Inspired by an article by Karen Doull I read recently in the Historical Association’s Primary History magazine, I decided to work up a fun activity on technological developments in the Iron Age. Six groups of 5 pupils each are given a technological development to pitch before the dragons in their den.To be really effective in their pitch they need to :
a. describe the object
b. explain how it is used
c.explain why it is a real breakthrough by saying what was used previously
d. selling its advantages, showing how it would transform Iron Age life
The strength of the activity as far as history is concerned is that it makes sure pupils focus on the concept of change-what came before and after.They also need to work out how it worked and how it was made. To help them they can use visual aids like incorporating a short YouTube video of , for example, the quern being used today. It goes without saying that the opportunities for persuasive speaking and listening are strong.
If you would like to trial this idea I am happy to let you have a copy of the accompanying PowerPoint, available to members by request via email. If you’d like to create your own then I suggest that you focus on :
1. A mirror. Prior to two thousand years ago Iron Age folk had to rely on their reflection in water
2. A chariot- transformed warfare-ask Caesar!
3. A quern– making flour was never the same again-though a bit gritty!
4. Coins– as a status symbol and a replacement system for barter
5. A lathe – shaping wood for chariot wheel spokes
6. Potters wheel- at last a thin flat-bottomed jug and drinking vessel. I’ll drink to that.