Smart Task: How close to World War Three did the world come in the 65 years after World War Two?

Helping pupils to develop overviews of different timescales is central to the Key Stage 3 curriculum.  When so few carry on post-14 to study the 20th century (probably only 1 in 5 pupils), it is essential that we help them to gain a clearer understanding of the changing world their grandparents grew up in and relate it directly to ‘their’ world today. This task uses the idea of a class TENSION GRAPH or DOOMSDAY CLOCK to look at these changes in perspective. NB This is a set of sequenced ideas for you to work on, not an actual lesson.

Resisting the temptation to look in GCSE detail at all Cold War events, the approach focuses on just the key crises and makes a point of looking at the very recent post-Cold War period in more detail.  This is what the pupils are talking about.  Here they work in expert groups on a range of material in order to feed their analysis into the creation of a class graph.  You will see that there are the briefest of starter packs for 7 topics.  It is suggested that you might want to do your own for an eighth topic – the Middle

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