ActiveHistory Simulations: New Searchable Database

This new searchable database provides you with full access to scores of online history simulations and other interactive resources to use with your classes. All come complete with student worksheets and teacher support materials. (25 views)

“Statues and History” – Standalone lesson materials

Standalone lesson materials – “Statues and History” I finished putting together a self-contained study for my Year 9 students based on the recent debates about the future of historical statues – you can download the materials (and find links to additional videos/podcasts) here. Happy to hear any suggestions for further improvements. (179 views)

“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…

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.   (94 views)

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…

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. (89 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. (103 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. (170 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. (121 views)

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…

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…

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. (131 views)

The Victorians through Paintings: Video Clips List

Was life good or bad in Victorian Britain? – A study through paintings The following stand-alone study unit is delivered over 7-8 hours. Inspired by the excellent Jeremy Paxman series on “The Victorians”, it is designed to develop skills of visual literacy as well as essay writing. Students draw deductions from a range of Victorian…

Video worksheet: “Brunel” by Jeremy Clarkson | Factual Test 

Video worksheet: “Brunel” by Jeremy Clarkson | Factual Test  A worksheet to accompany the excellent documentary on Brunel by Jeremy Clarkson. I get students to play the Horatio Ramsbottom Game, then we watch this and complete the worksheet, then students choose whether to base their imaginary interview on Brunel or Ramsbottom. Based on their choice, they then…

Was life good or bad in Victorian Britain? – A study through paintings

Was life good or bad in Victorian Britain? – A study through paintings This new stand-alone study unit is delivered over 7-8 hours. Inspired by the excellent Jeremy Paxman series on “The Victorians”, it is designed to develop skills of visual literacy as well as essay writing. Students draw deductions from a range of Victorian…

Hexagons Activity: Impact of the Industrial Revolution

Hexagons Activity: Impact of the Industrial Revolution This activity is approached through a ‘Hexagons’ approach which is outlined in detail here. Students cut up the hexagons and organise them in logical groups, with adjacent sides of hexagons indicating connections that are then explained around the diagram. The hexagons were created using the ClassTools.net Hexagons Generator….

Who is your Historical Hero?

I have updated the “Who is your historical hero?” study unit to make use of the ‘Knowledge Cubes’ approach which I outline in more detail at Tarr’s Toolbox. (203 views)

Using ‘The Apprentice’ TV Show Format in the Classroom

I have produced a comprehensive set of instructions and resources which enables teachers to adapt the format of the TV show “The Apprentice” to foster group work, research skills and presentational abilities. In the illustrative example I share, students research and prioritise the methods used by the 19th Century Abolition Movement to outlaw the slave trade. Students are…

Year 9 Christmas History: Ebeneezer Scrooge: Hero or Villain?

Yr9 Lesson 2: Ebeneezer Scrooge: Hero or Villain? | Teacher Support Sheet  In this activity, students learn about, then are encouraged to challenge, the traditional interpretation of the Dickens Classic “A Christmas Carol”. (938 views)

Yr9 History: The Victorian Invention of Christmas!

Yr9 Lesson 1: The Victorian Invention of Christmas! | Teacher Answers In this activity, students consider how the Industrial Revolution almost destroyed Christmas altogether – until three real-life “Father Christmas” figures came along to save it! This is part one of a two-part lesson and makes use of images of the first Christmas Cracker, the first Christmas Treeand the…

Causes of the French Revolution – Research and Presentation Task | Sample Presentation

Causes of the French Revolution Research and Presentation Task | Sample Presentation Students study some sample examiners’ markschemes for questions relating to the causes of the French Revolution to analyse what appear to be the central factors identified. They then watch a 30-minute video to develop their understanding further. They organise their findings under key headings, then each student…

Teacher Introductory PowerPoint – Causes of the French Revolution

Causes of the French Revolution Teacher Introductory PowerPoint A series of images designed to get students thinking firstly about what the topic for study is going to be, and then highlighting some of the key issues surrounding it – in particular, what the central causes of the French Revolution were, how far it delivered on…

Fall of Napoleon, Timeline Worksheet and Multimedia Presentation

Timeline and Multimedia Presentation Although the main focus of our study unit has been Napoleon’s domestic policies, the above question highlights that it may be necessary to contrast these with his foreign policies in a ‘to what extent’ style of question. The objective of the following activity is therefore to ensure that you have the material able…

Classroom Trial, Did Napoleon betray the spirit of the French Revolution?

