Active Learning on

Resources By Historical Period
KS2 to A Level

A complete list of all the resources on the site.  Please note that in this list you will find activities originally designed for KS2 side by side with activities created for A Level. That said, I’ve heard numerous times from KS2 teachers that an A level idea has worked with 9 or 10 year olds. A good teaching idea is a good teaching idea regardless of age but see resources by Key Stage for more age-targeted lists.


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.

What can we find out about the people of the Glastonbury Lake Village?

Explore the finds from this Iron Age site and work out what they tell us about the villagers.

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Ancient World

The Medical Marketplace – an Ancient Egypt exemplar

Help your students gain independence, learn from each other and build up their knowledge of Egyptian Medicine.

What did the Ancient Egyptians think caused disease?

Act out Egyptian ideas by turning your students into human anatomy

Four Humours made Simple

The simplest possible demonstration of the theory

Visiting an Asclepion

Can your students find the cure for their ailments at the Asclepion?

What’s Under the Sheet?

Puzzle and intrigue! A mysterious way to help students sum up a topic, exemplified by Galen's work on medicine.

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.

Romans in Britain

Turn you 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

Why did the Romans want an empire? The Paulinus Activity

Play the part of Paulinus and help pupils understand why empires were built

What did the archaeologists find in Camulodonum?

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

How long were the Romans here for?

A timeline to develop a sense of duration

Romans & Wolves (formerly Romulus & Remus)

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

Londinium 60AD

A brief play that introduces Boudica’s rebellion – more Blue Peter than Pinter

Romans, Saxons & Vikings – the Overlaps

A timeline to develop a sense of duration

Boudicca’s Rebellion

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

Thinking skills for Medicine through Time – Creating Memory Frames

Constructing memory frames on PowerPoint that summarise the key points, aiding memory and revision

Change and continuity in Ancient Medicine

Create a physical timeline, using students to represent the periods and key developments in Ancient Medicine

Hippocrates and Galen: Why did people believe their ideas for so long?

Two brief activities focussing on the essentials of these long-lasting ideas. These could be starter or revision activities

Big Brother meets History of Medicine: Debating Significance

Who was the most significant figure in Ancient Medicine? Was it really Hippocrates or would you chose someone else?

Spotting the BC/AD Forgery

Can your students spot the forgery?

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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.

Was there a 6th century world-wide web? – Evidence from Sutton Hoo

Using evidence from Sutton Hoo, this is a one lesson exploration, by Neil Bates, of long distance connections in the Early Middle Ages.

Romans, Saxons & Vikings: The Overlaps

A timeline activity to develop a sense of duration

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Norman Conquest

Why was William able to invade England in 1066?

A short-role play explaining how events in northern France affected William’s chances of invading England

Understanding the English Succession: 1051-1066

An activity providing an overview of the changing possibilities regarding the English succession in 1066

Nationalities and Family Connections: 1066

A short activity explaining some of the links between England, Normandy and Denmark

Battle of Hastings: Decisions on the Spur of the Moment? (Groan)

Recreate the battle and help your students understand why the Normans won

Events of 1066. Could it have ended differently?

Create a map of England, walk your pupils through key decisions and see how their chronicles match up to the real thing. (Don't forget the hair dryer!)

Je Suis le Roi. What happened after 1066?

Rebellions, castle-building, changes in land ownership, Danish invasions, the Harrying of the North and William getting angry in French – c'est magnifique

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

‘Efficient and ingenious.’ Why is that an accurate description of the Domesday Survey and Norman government?

Can students come up with a good way of collecting the information the king needs?

What does Domesday Book reveal about the impact of 20 years of Norman rule?

Use extracts from Domesday Book to research the effects of the Conquest

The Impact of the Normans: A Character Cards Activity

Students use information about a wide range of Saxons and Normans to explore the extent of the impact of 1066

Changes and Continuities: The Impact of the Norman Conquest

A physical, involving and very clear way into the nebulous business of assessing consequences. We're hanging out the consequences on a washing line!

Why did William want to conquer England?

Your chance to play William – can you pupils sort out your motives?

The Riccall Mystery – how do we carry out historical enquiries?

Start with an imaginary excavation, finish by understanding vital ideas about enquiry. A lively and involving introduction to the process of historical enquiry.

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Middle Ages

Journey to the Middle Ages

A scripted drama providing an overview of the Middle Ages

What are your ideas about the Middle Ages?

