The English Civil War: PowerPoint Starter / Accompanying Video

The English Civil War: PowerPoint Starter / Accompanying Video A series of images and short textual points designed to generate student interest. What was the Civil War? Why is it important to study? To accompany this, I have produced a short video of my own which I originally created as a distance-learning resource during COVID-19…

“Timeline of my Birthday” – worksheet

“Timeline of my Birthday” – worksheet Replace [DATE GOES HERE] with the month / day of your birthday (e.g. “November 30th”). Go to https://www.activehistory.co.uk/birthdayTimeline and input your birthday. It will provide a list of events, births and deaths that took place across a wide range of time on the day you were born. Select AT…

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…

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…

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….

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! (53 views)

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. (143 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. (122 views)

New decision-making simulation: “Time Machine Journey to the Renaissance”

Recoded, rewritten, relaunched: the popular “Time Machine Journey to Renaissance Florence” has been completely revamped with fresh features including: A live ‘leaderboard’ so that teachers can monitor student progress; The ability for students to print off a certificate of achievement at the end; Factual questions testing essential knowledge throughout the simulation.   (223 views)

Medieval Cathedrals: Design your own!

Resources and materials for helping students design their own historically accurate Medieval Cathedral, including a Minecraft animation! (163 views)

Turbo-Timeline Generator!

I have developed a brand-new timeline generator over at ActiveHistory’s sister site, ClassTools.net. All you have to do is COPY and PASTE a timeline from a website or word document, click a button and you get an animated timeline you can navigate through. Here is an example on the Life and Career of Cromwell, and…

How did Cromwell rule England 1649-1658?

How did Cromwell rule England 1649-1658? Students fill the gaps in a detailed account with the words listed at the bottom of it, then use this information to answer the questions which follow. (99 views)

England without a King: How should the country be governed?

After the execution of Charles I in 1649 England became a republic – a country without a King – and was called the ‘Commonwealth’ after the phrase ‘Common Weal’ or ordinary people. No-one had any experience of how to run the country, but there were several groups who had their own ideas… (156 views)

Oliver Cromwell’s Life and Career

Oliver Cromwell’s Life and Career Oliver Cromwell is a controversial character. There are often calls for his statue outside Parliament to be taken down. In this lesson we will investigate his life and career in more detail to decide whether he deserves to be remembered as a famous hero or an infamous villain. (136 views)

What sort of a man was Oliver Cromwell?

What sort of a man was Oliver Cromwell? A series of sources are provided and students consider such questions as “What is the difference between ‘famous’ and ‘infamous’?” / “How far do these sources agree about Cromwell?” / “Why do you think they might disagree about some things (hint: think about who wrote them, when…

The life of Martin Luther – Design a film trailer!

The life of Martin Luther – Design a film trailer! It’s a great story – and in this activity, students use a timeline to produce a Hollywood Film Poster (complete with suggested merchandise, reviews and screenshots) advertising a new blockbuster about the life of the Reformation giant. Focusing on the cast list, the film title…

Escape Room: “Mission: Galileo 1610”

1. Escape Room: “Mission: Galileo 1610” “It is 1610. the Renaissance (‘Rebirth’) of arts and sciences has transformed Europe. You are students of the great scientist galileo in Padua, Italy. You have all been put in jail by the church for insisting that the earth goes round the sun! You will all taken away to…

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

Part of the new materials to support a study of Elizabethan England, for example: Early Elizabethan England, 1558-88 (Edexcel) Elizabethan England, c1568-1603 (AQA) 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:…

Elizabeth’s refusal to marry, conclusions and sourcework

Part of the new materials to support a study of Elizabethan England, for example: Early Elizabethan England, 1558-88 (Edexcel) Elizabethan England, c1568-1603 (AQA) Why did the Spanish decide to invade England in 1588? > Elizabeth’s refusal to marry Conclusion: Elizabeth’s Refusal to Marry Students are provided with a list of factors explaining Elizabeth’s decision not…

Elizabethan England: Why did Elizabeth refuse to marry?

Part of the new materials to support a study of Elizabethan England, for example: Early Elizabethan England, 1558-88 (Edexcel) Elizabethan England, c1568-1603 (AQA) Why did the Spanish decide to invade England in 1588? > Factor 1. Elizabeth’s Refusal to Marry | Teacher Presentation | Teacher Notes (147 views)

Year 8 History – A Puritan Christmas!

