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. (8 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 (28 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! (16 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.   (94 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. (61 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. (47 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. (61 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. (94 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. (64 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: (119 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: (62 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: (103 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: (134 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:   (138 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 (134 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…

20-question factual test on Mao’s domestic policies

20-question factual test on Mao’s domestic policies – to ensure students have obtained a sufficient level of topic mastery by this stage. Part of the new study unit on Mao’s rule of China, 1949-76 (76 views)

Detailed analysis of Mao’s domestic policies

Partway through this research process, you may wish to present your students with this detailed analysis of Mao’s domestic policies to help them along. There is also a completed teacher version of this exercise available. Part of the new study unit on Mao’s rule of China, 1949-76 (0 views)

Mao’s China: Thematic Analysis and Independent Research

Mao’s China: Thematic Analysis and Independent Research Students are next provided with this note-taking framework, which organises the events covered in the teacher lecture (above). The challenge is to organise their existing notes into evidence of success/praise and criticism/failure for each of the eight major policy areas, then develop each one further with additional research…

Mao and his Ministers

Mao and his Ministers Following the lecture, students should be provided with this detailed summary sheet of Mao’s most important ministers. They should revise from this before being give a factual test on what they have learned (teacher answer sheet also available). Part of the new study unit on Mao’s rule of China, 1949-76 (72…

Teacher Part 3: Mao’s Domestic Policies 1968-76

Teacher Part 3: Domestic Policies 1968-76 Covering five central issues: 11. Mango Fever | 12. Red Guards | 13. Lin Biao | 14. Sino-American Relations | 15. Postscript Part of the new study unit on Mao’s rule of China, 1949-76 (50 views)

Teacher Lecture, Part 2: Mao’s Domestic Policies 1945-67

Teacher Lecture, Part 2: Domestic Policies 1945-67 Covering five central issues: 6. Culture | 7. Great Leap Forward | 8. Lushan Conference | 9. Great Famine | 10. Cultural Revolution Part of the new study unit on Mao’s rule of China, 1949-76 (93 views)

Teacher Lecture, Part 1: Mao’s Domestic Policies 1949-56

Teacher Lecture, Part 1: Mao’s Domestic Policies 1949-56 Covering five central issues: 1. Administration | 2. Economy | 3. Politics | 4. Five-Year Plan | 5. Sino-Soviet Relations Part of the new study unit on Mao’s rule of China, 1949-76 (89 views)

Which 20th Century Dictator are YOU?

I start the study of the Rule of Mao by getting students to complete the ActiveHistory interactive simulation “Which 20th Century Dictator are YOU?” using this abbreviated worksheet. This is a stand-alone simulation to help students compare and contrast how single-party state rulers maintained power. It guides students through 10 key issues explaining how and…

Medieval Town and Village Virtual Adventure

I have updated the “Middle Ages Time Machine Adventure” with a “save progress” feature so that students can pick up their games where they left off if playing the game over several lessons or completing it for homework. (122 views)

League of Nations Simulation – update

I have updated the first part of the League of Nations simulation with more detailed information and a new worksheet for IGCSE students. The topic page for the League can be found here.   (307 views)

Escape the Room – Whitechapel 1888

ActiveHistory topic page: “Escape the Room” scenarios “It is 1888. You are an undercover detective working on the infamous ‘Jack the Ripper’ murder case. One evening in the Autumn of 1888, two women are murdered in just one evening. As you conduct your own private investigation the police arrest you for acting suspiciously. Once it…

Henry VIII: Head2Head Virtual Interview Relaunch

Over the Xmas holidays I completely re-coded and relaunched the popular “Head2Head Interview with Henry VIII” which can be found here. The new version has an improved artificial intelligence engine and a modernised layout so that students appear to be having a text chat with the character on their mobile device. (104 views)

Medicine Through Time Expert: Head2Head Virtual Interview Relaunch

Over the Xmas holidays I completely re-coded and relaunched the popular “Head2Head Interview with Dr. Fox” which can be found here. The new version has an improved artificial intelligence engine and a modernised layout so that students appear to be having a text chat with the character on their mobile device. (82 views)

Adolf Hitler: Head2Head Virtual Interview Relaunch

Over the Xmas holidays I completely re-coded and relaunched the popular “Head2Head Interview with Adolf Hitler” which can be found here. The new version has an improved artificial intelligence engine and a modernised layout so that students appear to be having a text chat with the character on their mobile device. (187 views)

