Key Stage 4 Smart Tasks

Smart tasks are imaginative learning activities of varying lengths that exemplify the best features of outstanding lessons. They come fully-resourced, often differentiated, and are sure to inspire even better strategies within your own lessons.

SMART TASK: Why were mining towns such lawless places?

This is a very straightforward, yet highly effective task which asks students to distinguish between the generic and the specific, to speculate about possible reasons from clues, to think creatively about historical myths and just as importantly to know how to get full marks on...
Read more

SMART TASK Revision: name your best squad

To help students remember who the key individuals were in the history of medicine, you might like to present them as members of two opposing football teams.... [private] Team A is clearly the best squad of 11, perhaps with a couple of substitutes. The ‘second team’ would be the next...
Read more

SMART TASKS: Why did the US get involved in the Vietnam War?

Three separate short activities help students produce  a top grade answer to the question.

Task I - brainstorming early ideas

This first introductory task simply asks students to consider the various reasons why the US got involved in Vietnam, going over what has already been learned. Students...
Read more

SMART TASK: Causes of the Wall Street Crash

Students are given a set of influence cards which help them to work out the answer to an apparent paradox. If people were getting rich quick in the 1920s, why then was there such a crash in 1929? Here the focus is on students making their...
Read more

Teaching international relations 1945-1990

This section, dominated by the Cold War focuses mainly on teaching its origins, its main crises and the reason why it came to an end.  With the recent 'strengthening' of GCSE specifications many schools who had hitherto taught Inter-war International Relations alongside Germany 1918-39, now...
Read more

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 is being ‘covered’ in each cartoon - sometimes two. b. Which causes are NOT covered. They are given a textbook diagram explaining the causes in the form of an...
Read more

Who started the Korean War? Smart Task

In this short starter smart task students are given two contradictory accounts of the start of the Korean War, both emanating from Korea. But which account do they think is more plausible and which extract goes with which book? Students look for loaded language and...
Read more

Crime and Punishment starter: Smuggling – SMART TASK

This simple smart task uses the rather unusual source of a famous Kipling poem to ascertain what students already know about smuggling and what they need to know. The lesson starts with you quickly reading the poem aloud to help with motivation and encourage the lower-attaining...
Read more

Poaching: Need or Greed? A 3 minute starter SMART TASK KS4

Throughout history, people have had different views of poachers. Were they: a. Starving labourers, snaring game to keep body and soul together, OR b. Members of gangs targeting places such as deer parks in order to sell on what they caught? Pupils are give just a couple of minutes to...
Read more

Teaching American West at Key Stage 4

Schools have been teaching the American West as part of the SHP course for over 30 years. I introduced it myself in the first department I led. There have been so many examination questions set on this module and so many good textbooks now available...
Read more

Mountain Men – Myth and Reality SMART TASK KS4

Having looked at the role of Indian trappers who had been supplying skins to British, French and Spanish traders on the Missouri river for decades, students now turn their attention to the Mountain Men. What were they really like? The lesson starts with a funny story...
Read more

SMART TASK Key Stage 4: Why was Rohm murdered?

If Ernst Rohm was one of Hitler’s closest allies, as you can see in this photo, why then did he have him and other members of the SA murdered in June 1934? On the cards you have been given are several ideas that have been put...
Read more

SMART TASK: A Suffragette procession: comparing the evidence

New GCSE British history source enquiry, suitable for SHP or Modern World. Whether you are studying the OCR unit, AQA or Edexcel you should find this activity helpful. The activity builds on an initial idea from the revised Edexcel Teacher’s Guide for the new SHP GCSE course. ...
Read more

SMART TASK Key Stage 4 – Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis

With the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile crisis in the news, it is worth spending time reviewing Kennedy’s reputation. Here is a short task to get GCSE students thinking. Kennedy was a young president. Khrushchev thought he could push Kennedy around. The Bay of Pigs of April 1961...
Read more

SMART TASK: Germany 1933-34 Revision Quickie

Which factors played their part in establishing Nazi dictatorship in 1933-4? [private] This activity presents the factors in the form of an equation.

f C t D = F + V + PS + P + L + M + WO + PoS

from Chancellor to Dictator

where: F= V= PS= P= L= M= WO= PoS= Power of...
Read more

Rosa Parks – the true story

This open-ended enquiry explores one of the most abiding stories of American Civil Rights. Students are invited to advise a film director on what actually happened in Montgomery in December 1955.  They are introduced to the standard, simplified, textbook version that all young Americans are...
Read more
Simple Share Buttons