Which people were most significant in KS3 History?
Students have a better chance of seeing KS3 History as a coherent course rather than a series of isolated events if they undertake overviews at the end of each of years 7, 8 and 9. This reinforces students’ memories of topics studied in Y7 in each of the following years and thus gives them a better chance of building enduring knowledge. Activities which focus on significance are ideal for this purpose. This activity asks students to think about the relative significance of individuals and can be used at the end of Key Stage 3 and/or at the end of each year’s work.
Sequencing and Assessing the Significance of Individuals
This is a physical version of an activity in What is History Year 9: A concluding unit for KS3, which offers a range of overview activities including activities based on non-British topics and individuals.
a) Give pairs of students a key individual from their KS3 History course and ask them to write a speech bubble to go with him or her, explaining the significance of the individual.
OR give each group a speech bubble and ask them to identify the person (with or without a list to help them)
b) Ask students if they think anyone else ought to be included in a list of important people they’ve studied at Key Stage 3 and what their speech bubbles would say.
c) Give students a large card with the name of the person clearly written on it and ask them to take their place on a timeline in chronological order. (This can also be done by using sorting cards on a table top)
d) Then think about significance, firstly asking students how they would decide which people were most significant e.g. numbers of people influenced, duration of impact.
e) Having established the criteria for significance, ask students to award each person a score out of five for each criterion and add up the totals.
f) Compare totals, looking at why groups differ and which people get the highest totals. Who have the class crowned as the most significant people in KS3 History?
- How else do you or could you help students to see their KS3 course as a whole course, not a sequence of separate bits of the past?
- What impact does this activity have on your planning back across KS3? Does it, for example, identify gaps in the range of individuals studied?
- What has this told you about how much students have retained and what they have retained and are there any lessons to be learned from this?
- Have students enjoyed this activity and what was its value for them?