Feb 182018

The power of simple demonstrations!

This website contains some quite complex activities – but then we want students to understand that history is complex and to develop plenty of knowledge so complexity is good! However a simple activity can also have a very powerful impact on students’ understanding, particularly when dealing with an overview of long-term patterns.

One example I love is the activity where you use 20 students to represent the adult population of Britain and take them through the sequence of Reform Acts – at the beginning of the activity in 1830 only 1 student out of 20 is standing because he is the only voter – i.e. he represents the 5% of the population who could vote but with each reform more students stand up in proportion to the number of voters. The fact that only 6 are standing in 1884 is very powerful and very visible, rising to 17 out of 20 in 1918.

You can see that activity and the illustrative PowerPoint sequence HERE …

The new activities we’ve now added to the site provide overviews of the population history of England or Britain, using students to represent the changes in the patterns of population. These activities cover:

  1. continuities and changes in the total population since the Roman period
  2. the distribution of population between countryside and towns
  3. the geographical distribution of the largest towns

The first activity comes with a PowerPoint sequence (which you could turn into a film) featuring Lego bricks as alternatives to students but if you have the room and the confidence then using students may have more impact and be more memorable and therefore re-usable when you ask students ‘do you remember when we …?’

You can find these activities HERE …


 Posted by at 1:13 pm