Yr8: A Puritan Christmas! This lesson covers how and why the Protestant Reformation led to the emergence of a ‘Puritan’ movement which banned Christmas altogether. Students will research how various Christmas traditions that we take for granted actually have very little basis in the Bible. In role, and as charmingly as possible, the teacher will…

Medieval Castles, worksheet and video

I have put together an extension worksheet for the popular “Interactive Castle Building Simulation” based around a documentary video that can be found on YouTube. My plan is to set this as an extension / homework assignment, especially as my students are lucky enough to have a school trip to Carcassonne as part of their…

The Wars of the Roses

Jebulon / Foter.com / CC BY-SA The Wars of the Roses In this activity students analyse a royal family tree to make deductions regarding the changing fortunes of the Houses of Lancaster and York. Further stimulus material leads into a research phase in which students try to determine whether other royals – all of whom…

The Princes in the Tower: Classroom Debate

The Princes in the Tower: Classroom Debate Students are organised into 6 teams to construct a case seeking to prove a particular fate for the Princes in the Tower. At the end of the exercise students write-up their findings declaring Richard guilty or innocent of the crime. (1514 views)

The Princes in the Tower: Card Sort Exercise

This worksheet provides students with an overview of the mystery relating to the Princes in the Tower. Students then organise a series of statements into evidence of guilt or innocence, then match up pairs of statements relating to similar themes / pieces of evidence. (1861 views)

Does King Richard III deserve a Royal Funeral?

Introductory Presentation / Video This presentation provides a series of ‘mystery’ images. Students are asked to raise their hands when they think they know what the topic is (but not to say anything!). Before showing the video clip and final slide, the teacher should ask students with their hands up what they think the images…

Henry VIII – Multimedia Presentation

This presentation contains 21 images and several video clips, and should be used in conjunction with the introductory lesson on “Henry VIII: Hero or Villain?” that can be found in the Henry VIII section. (1447 views)

Henry VIII – New resources for Year 8

I’ve developed the resources for teaching Henry VIII to include a markscheme for the suggested essay, a helpsheet for writing the ‘storybook’ and a markscheme for the same project, as well as further instructions for how to run a joint lesson with primary school students. (1862 views)

QR Code Treasure Hunt – the Gunpowder Plot

To accompany the Gunpowder Plot History Mystery, I’ve produced this QR Code Treasure Hunt on the same topic. Whilst students are working on their essays as a two-week homework exercise, these codes are hidden around the school and students gain a point for every QR code they successfully decode, and another point for every QR…

History Mystery: The Gunpowder Plot

This new “History Mystery” is designed as stand-alone projects which each last 3-4 hours. Through engaging historical topics, they teach skills of problem formulation, deductive reasoning, independent research, groupwork and structured writing. (1035 views)

300 Years ago today (24th Jan. 1712): Birth of Frederick the Great

Frederick II’s first act on assuming the throne of Prussia in 1740 was to take his state to war—a consequence, he later explained, of possessing a well-trained army, a full treasury and a desire to establish a reputation. For the next quarter century he confronted Europe in arms and emerged victorious, but at a price…

400 Years Ago Today (17th Jan. 1612) – Birth of Thomas Fairfax

Birth of Thomas Fairfax, 3rd Baron Fairfax of Cameron, English general, commander of the Parliamentary army during the English Civil War. Known as “Black Tom” for his dark complexion, Sir Thomas gained a reputation as a gallant and courageous commander in the struggle to control Yorkshire — but his fortunes were mixed. In March 1643,…

The Lutheran Reformation: Designing a Movie Poster / Trailer

A Powerpoint template getting students to match historical characters from the timeline of Luther’s life to real actors. A completed version is also available, along with a movie trailer produced recently by one of my students. For the full unit, click here. (684 views)

“Renaissance Day” – a whole-school, cross-curricular project

At the International School of Toulouse, Year 8 students (aged 13-14) are taken off-timetable during the summer term for what we call “Renaissance Day“. The event is popular with both teachers and students. It promotes cross-curricular awareness, gets students working effectively as teams, develops analytical ability and improves presentational skills. The resources to develop your…

History Mystery: The Princes in the Tower

An ActiveHistory Mystery. The “History Mysteries” lessons are designed as stand-alone projects which each last 3-4 hours. Through engaging historical topics, they teach skills of research, groupwork, structured writing. There is a standard teacher lesson plan and student record sheet / markscheme for each activity. (1713 views)

History Mysteries: Lesson Plans, Worksheets and Markschemes

I’ve just launched a brand new section on the website called the “ActiveHistory Mysteries“. I have been trialling these with my own students this term and they have proven to be a big hit! If you try them out with your own students, and / or you have any ideas for other “mysteries” I could…

