Active Learning on www.thinkinghistory.co.uk

Open Evenings – Capturing Imagination

So how do you make History attractive to Year 6 children looking round your school? Here's one idea that certainly fits the bill in 'Capturing Imagination.'

And if anyone wants to add to this section with the details of what’s worked for you, then please get in touch.

CSI – Tollund Man

Emma Boustead, who teaches in Stoke, contacted me with her plans for their October open evening for Y6 pupils. Here is her initial description of what she intended, followed by her report on what actually happened!

Linked in are two items:

a) Word document containing cards and information on Tollund Man [ click here ]

b) PowerPoint developed by Emma as the introduction to the session [ click here ]

You can also download this whole activity as a Word file [ click here ]

The Plan

Falling roles are a huge problem in the area that I work so I wanted to put on a fun and light-hearted activity to engage with our potential pupils, but also for us to have fun too. So getting in the spirit we've had T-shirts and baseball caps with History CSI printed on them and all the children participating are going to have badges and cards to allow them access to the 'crime scene'. I also bought CSI tape to seal off the room.

The activity is simply the investigation of Tollund Man, but with a twist. The PowerPoint is the starter activity. We have arranged for the room to be lit with spots and are going to 'hide' the main part of the activity under tables in the middle of the room, covered over with material.

For the main activity we have purchased a full size skeleton and made a replica of the noose, statue, rings etc and I am going to use a tin of soup watered down and seeds to re-create the stomach contents for pupils to 'examine' under a microscope. There are also clues around the room. The final part is the CSI's reporting to the press (well our media technician and premises manager) who will be suitably dressed and sporting a video camera.

The Impact

It was great, really positive response from the kids, especially as, after the introduction we asked them to close their eyes closed and then they opened them to find Tollund Man on the floor in front of them. I worried that when we used the skeleton they would not relate to the actual remains but by leaving the last image on the board they realised that the skeleton was just to show the position etc.

Purely by chance we also had a visually impaired child who was really able to access the session because he could feel the statue and the rope etc. The onion soup with seeds in also worked well. Using a smoke machine with the door slightly open made the whole thing look really effective and my colleague who is a definite thesp stood on the door with shades and spoke to parents while I led the session. We also sealed off the room with crime scene tape (from ebay) and made little security clearance badges. Lots of the kids said they were glad they had come to history even though they should have been somewhere else, having signed up for Technology! The kids rated our activity as the best on the evening. It also got a mention in the report to governors from the head which was nice.

I'd definitely recommend the idea and anyone can tweak as they want. Hopefully it may save someone re-inventing the wheel.

 

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CSI – Tollund Man

The Plan

The Impact