Active Learning on www.thinkinghistory.co.uk

Resources for KS3

General Techniques

Helping Students Think about the Provenance of Sources

A couple of ideas putting analysis of the source before what it says.

Using New Discoveries to Keep History Bubbling

Using the latest archaeological finds etc to reinforce chronological understanding and other historical skills.

The Big Human Timeline

Use your students to create a memorable timeline that will help them understand all kinds of issues of chronology

Timelines for Understanding Duration

Simple techniques for developing a key aspect of chronological understanding

Comparative Lifetimes

A group activity for comparing periods of history – good for KS2 and KS3 – good for A level synoptic understanding.

Physical Family Trees

Ever confused Mary Tudor and Mary, Queen of Scots? A simple way of disentangling the Marys and many other confusing people.

Guess Who? Post it!

A gloriously simple idea for use from KS2 to A level, as a lesson starter or to conclude a whole Key Stage

Using family generations to link back to past events

Create a timeline of your family's generations to travel back in time to …

Telling family stories to introduce ideas about migration

How Uncle Frank can introduce and open up discussions on migration through history

Personal memories as stimulus for creating or summarising a sense of period

Using your own memories to model the key features of any period

What’s Under the Sheet?

Puzzle and intrigue! A mysterious way to help students sum up a topic, exemplified by the Norman Conquest.

Is Granny really ‘well old’?

How to use Granny to develop a sense of duration as far back as the Romans.

Market Place strategies

Ideas for helping students develop as learners in the historical Market Place.

Historical Who's Who?

Borrow the idea of a well-known children’s game to revise knowledge of individuals.

Mannequins in the Classroom

Rachel March explains how she’s been using a second-hand mannequin in her lessons.

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What is History

Making sense of BC and AD

Turn you pupils into a timeline and accelerate their understanding of vital chronological terms

Classroom Archaeology

A simple, simulated excavation to capture pupils’ imagination and stimulate their thinking.

Digging Up a Mystery

A motivating and fun way to start a topic - all the way from KS2 to A level

The Mystery of Tollund Man

The body in the bog becomes the body in the classroom to build students' enquiry and source skills. Activity by Susan Edwards and Nichola Boughey.

The Great Cheese Mystery

What's it about? That would be telling. Better click here and find out!

Bits & Pieces: Using Clues to Reconstruct the Past

Demonstrate how we use clues to reconstruct the past. A shattering experience for all!

Spotting the BC/AD Forgery

Using a coin as a way in to the conceptually difficult issue of BC and AD. Can your students spot the forgery?

The Riccall Mystery – how do we carry out historical enquiries?

Start with an imaginary excavation, finish by understanding vital ideas about enquiry. A lively and involving introduction to the process of historical enquiry

Do you remember when … we did an enquiry?

This PowerPoint sequence can be used before a new enquiry to remind students of the process.

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Overviews

Population: Continuity and Change

The power of simple demonstrations – three activities providing an overview of patterns of English or British population across time

When was the best time to live in …?

A ‘how to do it’ guide to creating an overview of the history of your locality.

Using your classroom layout …

… to build knowledge of Monarchs, Campaigners, Prime Ministers, Dynasties, maybe more! Ideas and discussion about ways of learning historical information – enjoyably and maybe even effectively!

The Big Story of Conflict

Every war between 1066 and 1900 in one activity - creating links across KS3?

The Big Story of Monarchy

Use Top Trumps cards and the Rebellion Steps to help students see the really big picture

The Big Story of Everyday Life

The Middle Ages to the present day - all in one graph for the 2008 KS3 PoS

Why did Everyday Life change so much after 1750?

A sorting activity helping students see why life changed so much during the Industrial Revolution

Wine Gums, Timelines and Really Big Overviews

The only edible timeline in existence, guaranteed to stretch and develop students' chronological understanding.

Who would you most like to meet at the Year 7 party?

An end of year overview activity. Bring your own jelly and ice cream.

Which ‘Big Events’ were most important in KS3 History?

An overview activity for the end of KS3.

Which people were the most significant in KS3 History?

An overview activity for the end of KS3 that asks students to think about significance.

Using family history to create an overview of the 20th century

Students can struggle to see the 20th century as a whole - can family stories help?

