Who Would You Most Like to Meet at the Year 7 History Party?
It’s hard enough fitting in all the topics you want (or feel you ought) to cover without also finding time at the end of a year to pull the threads together in an overview. However that review process is important for reinforcing learning and giving pupils a sense of achievement and context. But how to make this interesting rather than worthy? This end of Y7 activity focuses on people and can then be replicated at the end of each year of KS3 with an ever-expanding cast of characters – or more carefully selected cast of characters.
It’s also a valuable planning tool, identifying who’s been included in your coverage and who hasn’t.
The aims are to prompt pupils to think about how we assess significance but also to reinforce chronological knowledge and understanding and to think about the key themes that emerge from KS3 topics – and therefore help pupils summarise overviews of the key things they have learned.
1. Split the class into pairs. Give each pair a tabard with the name of a person they have studied in KS3 History – see below for possibilities.
2. Each pair then has to write a sentence on a large sheet of paper about their person – what he/she did or why he/she was important.
Alternatively you can prepare these statements on cards and get pairs to pick out which describes them.
3. Ask one person from each pair to put on a tabard and join the party in the centre of the room (orange squash provided if you wish!) Their task is to find people with whom they have something in common e.g. other rebels, other people who had dramatic deaths etc. To help you could put some of the themes on clue cards around the room or have them appear at intervals on your whiteboard.
4. If more help is needed bring in the sentences written earlier – the tabarded pupils hold them so others can look for clues. Some classes won’t need this help, others will.
5. Once your groups have formed – ask the rest of the class what each group in turn has in common. Perhaps record this on your whiteboard, dragging and dropping names into groups under headings.
In a class of 30 you would have 15 groups so not so many characters – one way to expand the list would be to ask each themed group to think of another person they’ve studied in Y7 who could be added to their group.
6. Ask tabarded pupils to re-arrange themselves into a timeline. The rest of the class has to judge and correct the timeline.
7. Move onto significance – ask pupils what criteria we can use for deciding whether someone was significant and build up a list.
8. Now get pairs working together to choose the three people they think were most significant. Decide whether to keeping pupils in tabards or have a list on paper or on board.
Which THREE people at the party do you think were the most significant – and why?
Why might different people make different choices in answering this question
Who would you most like to talk to at this party and what would you ask them?
OR work with friends and choose one group and write or roleplay what you think the people in the group are saying to each other
Ideas for possible individuals and groups from Y7 – this is quite a good exercise for a department discussion of who should be covered in each year.
A. Boudica, Hereward, Wat Tyler (the rebels)
B. King Harold, Becket, Edward V (dramatic deaths)
C. King Arthur, Robin Hood (were they real?)
D. A rat, Isabella of Valois, Richard III (villains)
E. Alfred the Great, Edward I, Robert the Bruce, Owain Glyndŵr (for or against uniting Britain)
F. Julius Caesar, William the Conqueror, Richard I, Saladin (great soldiers and conquerors)
G. Edward III, Henry V, Joan of Arc (Anglo-French wars)
H. John, Simon de Montfort, Richard II (quarrels between kings and nobles)
I. Leonardo, Columbus, Gutenberg, Copernicus (Renaissance)
- What have you learned from this about what and how much pupils have understood from the year’s History about individuals from the past?
- What do pupils know and understand about significance? How can you build on this next year?
- What have you learned about your scheme of work? Does it contain the individuals or groups of people that create a good balance of types of history? Do you want to make any amendments to change this balance?
- Did the pupils (a) enjoy the activity and (b) get a sense of reviewing the year from it