The Events of World War Two: New Study Unit

These lessons focus on providing students with a clear understanding of the main ideologies, personalities and events leading up to the war rather than the causes themselves (The Causes of World War Two is a topic better suited as an examination topic for older students, and resources can be found here: 1920s | 1930s.) (47…

The Battle of the Somme: Haig – hero or butcher?

The Battle of the Somme Students conduct a debate on the issues of whether Haig was a good General, whether the battle plan was crazy, and whether it achieved its objectives. They do this by: (a) Completing this NEWLY EDITABLE worksheet as the teacher goes through The Battle of the Somme PowerPoint; (b) Completing this…

How did the Crash lead to a Depression? What were the political consequences?

How did the Crash lead to a Depression? What were the political consequences? Students sometimes find it difficult to understand how a stock market ‘crash’ in one country can lead to a widespread ‘Depression’ affecting the entire economies of many countries. This worksheet helps them bridge the gap. Updated to include a task providing questions…

Factual Test based on the introductory civil rights lecture

Factual Test based on the introductory civil rights lecture 15 questions testing student understanding from the lecture – The Big Picture: A multimedia presentation of race in American history since the Declaration of Independence Part of the Civil Rights unit at ActiveHistory.   (23 views)

How similar was the 2008 Financial Crisis to the Wall St. Crash?

How similar was the 2008 Financial Crisis to the Wall St. Crash? One of the most important purposes of studying history is to understand the modern world. In this exercise students will consider how the Wall St. Crash helps us understand the modern financial system, by considering three particular films in the process: Part of…

Decision-Making Exercise: Was Churchill a Great Leader? – Part 2 (1943-45)

Decision-Making Exercise: Was Churchill a Great Leader? – Part 2 (1943-45) | Student Worksheet A major decision-making simulation designed to teach students about the major events of World War Two in an engaging but rigorous manner. “In 1939, Adolf Hitler invaded Poland after signing a non-aggression pact with Stalin’s USSR. Britain and France declared war…

Decision-Making Exercise: Was Churchill a Great Leader? – Part 1 (1940-42)

Decision-Making Exercise: Was Churchill a Great Leader? – Part 1 (1940-42) | Student Worksheet A major decision-making simulation designed to teach students about the major events of World War Two in an engaging but rigorous manner. “In 1939, Adolf Hitler invaded Poland after signing a non-aggression pact with Stalin’s USSR. Britain and France declared war…

Video Documentary Worksheet: “The Children who Fought Hitler”

Video Documentary Worksheet: “The Children who Fought Hitler” (could be used as an alternative video for students who feel uncomfortable watching the ‘Holocaust’ documentary) This is a documentary telling the forgotten story of a heroic battle fought by the children of the British Memorial School to help liberate Europe from the Nazis. The school served…

Video Documentary Worksheet: “The World at War: Genocide”

Video Documentary Worksheet: “The World at War: Genocide” This worksheet is designed to help students get the most out of a documentary episode which is widely regarded as one of the best ever produced about the Holocaust – Hitler’s attempt to exterminate the Jewish people. The Holocaust is a subject which is compulsory to study…

Multimedia Presentation: Who were the Nazis? | Student Worksheet

Multimedia Presentation: Who were the Nazis? | Student Worksheet Students consider some of the key beliefs of the Nazis by debating a series of controversial issues (e.g. “Immigrants should be encouraged to leave our country when there are lots of our own people who are unemployed”, “It is quite right to place suspected terrorists into…

Left-wing and Right Wing: Which are you? [online simulation]

Left-wing and Right Wing: Which are you? [online simulation] Students then complete this computer questionnaire, which will provide them with some initial suggestions about whether they are Left- or Right-Wing. This can be completed in class, or set as a homework activity. Students are then asked to complete a Triangle Nine Template by completing the…

Overview of Ideologies: [a] Communism, Fascism and Nazism

Overview of Ideologies: [a] Communism, Fascism and Nazism Students start the unit by being introduced to the main ideological divisions of the interwar period and the key personalities behind them, including Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill. Part of the new World War Two study unit at ActiveHistory. (32 views)