Classroom Trial: Did Napoleon betray the spirit of the French Revolution? The class will be divided into teams to research different aspects of Napoleon’s Rule. Prosecution will be pitted against Defence, with other students acting as judges. The job of the judges at the end of the discussion of the first issues is to decide…

Napoleonic Propaganda, Analysing Portraits Worksheet

Napoleonic Propaganda: Analysing Portraits Worksheet | Images for download In this activity students are given a detailed introduction to the art of propaganda in Napoleon’s France and they are then presented with a wide range of images. Students have to match the captions to the pictures and then decide how to categorise the various pictures. Each student…

Infographic Task, What sort of a man was Napoleon?

Infographic Task: What sort of a man was Napoleon? This framework encourages students to produce a one-sided A3 infographic about Napoleon as a revision aid. Part of the new IB Study Unit on “The French Revolution and the Rule of Napoleon“ (1050 views)

Silent Discussion, Impressions of Napoleon

Silent Discussion: Impressions of Napoleon In this activity students conduct a ‘Silent Discussion’ about Napoleon (instructions included) based around 12 primary sources. In this way they start to form impressions about whether Napoleon was a revolutionary or a reactionary. Part of the new IB Study Unit on “The French Revolution and the Rule of Napoleon“…

French Revolution, Discussion Points and Conclusions

Discussion Points and Conclusions This worksheet guides students through some of the key questions arising from the analysis thus far to ensure that the essay question (“To what extent did the French Revolution deliver on its promises?”) is approached with sufficient rigour. Part of the new IB Study Unit on “The French Revolution and the…

Picture Challenge, Key Events of the French Revolution

Picture Challenge: Key Events of the French Revolution Taken directly from the timeline, this quiz provides a series of key images relating to the period. In teams, students have to correctly identify the event relating to each picture. Part of the new IB Study Unit on “The French Revolution and the Rule of Napoleon“ (1023…

French Revolution, Detailed, Interactive Timeline of Key Events

Detailed, Interactive Timeline of Key Events This interactive timeline provides a comprehensive overview of the key events of the French Revolution and is designed to accompany the worksheet listed above. Part of the new IB Study Unit on “The French Revolution and the Rule of Napoleon“ (1982 views)

Analytical Research Template, Events of the French Revolution

Analytical Research Template: Events of the French Revolution This template allows students to analyse events from the detailed timeline (below) in terms of the key concepts of ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’ by dividing those concepts into practically measured criteria. There is also a completed teacher version available, along with links to recommended YouTube video clips. Part of the…

Depth Focus on Enlightenment Philosophy, Thomas Paine and the Rights of Man

In-Depth Focus on Enlightenment Philosophy: Thomas Paine and the Rights of Man With a general understanding of Enlightenment Philosophy now secured, students look in more depth at the “Rights of Man” to develop their understanding of the aims of the French Revolution. Links to two excellent video clips are also provided. Part of the new…

French Revolution, Defining the Debate, Enlightenment Philosophy

Defining the Debate: Enlightenment Philosophy In order to measure the success of the French Revolution, it is necessary to determine the professed aims of the Revolution. In this activity students will analyse the beliefs of key Enlightenment philosophers to reach a more detailed understanding of what the Revolutionaries really meant when the claimed to stand…

Teacher notes for the Franklin Expedition Mystery Unit

These teacher notes are designed to accompany the History Mystery on the Franklin Expedition (which opens up my studies with Year 9 Historians). The “ActiveHistory Mystery” approach is one which I use with Year 7, 8 and 9 at the beginning of the year. It provides an engaging start to the course, and the outcome…

Pirates – End of Unit Project: Instructions / Markscheme

End of Unit Project: Instructions / Markscheme To round the unit off, students produce an individual research project bringing their findings together using this helpsheet. The mark scheme is based closely on those used for the ActiveHistory Mysteries so that students can build upon their previous progress. (1035 views)