Free textbook chapter aiming to identify what students know and think about the Middle Ages.

Were medieval people very different from us?

Free textbook chapter exploring emotions and childhood in the Middle Ages.

Did medieval people have the same feelings and emotions that we do?

Textbook-style resources and activity – see pages 3-9.

Everyday life: If you had been 12 in the Middle Ages …

Textbook resources exploring medieval childhood – see pages 11-14.

What kinds of things mattered to people in the Middle Ages?

Free textbook chapter exploring what mattered to the commons, monarchs and the wealthy.

What kinds of things mattered to people in the Middle Ages?

Role cards enable your students to identify what mattered to a range of people in medieval society.

The activity is supported by the Student Text in Section 3 of Medieval Lives Mattered

What kinds of things mattered to Margaret Paston and other wealthy people?

Textbooks resources – a source-based case-study and overall summary – see pages 4-8

What kinds of things mattered to the commons?

Textbooks resources exploring a central topic – see pages 9-10

What kinds of things mattered to kings and queens?

Textbooks resources using snapshots and summary text – see pages 11-13

Standards of Living in the Middle Ages

This review article was published in 1995 but may still be of value on changing living standards after 1300.

How can you spend less time in purgatory?

A simple activity to develop understanding of the importance of religion in the Middle Ages and beyond.

Why did religion matter so much to people?

Textbook pages introducing the importance of religion to medieval people – see pages 14-15.

Understanding Feudalism

An introductory activity for KS3 students helping them understand the core feudal relationships.

Thomas Becket Mystery

A physical but non-contact introduction to the murder of Thomas Becket (with card sort activity)

Getting Started with The Crusades

Three activities helping students get to grips with all the names, places and terms encountered with The Crusades – so essential for confidence, when starting a new A level unit.

Events of the First Crusade: helping Y12 understand the course of events

An active, enjoyable way to find your way from western Europe to Jerusalem! Deus Vult


Making Magna Carta Personal

An activity that sets students ‘thinking from the inside’ as barons facing King John.

King John in the Hot Seat

A hot-seating activity that can be used at KS3 or extended for use at A Level. RADA qualifications not required!

King John; The Decision–Making Game

Can your students do better than King John or will they lose their crowns?

Wales and Edward I: Finding a Purpose and an Approach

Reproduced from my article in Welsh Historian

Meet Oswald of Ormskirk, Medieval Physician

Your script for playing the part of Oswald and answering your student’s questions. Apple juice required!

Why was the Harvest So Important?

A brief simulation demonstrating the impact of poor harvests on villagers. Also worth using as background to the Industrial Revolution.

The Luttrell Psalter

An introduction for teachers providing context for using the psalter in the classroom.

What kinds of things mattered to Geoffrey Luttrell?

Textbook resources – a source-based case-study and overall summary – see pages 18-21.

Black Death comes to Allton

Put your pupils into roles, find out who survives and explore the consequences of the Black Death

Did people worry about dirt and disease in the later middle ages?

A favourite activity from the 1990s that may still be useful at GCSE or at KS3

Impact of the Black Death: Changes and Continuities

Hang out the effects of the Black Death on a change–continuity washing line

Medieval public health: News from the archives – Part 1

A summary of the conclusions of two recent academic texts on medieval public health

The decisions of a Kentish villager: 1381

Will your decisions improve life for you and your family or lead to death as a rebel?

Why did People Rebel in 1381?

Put your students into role as villagers facing the aftermath of the Black Death, French attacks and Poll Taxes

Discussing Causation with Y7

Why was Simon Sudbury's head on a spike?
Use the events of 1381 to get students talking about causation – but where does the purple vase fit in?

Wars in the Middle Ages – what was going on?

The Crusades, the Hundred Years War & Edward I’s British wars – all in one lesson

The Battle of Agincourt (HA site)

A role-play helping students understand the narrative of events and the reasons for Henry V’s success (on the HA Site)

Why were medieval kings deposed?

A role play – will your nobles depose the king?

Hundred Years War Sources

A collection of sources on events 1415 to 1453 for use in A level courses and for independent studies (on the HA Site)

The Paston Letters: an introduction for teachers

The outline story of the Paston family and their remarkable letters, suggestions for reading, ideas for using the letters in classrooms and supporting PowerPoint slides.

