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 of classification pupils not only learn to think through the way reasons are linked, but also to grasp that historians vary in the evidence they attribute to each. The lesson finishes by showing a simple webpage showing the changing historiography over the last 50 years by means of 30 different book covers, each with a different slant?
Start by posing the paradoxical question on slide 1 and then introduce the task on slide 4. Slide 5 shows an example of how a GCSE textbook writer set about their explanation. Our job is to find just 4 headings that might simplify the issues for a Key Stage 3 audience.
Give out envelopes which contain the cards provided on Resource Sheet 1 plus a set of 6 sticky notes for pupils to write their headings on – gives scope for a few mistakes. Ask pupils to start classifying the 20 plus points into