Student Record Grid – 1920s Border Disputes

Student Record Grid In this classroom roleplay exercise, students are divided into teams of four (idealists and pragmatists) and 11 students are also given a particular country to represent. We then go through each of the major border disputes of the 1920s hearing the arguments on both sides, reaching a decided course of action, then…

ActiveHistory Online Presentation – League in the 1920s

ActiveHistory Online Presentation In this classroom roleplay exercise, students are divided into teams of four (idealists and pragmatists) and 11 students are also given a particular country to represent. We then go through each of the major border disputes of the 1920s hearing the arguments on both sides, reaching a decided course of action, then…

Border Disputes in the 1920s: A Classroom Roleplay Exercise

Border Disputes in the 1920s: A Classroom Roleplay Exercise  In this classroom roleplay exercise, students are divided into teams of four (idealists and pragmatists) and 11 students are also given a particular country to represent. We then go through each of the major border disputes of the 1920s hearing the arguments on both sides, reaching…

How successfully did Elizabeth deal with the problems of her reign?

How successfully did Elizabeth deal with the problems of her reign? In this exercise, students will reach a final judgement about Elizabeth I by writing an essay. In this way, they will: Develop their ability to see the ‘big picture’ and to connect factors together Consider how Elizabeth’s rule has affected such things as: The…

Design a movie proposal: The Sophiatown Removals

Design a movie proposal: The Sophiatown Removals Fresh from his triumph with the World War One inspired “1917”, award-winning director Sam Mendes is keen to keep his winning streak alive by producing a film based in the black neighbourhood of Sophiatown in the years leading up to and including its destruction in the 1950s. Your…

Google Earth Interactive Tour: three key Silk Road explorers

Google Earth Interactive Tour: three key explorers Using an interactive Google Earth Tour, students develop their understanding of the three key explorers by following their footsteps and learning about their adventures and use what they learn to complete this worksheet. Part of the new “Silk Roads”  unit at ActiveHistory. (72 views)

Three key Silk Road explorers: European, African and Asian

Three key explorers: European, African and Asian “During a period of only 150 years, the travels of three remarkable explorers – one European, one African, and one Asian – expanded our understanding of vast parts of the world. Start by reading the three biographies and watching the video clips that go along with each for…

Crossword test – Silk Roads

Crossword test This crossword quiz, complete with teacher answer sheet, tests the vocabulary developed in the previous introductory exercise. Part of the new “Silk Roads”  unit at ActiveHistory. (33 views)

Introduction to the Silk Roads

Introduction to the Silk Roads “Watch the TEDEd video (below) as a class. Then, go through the written account (overleaf) and see how many of the missing words you are able to fill in. Next, highlight any words in the account that you do not know. Afterwards, discuss these words together and produce a list…

The Silk Roads: Online Adventure Game

A brand new simulation game, complete with a detailed worksheet and extension tasks, designed as part of my ongoing project to bring more non-European history into my classroom. Students can choose to play as a male or female character, and are placed in a random location somewhere on the Silk Roads to begin their quest,…

New Generator: Online Image Annotation Tool!

I’ve just finished coding a new online image annotation tool over at www.classtools.net which allows you to quickly label images (e.g. political cartoons, works of art, historical photographs) with ‘hotspots’ and then save your work to the server / embed it into your own blog or website. (55 views)

Consequences of the Korean War: HTML5 Hexagons

How was a truce negotiated? What were the consequences for Korea and for the wider world? |Interactive HTML Hexagons Students consider a list of detailed points are are then challenged to organise these into meaningful categories to answer the key questions. There are also some HTML5 Hexagons available for this exercise generated at www.classtools.net. Part…

Factual Test: Changes in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s

25-question factual test This test (complete with teacher answer sheet) can be used to confirm that students have taken detailed and effective notes on the topic. Part of the scheme of work: In what ways, for what reasons, and with what results, did the Civil Rights movement become more radical after 1964? (27 views)

Multimedia lecture [3]: Changes in Location: From Rural South to Urban North

Multimedia lecture [3]: Changes in Location: From Rural South to Urban North The change in methods (towards militant self-defence) and objectives (black nationalism, not integration) overlapped with a move away from the rural south (and a focus on tackling Jim Crow laws) and towards the urban north (and a focus on tackling socio-economic exploitation) Part…

Caesar Cypher Generator

As part of the Escape Room resources, I’ve designed a simple Caesar Cypher Generator. (40 views)

ActiveHistory is now FLASH FREE!

