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This section provides a range of resources for use from KS2 to A level which help students develop a ‘big picture’ of the past.

For discussion of some of the issues involved in planning and teaching such overviews see these three articles (in PDF):

Time for Chronology (Teaching History, 2004) HERE …

Thinking across time: planning and teaching the story of power and democracy at KS3 (Teaching History, 2008) HERE …

What time does the tune start? From ‘sense of period’ to modelling history at KS3 (Teaching History, 2009) HERE …

Overview Activities

Journey to the Middle Ages

A scripted drama providing an overview of the Middle Ages

The Big Human Timeline

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

Population: Continuity and Change

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

The Big Story of Everyday Life

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

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

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

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!

Punishments through Time

An introductory activity that will get students thinking and asking questions and will reinforce their chronological understanding

Comparative Lifetimes

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

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.

Public Health through the Ages

A living graph that examines change, continuity and significance in the history of Public Health

Historical Speed Dating: Medicine and Health through Time

Can your students find their ideal match and improve their knowledge of medicine through time? Flowers and chocolates optional!

Bringing Medicine Factors to Life

Turn your students into War, Government etc to help them understand the concept of factors more effectively.

Big Ideas in Medical History

A grand overview, creating a physical timeline across the room and asking students to identify the big medical ideas of each era

Germs have feelings too! A Lifeline

A valuable revision activity for GCSE, telling the story of the germ!

Telling family stories to introduce ideas about migration

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

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.

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Period Resources


Pre 1066

Norman Conquest

Middle Ages



1900 & After


All activities ]