Worst Jobs in History: Tudors

This Worst Jobs in History simulation can be used as a stand-alone lesson, homework assignment or as part of a broader unit on “Was life Good or Bad during this particular period?”. The worksheet has basic activities for a 30 minute lesson, and extension tasks that could be followed up later. (1114 views)

Why was the Medieval Church so powerful? – Boardgames project

This four-hour unit helps students to understand why religion was so important in the Middle Ages. This leads neatly into a study of the Cathars and the Reformation. Students study why the Church was so powerful in the Middle Ages. They conduct a card-sort exercise, have a game of charades, then work in pairs and…

Henry VIII Wheel of Life

Students rate Henry VIII according to various criteria and “join the dots” in this diagram to produce a “Wheel of Life”. Space is provided for students to explain their reasoning. (566 views)

King Henry VIII: Classroom Roleplay Lesson

This roleplay exercise divides the class into three teams – prosecution, defence, and judges. The prosecution and the defence gather evidence and prepare their case whilst the judges select some surprise exhibits to use in the trial. The trial itself should be a lively lesson which encourages students to make deductions and question the reliability…

The Trial of King Charles I: Primary Source Analysis

Students read transcripts of the trial to consider what they tell us about the King, his prosecutors and the attitude of those present. This resource can be found within this complete Key Stage 3 History Study Unit on the English Civil War. (3318 views)

History in the Headlines

The latest “History in the Headlines“! This newsfeed is updated (almost!) daily. It provides a hand-selected digest of the automated newsfeed at ClassPress.net. This provides a great way of adding contemporary relevance to your classroom studies. Why not print some of the articles out and stick them on a news board? Or get your students…

Year 8 History Revision Quizzes

A selection of quizzes and activities designed to help Year 8 History students revise the year’s work prior to their summer exams. (4811 views)

The Execution of King Charles I, 1649

The Execution of King Charles I: Film and Primary Source Analysis How accurately has the event been depicted in films such as Cromwell (1970) and To Kill a King (2002)? The video clips are accessible at YouTube: [Cromwell (1970)] [To Kill a King (2002)] (2135 views)

The Trial of King Charles I: Film Analysis

How accurately has the event been depicted in films such as Cromwell (1970) and To Kill a King (2002)? The lesson can be accompanied by the second part of the Prezi Presentation.The video clips are embedded within it, but they are also accessible at YouTube: [Cromwell (1970)] [To Kill a King (2002)]. This resource can…

The Events of the English Civil War

An overview of the main events of the English Civil War is provided, and a discussion takes place as to whether the King should be put on trial. The lesson can be accompanied by the first part of a Prezi Presentation. This resource can be found within this complete Key Stage 3 History Study Unit…

King Charles I: Venn Diagram

A thematic analysis of the problems leading up to the outbreak of the English Civil War. This resource can be found within this complete Key Stage 3 History Study Unit on the English Civil War. (616 views)

King Charles I: Timeline Analysis

A chronological analysis of the problems leading up to the outbreak of the English Civil War. This resource can be found within this complete Key Stage 3 History Study Unit on the English Civil War. (1062 views)

King Charles I: Overview Decision Making Game

Students play as King Charles I and try to avoid taking the country into a Civil War. Comes complete with a worksheet and follow-up activities. This resource can be found within this complete Key Stage 3 History Study Unit on the English Civil War. (1605 views)

Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot

An in-depth investigation into the Gunpowder plot making use of primary source materials to help students decide whether the Catholics were “framed”. There is a PowerPoint Slide could be used as a starter to the lesson, and there a Fling the Teacher Quiz which can be used as a factual test. This resource can be…

King James I: An Overview

Students consider the personality and policies of King James I as a long-term explanation for the outbreak of the Civil War. This resource can be found within this complete Key Stage 3 History Study Unit on the English Civil War. (687 views)

Causes of the English Civil War: Powerpoint lesson starter

A series of images and short textual points designed to generate student interest. What was the Civil War? Why is it important to study? This resource can be found within this complete Key Stage 3 History Study Unit on the English Civil War. (4145 views)

Year 8 Civil War Projects

As part of their studies of the Causes of the English Civil War, Year 8 historians produced a project in the format of their choice. Here is Mark’s outstanding effort, which earned him a commendation. Here are some other examples of great projects in the form of “Chatshow Debates” created using Xtranormal: Warren | Lucy…

Head2Head Worksheets

I have uploaded two worksheets to accompany the Head2Head Virtual Interviews. These are designed to work “off the shelf” and provide focus and direction to students conducting their virutal interviews with Hitler, Henry VIII, Martin Luther King, Dr. Fox and Stalin. 1. Newspaper Interview Task 2. Truth or Fiction Task (586 views)

The Renaissance – End of Unit Test / Assessment

Following directly on from the classroom debate, students then write an essay. This worksheet contains detailed instructions on how to link the characters together rather than simply focusing on what each one individually contributed. A clear markscheme is also provided; I get each student to mark 4 different essays, then we collate all the marks…

The Renaissance – Who was the most important person of the Renaissance?