Did Margery Paston's story have a happy ending?

The story of Margery and Richard – maybe just for reading?

William Caxton's choices

The story of Caxton and printing – maybe just for reading?

Three Myths about the Middle Ages

They thought the world was flat and other myths – maybe just for reading?

Burgundians, Orleanists and Armagnacs: French politics in the age of Agincourt

Making sense of the divisions in France c.1400-c.1435 that aided the English conquest

Wars of the Roses Sources
(HA site)

A discussion for A level students exploring the nature of late medieval sources and summarising their contextual backgrounds (on the HA site).

Wars of the Roses ‘Who’s Who’ (HA site)

Activities with a lengthy set of mini-biographies of key figures for A level students (on the HA Site).

The Wars of the Roses - More Resources

A bundle for The Wars of the Roses at A Level – resources, additional activities and more

Battle cards, tweets and mini-sagas

A set of simple resources and ideas (using the example of the Wars of the Roses) which may be useful for A level teachers – of any topic.

Anne Herbert: A Life in the Wars of the Roses

An introduction to the people and events of 1450-1485 for A level students

The Wars of the Roses – a light-hearted outline!

A structured role-play covering 1450-1487, intended as an introductory activity for A level students.

The Wars of the Roses Part 1: Rivalries and Alliances 1450 – 1455

An introduction to the events leading up to the first battle of St. Albans

Using articles on the 1450s with students

Two activities and articles provided by Helen Snelson that she’s used with her A level students.

Feuds and Alliances: 1452–1455

A brief activity enabling students to work out how feuds led to alliances and how these alliances determined the sides at the first battle of St. Albans.

Beginnings of the Wars of the Roses: 1452–1455

A role–play introduction to the people and events for A level and above

Understanding the Pattern of Events 1455–1461

Three brief activities exploring the pattern of events between 1455 and 1461

Understanding the links between nobles and gentry

An activity from Helen Snelson who teaches in York which helps students understand the links between and pressures on gentry and nobles around 1460.

The Fishpool Hoard: Evidence of Lancastrian Resistance 1461-4?

A puzzle from the 1460s – why was this large collection of coins and jewellery buried?

1471: Why did Edward IV win the crown back?

A card-sort demonstrating how to use the Enquiry Process to help students study more independently and with more confidence.

Why did Burgundy help Edward IV win back his crown in 1471?

This brief role-play explores why Burgundy helped Edward IV in 1471.

How certain are we that Richard III murdered the Princes in the Tower?

A two stage activity for KS3, firstly telling the story of 1483, then exploring the evidence for the fate of the Princes.

Discovering Richard III

An exploration of the 2012 finds in Leicester and what they do – and don’t – tell us.

Richard III and the problem of how to secure the south

A case-study for A level students examining Richard’s options and decisions in the wake of the 1483 rebellion.

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How do you feel about the country’s new religion? An overview 1547-1700

Students develop a living graph to create an overview of religious and political changes 1547 to c.1700

Henry VII and the Early Tudors

Valuable reading including a very helpful review essay summarising changing interpretations of Henry VII and much else.

Henry VII Survival Game

A decision-making activity which introduces the key events of Henry’s reign

Henry Tudor's Road to the Throne

Create a living graph to show just how unlikely a king Henry Tudor really was

Ryther Hoard & Lambert Simnel

An intriguing find and a possible introduction to reading about the 1487 rebellion

Henry VII's Use of Bonds

You play the part of Henry VII and your students are the nobles - how will they feel about bonds?

Henry VII: Diligent bureaucrat or paranoid blunderer?

A brief update on recent interpretations (which appeared in Teaching History, 118, March 2005).

Henry VII: Out of the shadows?

A good deal of work has been undertaken on Henry VII in recent years but Henry remains puzzling and students still have the same problem I was trying to deal with here – how to reconcile the intriguing complexities of Henry’s personality and reign with the often dull certainties conveyed in older textbooks. (From The Historical Review, 22, Sept. 1995).

Henry VIII – the Glory Trail?

A decision-making activity for use as an introduction or conclusion and revision at A level.

Henry VIII, Wolsey and Europe 1509-1529

Turn your room into a map of Europe and chart Henry's road to glory – or failure

Dissolution of the Monasteries

A role play that focusses on people and the importance of monasteries to communities

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 ...