After updating the Battle of Hastings Simulation, and following on from the update to Fling the Teacher, I think(!) that there are now no Flash features left on the website. This is in response to the fact that as from next year no major browsers will continue to support Flash for security reasons. If you…

New Blogpost: True, False, or Anachronism?

Overview Helping students understand the concept of anachronism – the misplacing of a concept, object or individual in a time period where it could not have existed – is an important step to getting them to understand the concept of chronology, to empathise with people in the past and to understand a historical period. Arthur…

History: Factual Test for the “Undercover in Imperial Rome” simulation

FACTUAL TEST In this task, students are given 25 short-answer questions to test the knowledge they acquired by completing the main worksheet which accompanies the game about Imperial Rome. The link to the associated computer simulation and loads more worksheets and activities relating to Imperial Rome can be found on this page of ActiveHistory.  …

Voyages of Discovery Simulation: Updated and Improved

I have updated my new “Voyages of Discovery” simulation in response to user feedback to include more locations, additional varied tasks, and fresh information about West African Empires in the Middle Ages / Early Modern period to complement the current focus on Asian and European History. It’s now a pretty comprehensive simulation which I hope…

“Unseen history” – a new blogpost

Overview Building up a sense of anticipation and curiosity within a history lesson is always a great way to engender a sense of interest and engagement. What follows are a few ideas which I have found work particularly effectively. What’s in the Bag? I am a big fan of using artefacts in the classroom to…

Undercover in Ancient Rome Simulation – Teacher Support Materials

Map, Structured Questions, Timeline and Instructions about how to complete the mission This pack provides you with a completed version of the map, answers to the structured questions, and a completed version of the ‘fill the gaps’ timeline exercise. Click here to access the simulation. (38 views)

Undercover in Ancient Rome Simulation – new worksheets and features.

Map, Structured Questions and Timeline In this task, students will use the interactive adventure to complete a schematic map which quickly allows you to identify the main sites and Emperors in Ancient Rome according to the simulation. There are then a detailed list of structured questions for each of the main locations, and ‘fill the…

Convert a teacher’s essay into a History magazine article

Overview It’s always good practice for teachers to write a timed essay at the same time, and in the same conditions, as their students. In this way students can immediately appreciate that you can ‘walk the walk’ and not just ‘talk the talk’. Moreover, they will then be able to compare their essays, and the…

Voyages of Discovery – New Online Simulation Game

Voyages of Discovery – New Online Simulation Game Overview This simulation introduces students to the Voyages of Discovery. These daring overseas adventures marked the beginning of globalization and European empire-building. By playing the game students will learn about some of the most important explorers, their discoveries, and the spices which they brought back to Europe….

Five Ideas for Model Making in History

Overview Designing and realising a physical model can be a very engaging and stimulating experience for bringing history alive for students in a novel and memorable way. It also provides some superb display material for creating an engaging classroom environment. Heraldic Shields A fixed feature of my school calendar is a study with younger students…

Studying Local History through Street Names

Overview The names given to our roads and streets provides a rich source of potential for local history projects. Students can research the events and people commemorated in these names to engage in some open-ended history that is not constrained by a particular topic, theme or period. The following example uses Google Maps to make…

Ideas for making the most of your old History magazines

Overview As digital archives of history articles become increasingly accessible for students and teachers, it’s easy for print versions of of magazines slowly gather dust on the shelves before being unceremoniously dumped onto the charity pile during the annual classroom clearout. But looked at more creatively, those old issues of History Today, Modern History Review…

Ideas for using tastes and smells in the History classroom

Overview The benefits of using audio-visual sources in the history classroom is well-established. However, it is much rarer for teachers to make use of sources which appeal to the sense of taste and smell, even though these are just as thought-provoking and evocative and perhaps even more so. Obviously take care though to have due…