Martin Luther King, Jr: Head2Head Virtual Interview Relaunch

Over the Xmas holidays I completely re-coded and relaunched the popular “Head2Head Interview with MLK” which can be found here. The new version has an improved artificial intelligence engine and a modernised layout so that students appear to be having a text chat with the character on their mobile device.   (184 views)

William the Conqueror: Head2Head Virtual Interview Relaunch

Over the Xmas holidays I completely re-coded and relaunched the popular “Head2Head Interview with William the Conqueror” which can be found here. The new version has an improved artificial intelligence engine and a modernised layout so that students appear to be having a text chat with the character on their mobile device. (81 views)

Josef Stalin: Head2Head Virtual Interview Relaunch

Over the Xmas holidays I completely re-coded and relaunched the popular “Head2Head Interview with Josef Stalin” which can be found here. The new version has an improved artificial intelligence engine and a modernised layout so that students appear to be having a text chat with the character on their mobile device. (75 views)

25-Question Factual Test – the Korean War

25-Question Factual Test To test knowledge and understanding at the end of the unit (teacher password required). Part of the new ActiveHistory study unit on the Korean War. (148 views)

The Korean War: Collapsible Revision Notes

The Korean War: Collapsible Revision Notes Interactive notes which can be collapsed or expanded to various levels of detail for revision purposes. Part of the new ActiveHistory study unit on the Korean War. (131 views)

The Korean War: Interactive Cartoon analysis

The Korean War: Interactive Cartoon analysis Analyse a series of cartoons by hovering over details and answering exam-style questions. When you have finished, the computer will provide you with a printout comparing your answer to a model answer. A great way to revise and develop sourcework skills. Part of the new ActiveHistory study unit on…

Korean War Fling the Teacher Quiz

Korean War Fling the Teacher Quiz 75 possible questions: I like to get all the students playing it simultaneously, and award 25 points for the first person to finish, 24 for the next, and so on; over the course of a few weeks you can build up a “Fling the Teacher Leaderboard” if you play…

Cartoon story analysis – The Korean War

Consolidation activity [3]: Cartoon story analysis Students take a cartoon story about the war and analyse it for partiality and omissions. Part of the new ActiveHistory study unit on the Korean War. (90 views)

Mapwork – The Korean War

Consolidation activity [2]: Mapwork Students have to match a range of maps to key moments in the war to consolidate their understanding. Part of the new ActiveHistory study unit on the Korean War. (53 views)

Korean War – Mini-Debates

Mini-Debates Students are placed into prosecution and defence teams to analyse Truman’s handling of the Korean War. There are some completed teacher notes available for this exercise. Part of the new ActiveHistory study unit on the Korean War. (53 views)

Truman makes his decision about MacArthur

Truman makes his decision about MacArthur “Read the following sources, then use them to answer the following question: In your view, do you think that Truman was right to fire General MacArthur? Explain your answer by considering both sides.” Part of the new ActiveHistory study unit on the Korean War. (40 views)

Should Truman tolerate or fire MacArthur for his criticisms?

Should Truman tolerate or fire MacArthur for his criticisms? MacArthur asks Truman to threaten atomic attacks on China if they refuse to withdraw from Korea. Rejecting MacArthur’s advice, Truman refuses to threaten retaliation against China, fearing that this could lead to a Third World War. As a result, MacArthur starts openly criticizing Truman’s policies in…

Should Truman support MacArthur and commit the USA to a ‘total war’ in Korea?

Should Truman support MacArthur and commit the USA to a ‘total war’ in Korea? Using a variety of sources within a timeline, students decide whether Truman should follow MacArthur’s advice and threated retaliation against China unless they withdraw from Korea. Part of the new ActiveHistory study unit on the Korean War. (40 views)

Korean War – Interactive Newsfeed Exercise

Korean War – Interactive Newsfeed Exercise Students are presented with a series of “newsfeeds” about the Korean War, which they use to complete this worksheet, and then answer a series of questions. Part of the new ActiveHistory study unit on the Korean War. (49 views)

Primary source analysis – causes of the Korean War

Who was responsible for the outbreak of the Korean War? Was Truman right to commit troops to the conflict? Partway through the presentation students will be required to evaluate a series of primary source documents regarding these issues. An additional optional source is extracts from NSC-68. Part of the new ActiveHistory study unit on the…

“Z-A” QUIZ GENERATOR – ideal for lesson starters/plenaries!

A new quiz generator at www.classtools.net. How to play: Organise your students into teams. Your list of terms will slowly be revealed, letter by letter, in reverse alphabetical order. Students raise their hands as soon as they think they can: EITHER identify what the terms are (for 1 point) OR identify what all the terms…