Keystage 3 Smart Tasks

Smart tasks are imaginative activities , of varying lengths, that occupy only part of a lesson but still exemplify the best features of outstanding lessons. They are all fully resourced, often differentiated too. You will find lots of motivating starters as well as thought-provoking strategies which provide you with plenty of ideas as to how to integrate them into your own lessons.

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...
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Court of King Cholera: Where am I in the picture?

This activity works in two ways; it activates pupils’ prior knowledge in a fun way and raises questions about conditions at the time the chosen image, A Court for King Cholera was produced, i.e. September 1852. Students work in pairs.  They are each given a copy...
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Puzzle corner 3: the strange case of the missing slave

Pupils will find that this example of a black slave, painted out of an eighteenth century painting of a tobacco lord’s family, makes an intriguing starter to any lesson on the slave trade.  They will enjoy ‘finding’ him in the portrait, thanks to 21st century...
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Puzzle corner: The strange case of the steel helmet

A short intriguing starter activity for pupils presents them with a puzzle to solve. In the First World War, why did head injuries increase when the metal helmet replaced the cloth cap as part of the British soldiers’ uniform?  The answer is not obvious at first sight...
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How significant was Magna Carta? SMART TASK KS3

Pupils have been commissioned to produce two brief podcasts for the British Library website aimed at a teenage audience. The first podcast is to last 100 seconds and must explain why Magna Carta is significant.  The second is to last  just 50 seconds and argue...
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The Empire strikes back! SMART TASK KS3

Having previously investigated the criticism of empire, students now set about defending it.  After studying a contemporary Indian view of Empire, which they critique in terms of usefulness, students explore a range of possible achievements of the empire, some using a structured sheet, others are...
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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...
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Smart Task: End of Empire: Why did it all end so quickly?

This SMART task ask pupils to classify a number of different smaller reasons why The Empire declined and fell, under four bigger headings.  But they are not told what these headings are.  This they must work out for themselves.  In searching for their own method...
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Smart Task: Was the bombing of Dresden justified?

Should the statue to Bomber Harris be removed?

It is now 20 years since the statue to Bomber Harris was erected in Trafalgar Square. Pupils are asked to consider whether it ought to be removed in light of what happened at Dresden. There are...

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Smart Task: Key Stage 3

Puzzle corner: SMART thinking skills task on why so many infants continued to die before their first birthday at a time when the death rate was falling rapidly.

This short activity works best as a starter or plenary and is particularly effective in encouraging able students...
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