Martin Luther and the Road to Worms

A play by Mark Fowle to help his A level students deepen their knowledge.

William Cecil’s Dilemmas 1547-1558

A short decision-making introduction to the key events of 1547-58 for A level students.

Kett’s Rebellion – what happened and why?

A role–play that brings people and decision–making off the page and helps students deepen their understanding.

Why Did They Go to America?

Hats, false beards and an introduction to causation!

The reign of Elizabeth I: A Scripted Drama

Jen Thornton’s structured drama provides a memorable overview of Elizabeth’s reign

Elizabeth I – Survival Game

A decision-making activity for A level which introduces the key events of Elizabeth’s reign.

Elizabeth I and Europe in 1558

You'll need to move the furniture for this one – but it clearly, simply and painlessly explains the power situation in Europe in 1558.

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

Pare, Vesalius and Henri II

Report the big news of 1559; simulate the work of Pare and Vesalius as they struggle to save Henri II; identify key aspects of Renaissance Medicine

Pare - Why did it happen then?

Explore the reasons why Pare made his surgical breakthrough by creating a mobile factors web.

Arteries, Veins and Capillaries – what Harvey couldn’t see!

Use a tin of tomatoes to help students understand Harvey's discovery

Using locality to introduce the Civil War – The Civil War in Leeds

Your students become the people of Leeds in 1642. Will they survive the Civil War? An activity showing how to use your locality to inspire interest in the Civil War.

When did they decide to execute Charles?

Create a graph to tackle students' misconceptions about what Parliament wanted from the Civil War.

Civil War comes to Deerhurst

A role play for A Level students who take the roles of the leading villagers of Deerhurst, dealing with the pressures put on them by Royalists and Parliamentarians

1646-9: Who was the blame for the execution of the King?

Jen Thornton’s structured drama introduces or summarises the key issues and events

Will you have finished school before Charles I is executed?

A timeline to develop a sense of duration

Was Oliver Cromwell right to ban Christmas?

A one-lesson KS3 activity that might be an antidote to Black Friday and other commercial nonsense!

Revisiting the plague of 1665-6 in Cambridge

A short commentary on Evelyn Lord, The Great Plague: a people’s history (2014)

Who Will Hang? Unpredictability of the Bloody Code

Bring the accused to court to tell their stories. Can the rest of the class predict who will receive the death penalty? Why was the legal system so unpredictable?

Great Cheese Mystery

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

Would you become a highwayman? Explaining the causes of crime

Turn your students into causes and get the rest of the class to sort out the rise and fall of highway robbery. Sadly, no masks or horses required.

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Using family history to reveal the people behind 19thC public health statistics

Two examples from my own family showing how to see the people behind the statistics

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

Smugglers Ahoy: Tea for Sale

Why was 18th century smuggling so profitable, and so accepted?

Turnpikes: Mobilising the Transport Revolution

Recreate the journey times before and after turnpikes and revolutionise understanding

Why did Prime Ministers become more powerful than the monarch c.1780-1830?

A quick card sort to summarise the reasons for change in royal power

Inventions, Inventions!

Find the connections and show how one invention led to another and transformed the textile industry

Teaching the Industrial Revolution

Liberty's Dawn by Emma Griffin – about the book’s conclusions and reflections on teaching the Industrial Revolution at KS3.

Why did Everyday Life change so much after 1750?

A sorting activity helping students see why life changed so much during the Industrial Revolution – Note, this activity is also included above, in Overviews

Living through the era of the Napoleonic Wars c.1793-c.1815

A range of teaching ideas though not full activities

When did they win the vote? – An outline

Outlining the pattern of voting reform with a little help from that old favourite, the Corn Laws. It’s interesting – honestly!

Pre–1832 Election Game

A role play that’s simply not fair – but very good for learning

Did the Train Arrive on Time?

Liven up the railway revolution with a trip from Stockton to Darlington

Shall we join the Chartists?

Test your acting skills and get your students researching Chartism with renewed interest and purpose

Which one is Piedmont again, Sir?

Getting started with Italian Unification at A level.
A physical map activity helping students make sense of all those different states and the story of unification.

Simulating an Early Nineteenth-Century Surgical Operation

Find out how Andy Harmsworth provides his students with an engaging and memorable introduction to a series of lessons on the development of surgery (Bring your own saw!)