When did Prime Ministers and Parliament become more powerful than the monarch?

Complete the thematic story of monarchy with a graph showing when monarchs really lost power

Kings of Football: an unlikely research task

Fun – and maybe a useful way of learning about all those medieval kings.

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Pre 1066

The Mystery of Tollund Man

The body in the bog becomes the body in the classroom to build students' enquiry and source skills.

Romans in Britain

Turn you classroom into a physical map and tell the story of the Roman invasion

Equipping a Roman Soldier

Load a legionary with his equipment and change pupils' thinking about the lives of Roman soldiers

Why did the Romans want an empire? The Paulinus Activity

Play the part of Paulinus and help pupils understand why empires were built

How long were the Romans here for?

A timeline to develop a sense of duration

Romans & Wolves (formerly Romulus & Remus)

What’s in the picture? Find out and explore how the Romans saw themselves

Making Sense of Hadrian's Wall

Use your pupils as milecastles, turrets and forts to help them understand the Wall and, if they’re lucky, where their site-visit fits into the big Wall picture

Londinium 60AD

A brief play that introduces Boudica’s rebellion – more Blue Peter than Pinter

Boudicca’s Rebellion

Walk through the events and ask pupils to take the key decisions

Romans, Saxons & Vikings – the Overlaps

A timeline to develop a sense of duration

What did they find at Sutton Hoo?

Recreate the moments of discovery, carry out an enquiry into one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in Britain and help children understand the process of historical enquiry.

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Norman Conquest

Why was William able to invade England in 1066?

A short-role play explaining how events in northern France affected William’s chances of invading England

Understanding the English Succession: 1051-1066

An activity providing an overview of the changing possibilities regarding the English succession in 1066

Nationalities and Family Connections: 1066

A short activity explaining some of the links between England, Normandy and Denmark

The Battle of Hastings: Decisions on the Spur of the Moment? (Groan)

Recreate the battle and help your students understand why the Normans won

The Events of 1066. Could it have ended differently?

Create a map of England, walk your pupils through key decisions and see how their chronicles match up to the real thing. (Don't forget the hair dryer!)

Je Suis le Roi. What happened after 1066?

Rebellions, castle-building, changes in land ownership, Danish invasions, the Harrying of the North and William getting angry in French – c'est magnifique

The York coin hoards c.1066-1069 – raw material for intriguing lesson introductions

Information and ideas for using coin hoards to introduce the Norman impact on the north

‘Efficient and ingenious.’ Why is that an accurate description of the Domesday Survey and Norman government?

Can students come up with a good way of collecting the information the king needs?

What does Domesday Book reveal about the impact of 20 years of Norman rule?

Use extracts from Domesday Book to research the effects of the Conquest

The Impact of the Normans: A Character Cards Activity

Students use information about a wide range of Saxons and Normans to explore the extent of the impact of 1066

Changes and Continuities: The Impact of the Norman Conquest

A physical, involving and very clear way into the nebulous business of assessing consequences. We're hanging out the consequences on a washing line!

Why did William want to conquer England?

Your chance to play William – can you pupils sort out your motives?

The Riccall Mystery – how do we carry out historical enquiries?

Start with an imaginary excavation, finish by understanding vital ideas about enquiry. A lively and involving introduction to the process of historical enquiry

What’s Under the Sheet?

Puzzle and intrigue! A mysterious way to help students sum up a topic, exemplified by the Norman Conquest.

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c.1100 – 1450

Standards of Living in the Middle Ages

This review article was published in 1995 but may still be of value on changing living standards after 1300.

How can you spend less time in purgatory?

A simple activity to develop understanding of the importance of religion in the Middle Ages and beyond.

Understanding Feudalism

An introductory activity for KS3 students helping them understand the core feudal relationships.

Thomas Becket Mystery

A physical but non-contact introduction to the murder of Thomas Becket (with card sort activity)

Making Magna Carta Personal

An activity that sets students ‘thinking from the inside’ as barons facing King John.

King John in the Hot Seat

A hot-seating activity that can be used at KS3 or extended for use at A Level. RADA qualifications not required!

King John; The Decision–Making Game

Can your students do better than King John or will they lose their crowns?

