You always wonder when a new idea is just another gimmick, for the sake of novelty, or whether it really does deepen and improve the quality of pupils’ learning. As with all things, the intention behind knowledge organisers was very worthy and there are some great example out there. Unfortunately too many that we see are simply fact sheets packed with information but serving what purpose. Are they a proxy for learning? Is it assumed that the mere possession of them will mean that pupils know their contents?

To be truly useful they need to be as interactive as possible so that pupils see the need to USE them. Pupils will need to refer quite frequently to the timeline and often to a map. Having the keywords in alphabetical order with simple definitions is also key. I favour having the key enquiries that pupils are undertaking listed, as well as the ‘top takeaways’- the main learning points pupils need to have mastered by the end of the topic. This is a far cry from many knowledge organisers which simply list name of Greek Gods or Victorian inventions.

There is nothing sacrosanct about what KOs need to contain but one thing I’m sure of and that is YOU need to know how YOUR pupils will USE them. Simply copying other schools’ versions certainly saves time but can you be sure they are aimed at the same age group as your pupils when they study the topic and will their prior learning be the same. These are important considerations.

Having said all this, we have offered some examples for each of the KS2 topics and will be adding more. As always, we’d appreciate your feedback on how useful they were and how they could be improved. After all, no plan survives its first encounter with ‘the enemy’!

ancient Egypt knowledge organiser
Ancient Egypt and other ancient civilisations

You are learning about ancient Egypt, because it is the best known and most popular of the early civilisations that…

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crime and punishment
Crime and punishment knowledge organiser – KS2

You are studying this topic in history because it helps you to understand how things have changed,(and have stayed roughly…

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black and british knowledge organiser
Black and British knowledge organiser – KS2

You are studying this topic in the hope that you will discover how Black British is an important part of…

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victorian britain knowledge organiser
Victorian Britain knowledge organiser – KS2

You are learning about Victorian Britain because this was a really significant period of huge change in industry and technology,…

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mayan civilisation knowledge organiser
Mayan civilisation knowledge organiser – KS2

The height of Maya civilization came at the time when the Saxons were fighting the Vikings in Britain, but it…

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benin featured image
Benin knowledge organiser – KS2

Benin was a very important civilization, not just within Africa but in world history too. An important part of what…

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vikings fi
Vikings knowledge organiser – KS2

Probably one of the most captivating of KS2 history topics, the Vikings present wonderful opportunities to capitalise on pupils’ fascination…

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anglo saxons knowledge organiser
Anglo-Saxons knowledge organiser – KS2

During this period England emerged as a recognisable nation and Christianity became established. The recent coronation of Charles III is…

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ancient greece knowledge organiser
Ancient Greece knowledge organiser – KS2

In your study of Ancient Greece you will learn how a civilization that flourished over 2500 years ago still influences…

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Roman Britain knowledge organiser – KS2

The arrival of the Romans to Britain and their occupation for over 350 years marks a turning point in the…

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stone age knowledge organiser
Stone Age to Iron Age knowledge organiser – KS2

The earliest known humans arrived in these lands around 900,000 years ago. During this time there were huge changes: the…

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top 10 history teaching
10 top dos and don’ts of using knowledge organisers in primary history

Used well, knowledge organisers are a really powerful resource but it all depends on how they are used. However attractive…

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