A detailed lesson plan for year 8 history students. A class list is put into the Fruit Machine Name Picker at www.classtools.net to choose the Renaissance character each student should produce a research project on. This Renaissance project will be written in the first person to ensure that the student reads the information, under three…

1453 Siege of Constantinople

An introductory worksheet. Perhaps the main reason why the Renaissance took off in Italy – this activity gets the narrative across in an engaging way. Students are given an interactive “news feed” of events, then can choose to produce EITHER a biased news report in Publisher OR a radio broadcast using their microphone OR a…

History Shop

It’s with a great sense of relief that I’ve finally launched the ActiveHistory History Store – a massive repository of history books, history CDs and history DVDs available from Amazon, organised by date period and by genre (historical fiction, popular history, history study books, history dvds). There are hundreds of resources available here which I…

Lutheran Reformation Historiography – Online Quiz!

A new quiz which tests knowledge of every major Reformation historian worth knowing about: Roland Bainton, Heiko Oberman, Heinz Schilling, Von Ranke, Max Steinmetz, Schilling / Reinhard, AG Dickens, Christopher Haigh, Joseph Lortz, Gunther Vogler, Friedrich Engels, Peter Blickle, Scott and Scribner, Martin Luther, Harold Bender, George H. Williams, M.M. Smirin, Claus-Peter Clasen, James M….

Witchcraft Trial – Updated Activity Worksheet

I have updated the popular witchcraft trial lesson plan and trial worksheet to include follow up questions designed to get students thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of both the adversarial justice system, and also of jury trials. This ensures that the trial itself is rounded off with some reflective questions rather than just a…

“Bloody” Mary Tudor?

A worksheet based around the short clip from the feature film “Elizabeth” which shows the execution of Latimer and Ridley. Type in “latimer ridley” into www.youtube.com to find the clip! (1350 views)

Life of Martin Luther – Hollywood Style!

The life of Martin Luther: Not strictly necessary, but it’s a great story – and in this activity, students use a timeline to produce a Hollywood Film Poster advertising a new blockbuster about the life of the Reformation giant. Focusing on the cast list, the film title and the key events of his life, it…

Matthew Hopkins, Witchfinder General

In this history lesson plan and worksheet, students read through the 14 questions posed in Mathew Hopkins’ “The Discovery of Witches”, choose the 5 questions the think will put the Witchfinder General in the tightest spot, then the teacher provides the answers which were originally given by Hopkins. Follow-up questions (and the suggestion that the…

A Classroom Witch Trial

This Witch Trial and accompanying record sheet is always one of the highlights of the Year 8 course! With some students taking on the role of women accused of witchcraft, others acting as defence counsel, and others as prosecution lawyers, this is a lively unit which really helps students to understand the difference between facts,…

Witchcraft: 1. Introduction: Religion, Superstition and Witchcraft.

Students start with Task 1, followed by a classroom discussion, just to get them thinking. Then, they place their worksheet face down on the table and I write this question on the board: “When was the last witch executed?”. Students turn their sheets back over, and a merit is awarded for the person who first…

Portraits as Propaganda: Elizabeth I

This history lesson builds on well from The Ambassadors and the Tudor Portrait Mystery Exercises. Students consider the tools used by artists to represent different policies, emotions and personality traits in individuals, using the famous “Armada Portrait” as a starting point. They then use what they have learned to produce their own colourful “Royal Portrait”…

Key Themes of the 16th Century

A worksheet and history lesson plan designed to get students thinking about key terminology and linking their ideas together meaningfully. (796 views)

Drake’s Circumnavigation: Google Earth Flyover

I have just put the finishing touches to a Google Earth Flyover of Sir Francis Drake’s Circumnavigation of the Globe. The activity comes complete with 6 worksheets which you can pick and choose from to use with your classes: 1. Structured Questions about Drake’s Circumnavigation Students answer a series of questions based around a viewing…

Running Dictation Exericse: The Siege of Constantinople, 1453

Perhaps the defining reason why the Renaissance took off in Italy, the Siege of Constantinople is also a great story. This activity gets the narrative across in a suitably exciting way. Complete with suggested classroom / homework activities. (530 views)