Online Simulation: Are you the ‘fifth Beatle’?

Online Simulation: Are you the ‘fifth Beatle’? In this simulation, you will be presented with a series of situations that faced The Beatles during the 1960s, and regular video clips of The Beatles being interviewed and singing their songs. At the end of the simulation you will be told how many of these decisions matched…

Why did Beatlemania sweep the USA in the 1960s?

Why did Beatlemania sweep the USA in the 1960s? Through an analysis of the music, lyrics, fashion and politics of the 1960s, students learn about the cultural impact of the Beatles in the 1960s. They match images of the Beatles to the correct dates through the help of musical clips; examine their album art (and…

Who was the greatest of the other Rock ‘n’ Rollers?

Who was the greatest of the other Rock ‘n’ Rollers? In this activity you will take on the role of a Rock ‘n’ Roll manager. A major record label is willing to offer a lucrative contract to TWO acts. Your job is to make sure that your client gets one of these contracts! Part of…

How and why did adults and teenagers disagree about Elvis Presley?

How and why did adults and teenagers disagree about Elvis Presley? By the mid-1950s, there were lots of interesting developments going on in youth culture: a mass white audience with money to burn, young black musicians with amazing energy and talent, and a thriving movie industry catering for a teenage market. What was missing, though,…

What sorts of movies were popular with teenagers in the 1950s?

What sorts of movies were popular with teenagers in the 1950s? | Introductory Video – B-Movies (5 movies) | Plenary Video – JD Movies (8 minutes) The first signs of a distinctive “teenage” identity emerged not with music, but in film. Young people in the 1950s America grew up at a time of economic prosperity….

Why did “teenage” identity start to emerge in the 1950s?

In this activity, students are introduced to the creation of the modern teenager after World War Two, and listen to a wide variety of songs in different styles (blues, gospel, country, crooners) to compare and contrast them in terms of style and lyrical content. Part of the new unit on Teen Culture since WW2. (55…

“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. (158 views)

Primary sources about Churchill – worksheet

Primary sources about Churchill – Silent Discussion Prior to the lesson, your teacher will print off sets of sources and place them on different tables. The class will be divided into pairs, and each pair will be directed to a different table with a different set of sources. “Read the sources in silence, then still…

“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…

Design a Virtual Museum

Design a Virtual Museum During the COVID-19 lockdown period I got my students to collaborate on a “Virtual Museum” containing items from around their homes. It worked well and is something which I’ll now do regularly as a standalone project – you may be interested in trying a similar thing out with your own classes….

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…

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…

Who is your historical hero?

I have updated this popular project with some several more illustrative examples and a link to the Amazon store where you can purchase cardboard cubes to allow your students to make more professional “History Cubes”! (119 views)

Crime Board: Who was Jack the Ripper?

Crime Board: Who was Jack the Ripper? As an alternative to producinga straightforward ‘Wanted’ poster for the killer following the computer simulation, students could instead consider producing a ‘Crime Board’ connecting the various pieces of evidence to different suspects to produce an overall theory. (512 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….

Slave Trade Simulation: Updated and improved

To tie in more closely with “The Apprentice” roleplay which forms the main part of this study unit, the popular “Slave Trade Simulation” has been updated with a new activity worksheet. This worksheet is the default way of working through the simulation. It provides a detailed introduction to the topic, explains how it will feed…

Knowledge Cubes – originally posted on Tarr’s Toolbox

Overview When students conduct research on key individuals, get them to write up their findings on a cardboard cube, with each of the six faces covering a different theme. After the class has exchanged its findings in the form of a balloon debate or similar, collect the cubes in and, as an extension activity, invite pairs of students to…

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…

Essay Writing Phase: Was the 20th Century a Period of Progress?

Part of the ActiveHistory 20th Century Research Project. Essay Writing Phase: Was the 20th Century a Period of Progress? Students are now in a position to write their essay on the key question “Was the 20th Century a Period of Progress?”. In the simplest way, they can write the essay in two main sections: positives…

Was the 20th Century a Period of Progress? New Study Unit!

This project is designed to allow students to develop a broad but comprehensive overview of the main events of the 20th Century. Each student will research one key event, theme or individual of their choice to produce an attractive display piece. They will compare and contrast their findings with other people in the class to…

Winston ChurchillIndependent Research Phase and Mark Scheme for the Essay

Independent Research Phase and Mark Scheme for the Essay “The main body of your essay is now completed. To distinguish your study, you should now take the time to conduct some extra research to develop each of your main paragraphs with fresh evidence. Make use too of this mark scheme…” This detailed, stand-alone study unit…

Head2Head Preparation: Identifying ‘Heroic’ and ‘Villainous’ qualities and framing the questions ready for the interview

Head2Head Preparation: Identifying ‘Heroic’ and ‘Villainous’ qualities and framing the questions ready for the interview The class will be divided into two teams. The first team needs to make a list of ‘heroic’ (positive) qualities. The second team needs to make a list of ‘villainous’ (negative) qualities. These are then matched up in pairs, prioritised…

Primary sources about Churchill – Silent Discussion

Primary sources about Churchill – Silent Discussion Prior to the lesson, your teacher will print off sets of sources and place them on different tables. The class will be divided into pairs, and each pair will be directed to a different table with a different set of sources. “Read the sources in silence, then still…

Quotes by Churchill

Quotes by Churchill From a consideration of visual sources students now move towards quotes by Churchill. Winston Churchill was well-known for his speeches and his quotes. In this activity we will look at a number of these quotes, and work out whether on balance they suggest that he was a hero or a villain. “Read…

Diamond9 Activity: Photographs of Churchill

Diamond9 Activity: Photographs of Churchill “Cut out and create a “Diamond 9″ Diagram of these images, with the most ‘positive’ images towards the top, and the most ‘negative’ towards the bottom. Explain your choices either in a paragraph or by putting clear captions next to each of the images themselves. TIP: Start by writing your…

Photographs of Churchill: What deductions about him can we draw?