Comparisons and Contrasts between different pirates

  …-Wink-… / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND Table: Comparisons and Contrasts between different pirates and / or Venn: Comparisons and Contrasts between different pirates This could be used as an extension activity if time is pressing, but otherwise should be used as a standard part of the unit. (851 views)

Primary Sources – Genuine Pirate Codes

…-Wink-… / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND Part of the Pirates unit. This study unit allows students to investigate the key question “How useful is the film ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ to historians investigating the ‘Golden Age’ of Piracy? An interactive strategy game forms the hub of the unit, with students investigating the following key elements…

“Save Game” Facility for the “Middle Passage” Simulation

I have added a ‘save this game’ feature to the Middle Passage Simulation on this page. This means that students can now save their progress in the game and pick up where they left off later. Is this a useful feature that you’d like to see rolled out over other games? (1062 views)

Randomiser / Pirate Insult Tool

Randomiser / Pirate Insult Tool – this useful tool helps you to choose random positions on the board for each ship at the start of the game and if they get hit by hurricanes / the Kraken. The ‘insult’ tool is one of the ‘forfeits’ that appears in the game. (796 views)

Pirate Flags Quiz

This quiz is designed to accompany the Pirates Strategy Game. (795 views)

Quiz Questions – Pirates Strategy Game

Student teams succeed in their ‘attacks’ only if they can correctly answer factual questions testing their knowledge of the topic. This detailed bank of questions is broken down into various categories focusing on particular worksheets in this unit. (1018 views)

Feedback Phase – How far is Jack Sparrow based on genuine pirates?

Each ‘crew’ pool their findings to complete this worksheet, which encourages them to test key points about Jack Sparrow to determine if they match what we know about one or more of the pirates that they have now researched. This is followed by a quiz round which enables each ‘ship’ and its crew to win…

How far is Jack Sparrow based on genuine Pirates?

Research instructions | ‘Wanted Poster’ Template The first thing we investigate is how far “Jack Sparrow” is based on actual pirates. The class conducts a discussion about the sorts of things we know about “Jack Sparrow” from “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Students are then allocated different pirates to research. They record their findings in the…

Crazy Victorian Inventions – a Quiz!

Using this worksheet, students are given this presentation of 10 wacky inventions. They have to match each depicted invention with one of four possibilities. They should then try designing their own suitably nutty invention which can be later used as ‘Horatio Ramsbottom’s’ invention in the newspaper report task that follows the computer simulation (see below)….

Events of the American Civil War – Mission C: Campaigns and Battles

Mission C: Campaigns and Battles In this final stage of the game-based unit, students take the role of an advisor to either President Davis, or President Lincoln. They will be given a series of military, economic and political problems to deal with. Their first objective is to choose the course of action which they think…

Events of the American Civil War – Mission B: Events and Themes

Mission B: Events and Themes In the second stage of the simulation, students are presented with a series of decision points based on key events that took place during the course of the war. For each one, both teams have to decide how their president would have reacted. Correct guesses lead to an increase in…

Fakebook Project – Key Figures of the American Civil War

In preparation for the roleplay strategy game that follows, each student needs to take on the role of one key politician or soldier from the Civil War and research their life and career and present their findings through a ‘Fakebook’ profile. In this way they will be able to act in role much more effectively…

Causes of the American Civil War – Video Project

Video Project – What were the Causes of the American Civil War? This markscheme is designed to help students produce an effective video documentary about the Civil War using the information they have so far gathered. (659 views)

Causes of the American Civil War – Students’ Timeline Worksheet

Students’ Timeline Worksheet – preparation for the videomaking task Students are guided through the main events leading up to the Civil War using this timeline, which should be used in conjunction with specified clips from the first episode of Ken Burns’ excellent documentary about the American Civil War. At appropriate times they should have time…

American Civil War figures: “Fakebook” student projects

My year 9 Historians have been in role as American Civil War politicians and generals for the past couple of weeks. Here are some of the ‘Fakebook’ projects they produced to round off the epic strategy game through which we studied the topic! (630 views)

Transatlantic Slave Trade – new resources

I have just completed teaching the transatlantic slave trade to my Year 9 students. “The Apprentice” roleplay was a particular highlight and I’ve uploaded some new resources to the main page, in particular a new PowerPoint getting students to think about logos, slogans and brand names and a streamlined tasksheet for the Apprentice roleplay exercise….

