It may be some time since you last used artefacts in your GCSE teaching, but their appearance in Key Stage 4 lessons is actually on the increase in my experience. We all know how well pupils respond to using artefacts at Key Stage 3, but we rarely build on that at Key Stage 4. If you only use artefacts once a term at Key Stage 4 then even that would bring much-needed variety. It does not always have to be you who provides the objects. Many museums have education officers who are more than happy to do some outreach work with GCSE students.
Over the last five years or so I have seen the following used very effectively;
A trephinned skull, showing where the bone had grown back, was used as a brilliant starter to the SHP history of medicine course. The teacher, Mike Herrity now Assistant Headteacher at Twynhams School, had purchased one over the internet quite cheaply. It certainly wowed even the most recalcitrant Year 10 boys and was heavily used in all classes
Another teacher getting a little bogged down with Britain 1906-18 decided to create a left luggage mystery for his