Building Teenage Heroes into the History Curriculum

Overview A common complaint about History is that it is dominated by white, middle-class, middle-aged men. Or, as Jane Austen put it, “The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars or pestilences, in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all — it is very tiresome”. Much has…

Z-A: Word Association Quiz format for starters/plenaries

Overview The Z-A quiz format involves revealing a series of words or phrases, letter by letter, in reverse alphabetical order. Students, organised into teams, win points if they are the first to identify what all the words/phrases have in common. As soon as a hand is raised, the teacher ‘stops the clock’ to hear the…

Historiography of the Berlin Blockade

Historiography of the Berlin Blockade Students are presented with a detailed article about the causes and consequences of the Berlin Blockade and a series of structured questions to help familiarise them with some of the key debates and interpretations. Part of the “Origins of the Cold War” Unit (92 views)

Bringing Codes and Codebreaking into the History Classroom

Overview When studying topics involving intrigue, secrets or subterfuge, present students with the essence of the story in the form of a coded message familiar at the time. Challenge them to decode the message to engage them effectively from the outset. Case Studies Lady Jane Grey (Caesar Cipher) The famous “nine days’ queen” is Lady…

Design personalised number plates as a revision exercise

Overview As a revision exercise, get students to design personalised number plates for historical characters they have studied. Accompany each one with a series of quiz questions which can be used to review the course in an engaging way. To help students review key dates, people, places and relevant quotes, provide students with a list…

Lotus diagram templates for essay planning

Lotus diagram templates for essay planning Overview I’m grateful to Shani Hartley for introducing me to Lotus Diagrams. These are graphic organisers that help students break down a question into key factors or arguments and then methodically summarise the essential knowledge that can be used to substantiate each one of these. In some respects Lotus Diagrams are similar…

SMS Generator: Create an imagined text conversation between two characters

Create an imagined text conversation between two characters In order to highlight the differing viewpoints of two historical characters, or to consider more closely the relationship between them, produce an imaginary dialogue between them in the form of a text-message conversation. Start by asking students to identity some of the central dramatic moments within the…

Voyages of Discovery Simulation: Follow-Up Classroom Project

I have added a ‘choose your own homework / markscheme‘ project to follow-on from the Voyages of Discovery Simulation. I’ll be looking forward to seeing what my students come up with for the first time after the holidays! (38 views)

Five techniques for building visual literacy in the History Classroom

OVERVIEW  Political cartoons are a mainstay of the history classroom and provide a wonderful tool not only for starter and plenary activities, but invaluable raw material for helping students draw deductions, compare interpretations and substantiate their own judgements by bringing in additional background knowledge. They also provide an accessible way into the historical debate for…

Calendar of Historical Anniversaries, 2019-2020

Calendar for Educators, 2019-2020 The following project developed from my “History in the News” facility which I also recommend you look at. 1. Here is a FREE printable calendar providing notable anniversaries (multiples of 50 years only) for research, discussion, assemblies and personal projects. Ideas for student tasks: Choose one event to research further and…

Renaissance Florence Simulation – updated, relaunched

The “Time Machine Journey to Renaissance Florence” simulation has been updated with video clips, a ‘save game’ feature so that they can play over several lessons and the ability for students to print off a personalised certificate of achievement when (and if!) they finish the mission successfully.   (117 views)

Comparing / contrasting the impact on two states: the USA / the DDR

Comparing / contrasting the impact on two states: the USA / the DDR In the earlier exercise students worked collaboratively to determine the impact of the Cold War upon the DDR. As a revision exercise, they will now compare and contrast this experience with that of the United States by reviewing their work on the…

Video viewing notes: “The DDR: Lost World of Communism”

Video viewing notes: “The DDR: Lost World of Communism” Minute-by-minute viewing notes for this excellent BBC documentary for students to use as a way of deepening their understanding. This is part of a unit of study on Communist East Germany. This concludes with an essay on the subject “Analyse the impact of the Cold War upon…