Meet Oswald of Ormskirk, Medieval Physician

Your script for playing the part of Oswald and answering your student’s questions. Apple juice required!

Why was the Harvest So Important?

A brief simulation demonstrating the impact of poor harvests on villagers. Also worth using as background to the Industrial Revolution.

The Black Death comes to Allton

Put your pupils into roles, find out who survives and explore the consequences of the Black Death

Did people worry about dirt and disease in the later middle ages?

A favourite activity from the 1990s that may still be useful at GCSE or at KS3

Impact of the Black Death: Changes and Continuities

Hang out the effects of the Black Death on a change–continuity washing line

The decisions of a Kentish villager: 1381

Will your decisions improve life for you and your family or lead to death as a rebel?

Why did People Rebel in 1381?

Put your students into role as villagers facing the aftermath of the Black Death, French attacks and Poll Taxes

Discussing Causation with Year 7

Why was Simon Sudbury's head on a spike?
Use the events of 1381 to get students talking about causation – but where does the purple vase fit in?

Wars in the Middle Ages – what was going on?

The Crusades, the Hundred Years War & Edward I’s British wars – all in one lesson

Why were medieval kings deposed?

A role play – will your nobles depose the king?

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1450 – 1700

How do you feel about the country’s new religion? An overview 1547-1700

Students develop a living graph to create an overview of religious and political changes 1547 to c.1700

How can you spend less time in purgatory?

A simple activity to develop understanding of the importance of religion in the Middle Ages and beyond.

Discovering Richard III

An exploration of the 2012 finds in Leicester and what they do – and don’t – tell us.

How certain are we that Richard III murdered the Princes in the Tower?

A two stage activity for KS3, firstly telling the story of 1483, then exploring the evidence for the fate of the Princes.

Dissolution of the Monasteries

A role play that focusses on people and the importance of monasteries to communities

Henry VIII & his Wives – which Queen lasted longest?

A timeline to develop a sense of duration

Holy Box and the Altar Table – 16th century religious changes

Create your own church interior – then change it, then change it again, then ...

Why Did They Go to America?

Hats, false beards and an introduction to causation!

Elizabeth I and Europe in 1558

You'll need to move the furniture for this one – but it clearly, simply and painlessly explains the power situation in Europe in 1558.

Why did the Armada fail?

Tell the story of the Armada by turning your pupils into ships and develop their understanding of causation and interpretations

Using locality to introduce the Civil War – The Civil War in Leeds

Your students become the people of Leeds in 1642. Will they survive the Civil War? An activity showing how to use your locality to inspire interest in the Civil War.

When did they decide to execute Charles?

Create a graph to tackle students' misconceptions about what Parliament wanted from the Civil War.

Will you have finished school before Charles I is executed?

A timeline to develop a sense of duration

Was Oliver Cromwell right to ban Christmas?

A one-lesson KS3 activity that might be an antidote to Black Friday and other commercial nonsense!

Revisiting the plague of 1665-6 in Cambridge

A short commentary on Evelyn Lord, The Great Plague: a people’s history (2014)

Who Will Hang? Unpredictability of the Bloody Code

Bring the accused to court to tell their stories. Can the rest of the class predict who will receive the death penalty? Why was the legal system so unpredictable?

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1700 – 1900

When did Prime Ministers and Parliament become more powerful than the monarch?

Complete the thematic story of monarchy with a graph showing when monarchs really lost power

Inventions, Inventions!

Find the connections and show how one invention led to another and transformed the textile industry

Teaching the Industrial Revolution

Liberty's Dawn by Emma Griffin – about the book’s conclusions and reflections on teaching the Industrial Revolution at KS3.

Why did Everyday Life change so much after 1750?

A sorting activity helping students see why life changed so much during the Industrial Revolution – Note, this activity is also included above, in Overviews

Turnpikes: Mobilising the Transport Revolution

Recreate the journey times before and after turnpikes and revolutionise understanding

Why did Prime Ministers become more powerful than the monarch c.1780-1830?

A quick card sort to summarise the reasons for change in royal power

Did the Train Arrive on Time?