Lister's Antiseptic spray

Explore the difficulties Lister must have had in using the carbolic spray and perhaps discover why he faced so much opposition. Activity by Ian Luff.

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

How much history did the Industrial Revolution overturn?

An outline idea for helping students understand how revolutionary the Industrial Revolution was

How did the Industrial Revolution change where people lived?

The Population Revolution 1750-1901: Use the space in your classroom to map out the change from rural to urban life

Who's got the answer to the problem? The story of the Industrial Revolution

An overview activity introducing a wide range of developments from 1750-1900 – a positive view of the Industrial Revolution!

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1900 & After

Salvarsan – Guiding the Psychopathic Germ Killer

This activity explains simply, but powerfully, why Salvarsan was effective, but risky. Activity by Ian Luff

How did Europe come to the brink of war in 1914?

Turn your classroom into a map of Europe to help students deepen their understanding of the outbreak of World War One. Activity created by Megan Underwood.

Understanding Trench Warfare

Created by Megan Underwood, this activity shows Y9 pupils why trenches were such effective defensive structures.

"Like Hell With the Lid Off"

My grandfather’s description of fighting at Ypres in April 1915.

My grandfather, the Great War and Medicine

Explaining how I investigated my grandfather’s wounds and illnesses in 1918.

Failure of the Schlieffen Plan

Walk your students through the map of Europe and make your decisions - then discover the grim reality

The ‘stab in the back’ 1918

Arm wrestle your way to understanding the German army’s reaction to defeat

Treaty of Versailles Territorial Land Lost Game

A revision activity for GCSE provided by Lesley Ann McDermott

Should we support the Bolsheviks – 1921

A role-play, by Mick Long, to develop students’ understandings of the political situation in Russia in 1921.

Stalin, Trotsky & the struggle for power after Lenin

Sally Burnham demonstrates how these complex events can be readily assimilated. Chocolate biscuits an essential resource!

Weimar Republic Party Games

Help your A Level students get to grips with all those Weimar acronyms

Hyperinflation Crisis in Germany

Can your students buy a bar of chocolate before their money runs out?

Reichstag 1932-1933: How did Hitler finally gain power?

Ian Luff explains how to introduce students to Hitler’s rise to power and then build in complexity.

Germany 1918–1939; Living Timeline

An active overview of key events that creates more complex explanations

Hitler’s Restrictions Against The Jews 1933–1945

A very effective activity exploring how anti-Jewish restrictions destroyed Jews’ ability to resist Nazi oppression and discrimination

Role-playing Unemployment in the 1930s

Make the Depression personal and enhance students' understanding

Re-packaging the Alphabet Agencies and the New Deal

Turn a difficult topic into an enjoyable, effective and inspirational lesson

Rhineland Occupation Game

Were the politicians of the 1930s really blunderers?

Eye Spy Gestapo

This activity created by Martin Strawson demonstrates that fear of the Gestapo rather than numbers explains their effectiveness.

South Africa in the 1930’s & 40’s: A Living Timeline

An active overview that’s challenging, enjoyable and effective

Using family memories to explore changes in everyday life

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

Using family history to create an overview of the 20th century

Students can struggle to see the 20th century as a whole - can family stories help?

Getting personal with wars – family starters for investigating the start of World War Two

I don't know why my Dad joined up in 1939. What possibilities can you suggest?

Breakthrough in the West, 1940

How did Hitler's forces reach the Channel? What was special about their tactics and what did the Allied defences get wrong?

Why did the RAF win the Battle of Britain?

Simulate the rival qualities of Spitfires and Messerschmitts and give your students more fire power in their explanations

How safe were air raid shelters for the poor in Britain's cities?

Ian Luff demonstrates the weaknesses of air–raid shelters and provides a documentary activity exploring the destruction of one shelter in London.

World War Two: Why was accurate bombing so difficult?

Turn your class into bomb aimers to discover how difficult their task was - and why civilians were so at risk in bombing raids.

World War Two Living Graph

A really good overview activity that helps students to see the patterns in all those events.

Dilemma Based Learning - with an example for the Holocaust

Julia Huber introduces her use of dilemmas for motivating students and improving their decision-making.

Where are the Viet Cong?

Recreate the tensions of the search for Viet Cong to help students understand why the US army couldn’t win

Shall we escape to the West?

Will students risk trying to cross the Berlin Wall?
A practical activity that really improves discussion, thinking and understanding.