Analyse the impact of the Cold War upon the DDR

The Impact of the Cold War upon the DDR The impact of the Cold War upon one state, and a comparison and contrast of the impact of the Cold War upon two states from different regions, is a possible focus of exam questions. The following unit was designed to provide an academically rigorous follow-up task…

“Then and Now” photographs: Battlefields / Berlin

“Then and Now” photographs As an added dimension to the trip, I obtained a range of historical photos of key sites in Berlin, then challenged students to recreate them. I then uploaded these to ActiveHistory to share with the students. (72 views)

Interpretation Battleships: The Treaty of Versailles

Interpretation Battleships: The Treaty of Versailles “Harsh but fair” – To what extent do you agree with this judgement on the Treaty of Versailles? Individual or Paired Task After reviewing the terms of the Treaty, decide where each of the following words belong in the grid: Saar | Colonies | Rhineland | Alsace-Lorraine | Polish…

Escape the Room: The Black Death!

A new “Escape the Room” lesson: It is 1348. You are a group of sailors returning to England from a business trip to Ireland in your trading ship. On your arrival, you find that the port of Bristol is in complete panic about the approach of the BLACK DEATH from Europe. Hundreds of thousands of…

Sourcework Questions: The Boxer Uprising

Sourcework Questions: The Boxer Uprising Two examination-style questions, complete with model answers to provide with students during the feedback phase. (63 views)

The Boxer Uprising

The Boxer Uprising ” Read carefully through the following account, then: [1] Include at least THREE relevant, useful, captioned images into this document (in the same format as the one already included); [2] Add additional notes from the video. Highlight all these additions in yellow. (83 views)

Sourcework Questions: The Opium Wars | Model answers

Sourcework Questions: The Opium Wars | Model answers A fully-developed sourcework examination. I set questions [2] and [6] as a homework exercise and produced model answers myself to share with students afterwards. (143 views)

Matrix Exercise: The results of the Indian Mutiny

Matrix Exercise: The results of the Indian Mutiny Students are presented with a detailed list of consequences which they then organise into a matrix diagram which will enable them to answer the following two questions: c. ‘British rule in India changed significantly after the Mutiny.’ How far do you agree with this statement? c. The…

Why, and with what effects, did Indians resist British rule?

Why, and with what effects, did Indians resist British rule? British involvement in India began with the East India Company. Its powerful Governor Generals came to exercise indirect rule through its own private army. In this activity students compare and contrast the roles of Lord Bentinck and Lord Dalhousie in precipitating the Indian Mutiny of…

Sourcework: King Leopold II and the Congo

Sourcework: King Leopold II and the Congo 1. Study Sources A and B. Does Source A prove that Leopold was lying in Source B? Explain your answer using details of the sources and your knowledge. 2. Study Sources C, D and E. Does Sources C and D make Source E surprising? Explain your answer using…

Comparisons and Contrasts: French, Belgian and British approaches to Empire

Comparisons and Contrasts: French, Belgian and British approaches to Empire Using the information from the previous activity, students use this Venn Diagram template to highlight contrasts and comparisons between the different methods used by the French, British and Belgians. There is also a completed teacher version available. (84 views)

How varied were the impacts of European imperialism on Africans? | teacher notes

How varied were the impacts of European imperialism on Africans? | teacher notes In the 1880s Europeans accelerated their colonisation programmes in a process which became known as the “Scramble for Africa”. Following the Berlin Conference (1884-85), the African continent was randomly divided into about fifty countries. These new borders took no account of ethnic…

What were the motives behind European imperialism in Africa?