Photographs of Churchill: What deductions about him can we draw? “What impression is created of Churchill in each of the following photographs? Record your thoughts to the right of each picture. Compare your ideas with a partner, then with the class. TIP: To help you analyse each picture, you might want to consider such things…

Winston Churchill Head2Head Interactive Interview

This detailed, stand-alone study unit is based around an interactive Head2Head Virtual Interview with Winston Churchill. The unit is designed to be used with Year 9 students (13-14 years) but is easily adaptable to other contexts. The unit develops sourcework and essay-writing skills, and the outcome is a detailed, structured essay answering the key question…

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. (654 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! (628 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 (786…

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. (905 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. (721 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…

Musicians in the Civil Rights Movement – Feedback on Musicians

Students complete this worksheet following from the image, and then students in the class who researched musicians as their “Fakebook” project now feedback to the class with their findings by identifying the one most important event in their lives which illustrates their importance to the civil rights struggle. Everyone in the class uses this to…

Politicians in the Civil Rights Movement – Feedback on Politicians

Students complete this worksheet following from the image, and then students in the class who researched politicians as their “Fakebook” project now feedback to the class with their findings by identifying the one most important event in their lives which illustrates their importance to the civil rights struggle. Everyone in the class uses this to…

Sportspeople in the Civil Rights Movement – Feedback on Sportspeople

The students in the class who researched sportspeople as their “Fakebook” project now feedback to the class with their findings by identifying the one most important event in their lives which illustrates their importance to the civil rights struggle. Everyone in the class uses this to start developing a thematic timeline document. (454 views)

Sportspeople in the Civil Rights Movement – PowerPoint Starter

Students are presented with a famous image of two black sportsmen raising one hand in the air, wearing black gloves. What do the students think this means? Why are they wearing their gloves on different hands? A good way of setting up the focus on sportspeople. (460 views)

The Civil Rights Movement – Overview of civil rights campaigners

Students are given groups of politicians, musicians and sportsmen. Their job is to use Google Images to locate a picture of each person and paste them into the document. As they do so they start thinking about which character they would like to research in more depth if given the opportunity. (608 views)

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. (746 views)

History Mystery: Operation Mincemeat

A new History Mystery, designed to be used as part of a study of World War Two. 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 /…

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. (855 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. (1855 views)

Causes of the French Revolution: Essay-Planning Task

Essay-Planning Task This worksheet is designed to be used in conjunction with the mid-unit assessment in this unit. Students compare, contrast and connect 6 key factors to produce a detailed essay plan. (790 views)

Events of the French Revolution: Decision-Making Simulation

Part 2 of the French Revolution simulation. It is 1789. You are the French aristocrat, the Count of Camembert. You are an advisor to King Louis XVI of France. Your job is to give him good advice when he faces difficult decisions. The game is complete with sound effects and a worksheet. (928 views)

Causes of the French Revolution: Decision-Making Simulation

A major update to this popular simulation, which now includes sound effects and improved playability. Students journey around pre-revolutionary France and provide advice to the King in the hope of saving his dynasty. Worksheets provided. (1129 views)

Year 9 History Revision

A selection of quizzes and activities designed to help Year 9 History students revise the year’s work prior to their summer exams. (1058 views)

Famous History Graduates

An image of 27 well-known History graduates. The appropriate point at which to watch this video is made clear in the PowerPoint presentation above. Get the class into teams. Each team will take it in turns to name a different face. Teams are “knocked out” when they run out of ideas. The winning team will…

Origins of the British Empire

An example of how Xtranormal can be used as a learning tool: this project was produced as a homework project by one of my Year 9 students. (665 views)

Year 9 History – Expansion, Trade and Industry

A new workpack to accompany the Coalbrookdale Interactive Census. This completely stand-alone workpack provides 5-6 hours worth of lessons and is a great way to develop sourcework analysis skills. (701 views)

Napoleon Bonaparte: Hero or Villain?

Students conduct a “round robin” exercise, gathering information from their classmates after each student is given just one piece of information from this list. They then have to categorise their points and put them into a diagram using classtools.net. (1050 views)

The Tennis Court Oath

A role-play lesson. Students consider how they would have voted on each of the key issues discussed at the Tennis Court, then compare these to what was actually decided. (1194 views)

Causes of the French Revolution: Assessment

Students are provided with a list of possible questions for a GCSE-style test. In a subsequent lesson, the teacher should pick one question at random and the students write their answers in a timed exercise. (1231 views)

Short Term Causes of the French Revolution: Marie-Antoinette

The teacher should start by showing students this PowerPoint Presentation of stills from the Kirsten Dunst film to decide what impression is being created. They then use the worksheet to decide how accurate the interpretation actually is. (1952 views)

Worst Jobs in History

A totally updated version of this interactive, self-contained game designed to teach students about some of the worst jobs available to young people in Victorian, Tudor and Middle Ages Britain. Simply answer a series of questions about your personality and preferences, and get a full description of your perfect working-class job. A workheet is provided…

Transatlantic Slave Trade – Unit Starter

Students are presented with a series of images of objects, then of people from different continents, and have to deduce from this evidence what the next topic of study is likely to be. (647 views)