Who was the Greatest Figure of the Industrial Revolution?

This lesson follows on well from the studies of individuals (see entire unit here). Students consider the big changes – transport, agriculture, smelting and so on – and try to link them together in a meaningful way. I have now added are some samples produced by my own students: Olivia | Hanif | Grace (791…

The Causes and Events of the French Revolution: Condensed Study Unit

The full study unit covering the causes and the events of the French Revolution takes up to 15 hours. However, in this condensed study unit, designed to last about 7 hours, students will learn about the main causes of the French Revolution. The Three Estates System, the mistakes of King Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, the…

The French Revolution: A New Condensed Study Unit

The full study unit covering the causes and the events of the French Revolution takes up to 15 hours. However, in this condensed study unit, designed to last about 7 hours, students will learn about the main causes of the French Revolution. The Three Estates System, the mistakes of King Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, the…

How to set up a QR Code Treasure Hunt

A QR-Code Treasure Hunt is a fun, simple way to get students using their mobile devices to continue learning outside of lesson time. Here’s how we set one up at the International School of Toulouse with some guidance on how to do the same with your own students using the QR Treasure Hunt Generator at…

QR Code Treasure Hunt: The Events of the American Civil War

Print off these 20 QR codes and put them up around your classroom / school. Students have to answer as many questions as they can in the time available. The completed answers can be used to develop their individual research project stemming from the interactive simulation. (910 views)

What should we call the American Civil War?

Students are presented with a long list of alternative names that have been used for the American Civil War. They organise these into suggested categories, compare their ideas with a partner, and then choose what they feel is the best alternative title. (723 views)

What can we learn from the songs of the Civil War?

In this activity, students analyse the lyrics (and, if possible, listen to the music) of popular Confederate and Unionist songs from the civil war. They then have to produce their own civil war song to a civil-war era tune of their choice. Their objective is to produce a song which clearly explains the causes of…

Timeline Challenge: The Causes of the American Civil War

For this activity, organise the class 5 teams. Display the first event by clicking the button. All the students should copy this information into their worksheet. The first team can play for up to 10 points depending on their confidence. They have to not only identify the mistake in the account, but correct it. If…

History Mystery: The Causes of the American Civil War

This unit is in the form of an ActiveHistory Mystery. Through a roleplay, stimulus images and information slips, students formulate questions, speculate answers, then research for themselves to produce a report which is then peer-assessed against a standard markscheme. The full investigation takes 2 hours of classroom time and at least another hour of individual…

Interactive Simulation Game: The Events of the American Civil War

In this multiplayer interactive simulation, you will take the role of an advisor to either President Davis, or President Lincoln. You will be given a series of military, economic and political problems to deal with. Your first objective is to choose the course of action which you think your President took in real life (his…

GCSE Modern World History: Video

A 3-minute video I use to give Year 9 students an overview of the course. Further materials for Year 9 options discussions can be found here. (750 views)

The Growth of Political Opposition in the Reign of Alexander II

After this starter activity based around a short story by Turgenev, I hand out a detailed handout outlining the growth of political opposition in the reign of Alexander. Students are encouraged to turn this into an illustrated mindmap. As an extension activity students could complete this worksheet based around Michael Bakunin’s “Catechism for a Revolutionist”…

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…

History Mysteries: The Franklin Expedition

The “History Mystery” approach helps students to formulate questions, work with primary sources, develop essay skills, and improve groupwork abilities. Through roleplay, picture analysis, written source evaluation, individual research and groupwork, students engage in genuine historical mysteries and produce a coherent and accomplished final report. I plan to develop a range of these exercises in…

History Mystery: The Franklin Expedition

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. (858 views)

Worst Jobs in History: Victorian

This Victorian 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. (1862 views)