Here the focus is on students making their...Read more
This lesson on a fairly familiar theme approaches GCSE cartoon analysis in a different way. Instead of showing the students the cartoon they are to interpret, they are simply given an outline, without the detail and certainly without the text. Using their contextual knowledge students...Read more
This Smart task uses a Punch cartoon as part of a lesson on the Korean War. It carefully steers students through several thinking processes. To start with they have to raise good historical questions. They then annotate a copy using the guidelines provided. When you...Read more
Prior to writing an answer to this question students will need to organise their thinking. These factor cards might help. Ask students to think of different ways in which to arrange the cards to create a pattern that might help shape their answer to the question....Read more
To support the teaching of the GCSE thematic study, Crime and Punishment, the Digital Panopticon team has developed Criminal Lives, 1780-1925 an exhibition and education pack for schools. This is an eight panel pop-up banner exhibition that uses historical images and archival documents to explore...Read more
Students have to divide a $100 million bequest to those people who did most to develop penicillin. But in what ratio? Should Fleming get it all? What about the Oxford team, Florey and Chain, even Heatley? Students create a living graph to show the turning...Read more
The first batch of lessons focuses on four examination favourites but each adds a different subtle twist that lifts the lesson and makes students much more active and involved in their learning.< The lesson on the economic prosperity of the 1920s encourages students to work out...Read more
This section, dominated by the Cold War focuses mainly on teaching its origins, its main crises and the reason why it came to an end. With the recent 'strengthening' of GCSE specifications many schools who had hitherto taught Inter-war International Relations alongside Germany 1918-39, now...Read more
This activity is great for getting students off their feet and talking to every other students in the class - with a clear purpose! The idea is that every student is given a role card. You will want to differentiate these, matching the complexity of the...Read more
This smart task works as a starter. Students are given 7 reasons why Hitler came to power. In just 5 minutes, and working in pairs, they have to see if they can find and explain any links between the reasons given on Resource Sheet 1...Read more
In pairs, Y9/GCSE students visit 9 different cartoons posted around the wall. They have to work out: a. Which cause is being ‘covered’ in each cartoon - sometimes two. b. Which causes are NOT covered. They are given a textbook diagram explaining the causes in the form of an...Read more
In this varied series of activities, students predict from pictures, categorise influence cards, and create a tweet before structuring an answer that will impress a GCSE examiner.Read more
StarterProject slide 2 which is a pretty dramatic image. What does it show and how does it help answer...
In this short starter smart task students are given two contradictory accounts of the start of the Korean War, both emanating from Korea. But which account do they think is more plausible and which extract goes with which book? Students look for loaded language and...Read more
Fun lesson in which small groups have to predict punishments meted out for specific crimes in 1786 using original documents and then see if they were correct. They then try to work out why so few executions took place, prioritising their ideas with support to...Read more
The activities in this very varied lesson ask students to raise questions, place sources on a continuum, add analysis to a short descriptive account and quickly tweet a caption to three contemporary cartoons. Starter Show slide 1 which is a German poster from 1949 advertising an exhibition...Read more
The aim of this short task is to encourage students to look really closely at images for what is there, not what they think should be there. Students are asked to consider how they might expect Hitler to be portrayed on a propaganda poster. They are...Read more
If Britain was only a few days away from defeat in August 1940 how on earth did she win the Battle of Britain a month later?PLEASE NOTE - This lesson was aimed at Key Stage 3 but should be capable of being used with minimal...
In this series of short tasks GCSE students predict, infer, gather information and then improve existing explanations of the impact of the Californian Gold Rush. Firstly, students have to use their existing contextual knowledge to predict what the likely consequences might be. This encourages them to...Read more
Great new Migration site www.ourmigrationstory.org.uk Our Migration Story: The Making of Britain is an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded collaboration between the Runnymede Trust and academics based at the universities of Cambridge and Manchester. Drawing on the words and research of over 60 historians based in...Read more
This week ( September 26,2016) saw the scheduling by Historic England of several London bear pits so they will not now be built over. The listing of these baiting areas in Bankside near the Globe theatre has highlighted the close relationship between bear baiting, when...Read more
Historians to this day still argue as to whether there was a Blitz spirit or not. Much depends on the evidence they use. This ‘Killer evidence’ Smart Task enables you to discover which evidence the students think is most powerful for each side and which would...Read more