Active Learning on www.thinkinghistory.co.uk

Activities, Discussions and Background Material for KS2

This page lists all the activities that are relevant to KS2 together with discussions and background material particularly aimed at non-specialist teachers:

• Chronological Understanding Here …

• Enquiry: Understanding the Process Here …

• Historical Topics Here …

• General Teaching Techniques Here …

Top of the page

Chronological Understanding

Developing Chronological Understanding – for Primary

A brief introduction to Chronological Understanding for Primary, aiming to demystify the topic and help teachers with their long-term planning. If you're new to the topic, start here.

Having Fun through Time

A guide to structuring an enquiry into what people did for fun, covering 2000 years from the Roman period to today, and helping to develop pupils’ sense of chronology.

Big Human Timeline

Fully revised, specifically for KS2, an engaging, involving and highly effective timeline activity to help pupils understand all kinds of issues of chronology.

Timelines for Understanding Duration

Simple techniques for developing a key aspect of chronological understanding

Comparative timelines for different civilizations

A great lesson from Stuart Tiffany comparing timelines for Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Vikings, Aztecs (on Stuart's website)

Is Granny really ‘well old’?

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

Making sense of BC and AD

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

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?

Top of the page

Enquiry: Understanding the Process

Why is Historical Enquiry important?

This discussion introduces Enquiry. It explores why Enquiry is so important for effective learning in History, provides a simple outline of the Enquiry process and discusses the nature of Enquiry questions. If you're new to the topic, start here.

Do you remember when … we did an enquiry?

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

Historical Enquiry at Historical Sites and Museums

How Enquiry can help embed visits to museums and historical sites within school-based enquiries.

Digging Up a Mystery

A motivating and fun way to introduce almost any enquiry

Bits & Pieces: Using Clues to Reconstruct the Past

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

Top of the page

Historical Topics

Prehistory

From the Stone Age to the Romans: An Introduction to the (Pre)History

Prehistory – an introduction to the content.
A three page summary  for teachers unsure about periods and major developments in prehistory.

Introducing the Chronology of Prehistory

Active methods for developing children's understanding of the chronology.

Skara Brae: Discovering a Stone Age Community

Part 1: Resources and historical background for exploring the intriguing evidence from Skara Brae in Orkney.

Skara Brae: Discovering a Stone Age Community

Part 2: Teaching suggestions for exploring the intriguing evidence from Skara Brae in Orkney.

Romans

Romans in Britain

Turn your 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

How long were the Romans here for?

A timeline to develop a sense of duration

Romans & Wolves

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

Boudicca’s Rebellion

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

What did the archaeologists find in Camulodonum?

An article on enquiry growing out of a remarkable find from Roman Colchester

Romans, Saxons & Vikings: The Overlaps

A timeline activity to develop a sense of duration

Saxons & Vikings

Sutton Hoo: historical background for teachers

An introduction to the finds from Sutton Hoo and their context, aimed at non-specialist teachers of history at KS2.

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.

Re-enacting the Sutton Hoo Burial

A creative way of looking beyond the treasure of Sutton Hoo in order to help students think more deeply about the people who buried the ship and their king.

Romans, Saxons & Vikings: The Overlaps

A timeline activity to develop a sense of duration

1066-1700

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

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 the Armada fail?

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

The Great Cheese Mystery

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

1700 to the Present

Did Victoria’s reign last longer than Granny?

A timeline to develop a sense of duration

Making the Industrial Revolution human through family history

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

Using family memories to explore changes in everyday life

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

Non-British Topics

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.

Comparative timelines for different civilizations

A great lesson from Stuart Tiffany comparing timelines for Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Vikings, Aztecs (on Stuart's website)

General Teaching Techniques

Using the locality to develop historical understanding

Ian Coulson’s Teachers’ TV session exploring his local village with KS2 pupil.

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 New Discoveries to Keep History Bubbling

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

Classroom Archaeology

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

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 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

What’s Under the Sheet?

Puzzle and intrigue! A mysterious way to help students sum up a topic.

Mannequins in the Classroom

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

Top of the page

This Page

Chronological Understanding

Enquiry: Understanding the Process

Historical Topics

General Teaching Techniques