What were the motives behind European imperialism in Africa? In this lesson, students investigate the key questions “Why did Europeans have little interest in colonising Africa before 1850?” and “What were the motives behind the ‘Scramble for Africa’ thereafter?”. Using the information provided, they produce an illustrated flowchart or infographic which highlights the connections between…

Hitler’s Foreign Policy: Model Answers

Hitler’s Foreign Policy a. Describe the events leading to Anschluss. b. Why did Hitler want to take over Czechoslovakia? c. How far was the policy of appeasement justified? One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE History (CIE) that can be accessed here: (160 views)

Hitler’s Foreign Policy: Model Answers

Hitler’s Foreign Policy a. In what ways did Hitler build up his armed forces before 1936? b. Why did Britain and France allow Germany to remilitarise the Rhineland in 1936? c. Evaluate the view that ‘Hitler was a gambler rather than a planner’ in foreign affairs. One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE…

International Relations: 1930s – Model Answers

International Relations: 1930s a. Describe the Abyssinian Crisis. b. Why was the conquest of Manchuria by Japan not prevented by the League of Nations? b. Why was remilitarisation of the Rhineland a risk for Hitler? One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE History (CIE) that can be accessed here: (77 views)

International Relations: 1920s/30s – Model Answers

International Relations: 1920s/30s a. Describe the successes of the League of Nations in peacekeeping in the 1920s b. Why did the League fail to secure world disarmament before World War Two? b. Explain why the League was quite successful in the 1920s One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE History (CIE) that can…

Model Answers: International Relations: 1920s

International Relations: 1920s a. Describe the activities of the Agencies of the League of Nations. b. Why did some major powers not join the League? c. How successful was the League at dealing with border disputes in the 1920s? One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE History (CIE) that can be accessed here:…

International Relations: 1920s – Model Answers

International Relations: 1920s a. What were the aims of the League of Nations? b. Why did the USA’s refusal to join create problems for the League? c. How successful was the League at dealing with the problems it faced in the 1920s? One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE History (CIE) that can…

Germany Depth Study: Model Answers

Weimar Germany, 1918-34 a. Describe the effects of the hyperinflation of 1923 on the German people b. Why was 1923 a year of crisis for the Weimar Republic? c. c. To what extent did the Weimar Republic recover between 1924-28? One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE History (CIE) that can be accessed…

Model Answers – Weimar Germany, 1918-34

Weimar Germany, 1918-34 a. What changes in German society did the Nazi Party want in 1920? b. Why did the Nazi Party remain unsuccessful between 1924 and 1929? c. How important was Hitler to the success of the Nazis between 1929 and 1932? One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE History (CIE) that…

Model Answers: Weimar Germany, 1918-34 [free]

Weimar Germany, 1918-34 [free] a. What were the main features of the Weimar Constitution? b. Why did the Weimar Republic face difficulties in 1923? c. How successful was the Republic between 1924-1928? One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE History (CIE) that can be accessed here: (124 views)

Versailles Peace Treaty: Model Answers

Peace Treaties after World War One a. Describe how the peace treaties affected France. b. Explain why the Versailles treaty was harsh on Germany. c. To what extent did the aims of the Big Three differ? One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE History (CIE) that can be accessed here: (186 views)

Peace Treaties after World War One: Model Answers

Peace Treaties after World War One a. What is a diktat? b. Explain why some people thought that the Treaty of Versailles was fair. c. To what extent did the aims of the Big Three differ? One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE History (CIE) that can be accessed here:   (167 views)

Model Answers: Peace Treaties after World War One [free]

Peace Treaties after World War One [free] a. What did Wilson hope to achieve from the peace settlement of 1919-20? b. Why did Clemenceau and Lloyd George disagree over how to treat Germany? c. “The Treaty of Versailles was a fair settlement”. How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer. One of…

Origins of WW1 – IGCSE History P1 Model Answers

The Origins of World War One a. Describe the Alliance System which existed among European powers before 1914. b. Why did the Anglo-French entente survive? c. “The crises of 1905, 1908 and 1911 made war inevitable” – to what extent do you agree with this statement? One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE…

Why Appeasement? Diamond9 Quiz

Why Appeasement? Diamond9 Quiz A 15-question factual test designed to be used after students have watched the classic documentary “Why Appeasement?“. Part of the unit: GCSE/IB History: International Relations, 1929-39 (151 views)

Contrasts and comparisons to a second dictator

Contrasts and comparisons to a second dictator Students are presented with this structured worksheet providing guidance on how to compare and contrast Mao with a second dictator of their choice (NOTE: if a second dictator has not yet been studied, then this exercise can be done later in the course or as part of the…