The Atom Bomb – a Classroom Demonstration!

How powerful was an atomic bomb compared with other weapons? All you need is an egg - and some egg-proofing!

Cuban Missile Crisis

A gloriously simple way to make your students’ understanding far more sophisticated

Gerrymandering in Northern Ireland

Your chance to fiddle the votes and improve your students’ understanding

Why is there more peace than war in Europe?

A ‘big picture’ activity from Helen Snelson and Richard Kennett comparing the state of Europe in 1900 and 2000

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Are All History Books the Same?

Helping students identify different types of history books (Updated 2019).

Using the locality to develop historical understanding

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

Helping Students Think about the Provenance of Sources

A couple of ideas putting analysis of the source before what it says.

Helping students learn and remember Who’s Who

How to involve students in creating a human map of ‘who’s who’ in any period – vital for improving their confidence at GCSE and A Level.

Independent Learning at A Level

An article suggesting ideas for developing independent learning amongst A level History students; it describes one strategy that can help students develop that ability to study a new topic independently and with confidence.

Flipped Learning and Independent Study – a 1970s forerunner?

A quick description of how we tried to give students more independence in A level studying – all of forty years ago.

Timelines, Time-Stories and Developing Confidence at A level

Discussion on the use of timelines and time-stories to develop an overview of the content of a new module – vital because it creates confidence, it creates a context and it starts to give a module a unity.

Using New Discoveries to Keep History Bubbling

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

Making sense of BC and AD

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

Outlining Historiography at A Level

Create a timeline showing why interpretations change

Timelines for Understanding Duration

Simple techniques for developing a key aspect of chronological understanding

Who's Round the Table?

Help your A level students remember who was who

Physical Family Trees

Ever confused Mary Tudor and Mary, Queen of Scots? A simple way of disentangling the Marys and many other confusing people.

What's on the Agenda?

Get your next A level topic off to a demanding start by turning your class into the royal council, the cabinet or the Politburo.

Classroom Archaeology

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

Digging Up a Mystery

A motivating and fun way to start a topic – all the way from KS2 to A level

Bits & Pieces: Using Clues to Reconstruct the Past

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

Guess Who? Post it!

A gloriously simple idea for use from KS2 to A level, as a lesson starter or to conclude a whole Key Stage

The Riccall Mystery – how do we carry out historical enquiries?

Start with an imaginary excavation, finish by understanding vital ideas about enquiry. A lively and involving introduction to the process of historical enquiry.

Do you remember when … we did an enquiry?

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

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

Personal memories as stimulus for creating or summarising a sense of period

Using your own memories to model the key features of any period

Injecting personal experiences into GCSE Medicine through time

Can individuals’ modern experiences help guide students through the ‘factors’ to understand how much medicine has changed?

What’s Under the Sheet?

Puzzle and intrigue! A mysterious way to help students sum up a topic, exemplified by Galen's work on medicine and by the Norman Conquest.

Is Granny really ‘well old’?

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

Discussing Causation with Y7

Why was Simon Sudbury's head on a spike?
Use the events of 1381 to get students talking about causation – but where does the purple vase fit in?

Historical Who's Who?

Borrow the idea of a well-known children’s game to revise knowledge of individuals.

Physical Essays

An effective if unusual way of helping students improve essay structure.

Mannequins in the Classroom

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

Twitter Biographies

A twitter-style activity requiring clarity of thought and precision of language and which helps sort out confidence-sapping confusions.

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Population: Continuity and Change

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

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 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!

The Big Human Timeline

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

The Big Story of Conflict

Every war between 1066 and 1900 in one activity - creating links across KS3?

The Big Story of Everyday Life

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

Why did Everyday Life change so much after 1750?

A sorting activity helping students see why life changed so much during the Industrial Revolution

The Big Story of Monarchy

Use Top Trumps cards and the Rebellion Steps to help students see the really big picture

Punishments through Time

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

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!

Public Health through the Ages

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

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.

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.

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.

Using family history to create an overview of the 20th century

Students can struggle to see the 20th century as a whole - can family stories help?

Telling family stories to introduce ideas about migration

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

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

Kings of Football: an unlikely research task

Fun – and maybe a useful way of learning about all those medieval kings.

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Ancient World


Norman Conquest

Middle Ages

c.1500 – 1700

c.1700 – 1900

1900 & After