Liven up the railway revolution with a trip from Stockton to Darlington

Living through the era of the Napoleonic Wars c.1793-c.1815

A range of teaching ideas though not full activities

The Battle of Waterloo

A range of activities from Mildenhall College Academy – context and the battle itself

When did they win the vote? – An outline

Outlining the pattern of voting reform with a little help from that old favourite, the Corn Laws. It’s interesting – honestly!

Pre–1832 Election Game

A role play that’s simply not fair – but very good for learning

Shall we join the Chartists?

Test your acting skills and get your students researching Chartism with renewed interest and purpose

Making the Industrial Revolution human through family history

How great-grandfather Seth opens up key features of the Industrial Revolution

How much history did the Industrial Revolution overturn?

An outline idea for helping students understand how revolutionary the Industrial Revolution was

How did the Industrial Revolution change where people lived?

The Population Revolution 1750-1901: Use the space in your classroom to map out the change from rural to urban life

Who's got the answer to the problem? The story of the Industrial Revolution

An overview activity introducing a wide range of developments from 1750-1900 – a positive view of the Industrial Revolution!

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1900 & After

Failure of the Schlieffen Plan

Walk your students through the map of Europe and make your decisions - then discover the grim reality

How did Europe come to the brink of war in 1914?

Turn your classroom into a map of Europe to help students deepen their understanding of the outbreak of World War One. Activity created by Megan Underwood

Understanding Trench Warfare

Created by Megan Underwood, this activity shows Y9 pupils why trenches were such effective defensive structures

The ‘stab in the back’ 1918

Arm wrestle your way to understanding the German army’s reaction to defeat

Hyperinflation Crisis in Germany

Can your students buy a bar of chocolate before their money runs out?

Reichstag 1932-1933: How did Hitler finally gain power?

Ian Luff explains how to introduce students to Hitler’s rise to power and then build in complexity.

Germany 1918–1939; Living Timeline

An active overview of key events that creates more complex explanations

Hitler’s Restrictions Against The Jews 1933–1945

A very effective activity exploring how anti-Jewish restrictions destroyed Jews’ ability to resist Nazi oppression and discrimination

Role-playing Unemployment in the 1930s

Make the Depression personal and enhance students' understanding

Rhineland Occupation Game

Were the politicians of the 1930s really blunderers?

South Africa in the 1930’s & 40’s: A Living Timeline

An active overview that’s challenging, enjoyable and effective

Getting personal with wars – family starters for investigating the start of World War Two

I don't know why my Dad joined up in 1939. What possibilities can you suggest?

Breakthrough in the West, 1940

How did Hitler's forces reach the Channel? What was special about their tactics and what did the Allied defences get wrong?

Why did the RAF win the Battle of Britain?

Simulate the rival qualities of Spitfires and Messerschmitts and give your students more fire power in their explanations

World War Two: Why was accurate bombing so difficult?

Turn your class into bomb aimers to discover how difficult their task was - and why civilians were so at risk in bombing raids.

How safe were air raid shelters for the poor in Britain's cities?

Ian Luff demonstrates the weaknesses of air–raid shelters and provides a documentary activity exploring the destruction of one shelter in London.

World War Two Living Graph

A really good overview activity that helps students to see the patterns in all those events.

Using Masking Tape to Get Kids to Understand the Map of WW2

An activity from Richard Kennett – see it on his website.

Dilemma Based Learning - with an example for the Holocaust

Julia Huber introduces her use of dilemmas for motivating students and improving their decision-making.

Shall we escape to the West?

Will students risk trying to cross the Berlin Wall?
A practical activity that really improves discussion, thinking and understanding.

The Atom Bomb – a Classroom Demonstration!

How powerful was an atomic bomb compared with other weapons? All you need is an egg - and some egg-proofing!

The Cuban Missile Crisis

A gloriously simple way to make your students' understanding far more sophisticated

Using family memories to explore changes in everyday life

Hot water? electricity? What was new when you were growing up?

Using family history to create an overview of the 20th century

Students can struggle to see the 20th century as a whole - can family stories help?

Why is there more peace than war in Europe?

A ‘big picture’ activity from Helen Snelson and Richard Kennett comparing the state of Europe in 1900 and 2000

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This Page

General Techniques

What is History

Overviews

Pre 1066

Norman Conquest

c.1100 – 1450

1450 – 1700

1700 – 1900

1900 & After