Outstanding GCSE lessons on International Relations

Much of this content is familiar GCSE ground of course. What you will find here are new angles and approaches. You will see from the enquiry into the naval race, that popular topics are given a new twist; students are asked to question bland textbooks assertions. Do all historians really agree that the naval race was a major cause of the war? Clearly not!

When it comes to the peace treaties, students are given the opportunity to participate in different role plays. With the League of Nations crises, such as Abyssinia, they are placed in the role of newspaper editors trying to make sense of the significance of the events for the future of European peace. They also analyse some of the more unfamiliar political cartoons.

There are some really interesting parts to this topic, not least the Drift to War. But there are also some dull ones, the ones we love teaching! such as the structure of the League of Nations. Many students find that some of the post-war treaties and disputes of the 1920s put a strain on their ability and willingness to remember lots of precise detail so we need to try harder with these to make the Aaland Island dispute come alive.

Outstanding Lessons and Smart Tasks

How can we explain the incredible margin of victory at the referendum for Anchluss in 1938?

How can we explain the incredible margin of victory at the referendum for Anchluss in 1938?     You need…

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Rotten apple or …. How should we portray Dyer’s motivation in the Amritsar massacre?

This enquiry asks students to look critically at the depiction of the massacre in the film Gandhi as a way…

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How should Germany be treated at the Paris peace conference? KS3 or KS4 task

This short but engaging task precedes any detailed analysis of the terms of the treaty itself. It has four distinct…

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Which cartoon best explains the paradox of the Nazi Soviet pact?

The Unholy Alliance: why on earth did Hitler and Stalin sign the Nazi-Soviet Pact when they clearly hated each other?…

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battle of the somme
Causes of World War One: problems of evidence. Why is it so difficult to work out who caused the First World War? Smart Task

This is a very short 5 minute warm-up activity to help students get a feel for the partisan sources that…

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causes of ww1
How well do these cartoons cover the causes of World War One?

In pairs, Y9/GCSE students visit 9 different cartoons posted around the wall. They have to work out: a. Which cause…

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When Italy signed two peace treaties with Abyssinia just 7 years before, why then did Mussolini invade in 1935? Explanation builder

Students are given a short answer to this question that appeared as an answer on the Student Room website. It…

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Why did Germany lose the Battle of Britain?

If Britain was only a few days away from defeat in August 1940 how on earth did she win the…

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KS3 & 4 The Causes of World War One: The Blame Game

This smart task which can be used from Y9 or for GCSE can be used as a form of diagnostic…

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Woodrow Wilson
SMART TASK: Who said what at Versailles? A fun competitive team game with a serious purpose

This simple activity asks students to think who would be the most likely person to make this statement at the…

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How could you improve Ben Walsh's diagram?
SMART TASK: At what stage would you say it was obvious that the League of Nations would fail to keep peace?

This short task and associated homework asks students to beat the textbook.  First they are reminded of the record of…

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Could the Treaty of Versailles be justified at the time?

This lesson was taught by Claire Conley-Harper and her excellent team of history teachers at Court Moor School in Fleet,…

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Animation of labels for this cartoon allow understanding to be built progressively
Was it the Manchurian or the Abyssinian crisis that spelled the end of the League of Nations?

There is a website that offers GCSE students this essay but at a cost. It is fairly accurately called www.cheat.com….

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Why did the League of Nations fail?

It’s a piece of cake (F.A.I.L.U.R.E. is not an option) Students have already studied the major episodes in the history…

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Invasion of the Rhineland 1936 – a study in political cartoon analysis

All too often when the students see political cartoons in textbooks they focus on an oval shape in the centre…

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Explaining why there were so many casualties on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. SMART TASK

This task, suitable for KS3 Year 9 or KS4 students, presents them with something of a conundrum.  When the Allies…

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battle of the somme
Why are these accounts of the Battle of the Somme, written by the same person, so different? SMART TASK

This task, suitable for Y9 in KS3 or KS4, drives at the heart of source evaluation. Students explore two sources,…

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German football team 1935
GCSE Modern World history: Using history of football to interest boys in Inter-war relations 1919-39

If you have ever found it difficult to motivate boys looking at the Inter-war years from 1919-39, why not try…

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