“Beat the Teacher” – Hotseating with an edge!

This is a great way of encouraging students to conduct vigorous research in preparation for a debate about the success/failure of a particular ruler. It can be conducted either as a way of revising and consolidating topic knowledge at the end of a unit, or as an intensive means of studying the topic for the very…

“Linkage Bingo” to summarise and connect key factors

This whole-class game is a great way firstly to summarise issues of cause or effect, and then (most importantly and most challengingly) to link them together in a meaningful way prior to students producing a written essay. The class will be divided into 5 teams and one piece of scrap paper to jot down ideas….

Diamond Diagrams for Prioritisation

Overview: Students produce or are given 9 pieces of information which they arrange in order in a diamond diagram. Examples: Arrange outcomes of the Treaty of Versailles from most successful to least successful; Arrange medieval jobs from highest status to lowest status; arrange historical figures from most significant to least significant. Taking it further: Students…

“Factor Auction”

This is a great idea to get students to think more creatively about which factors are the most important to cover in their written work. I think I originally came across at a session by @MrsThorne at the SHP Conference (who informs me that the slide originally came from @JiveSpin – we’re a professionally incestuous…

PieChart Prioritisation

At the end of a unit of study about causation, ask students to divide responsibility between factors in an Excel template which automatically converts the percentage splits into piecharts; thereafter they have to explain their reasoning. Here’s an example where students had to reflect upon WHO and WHAT was most responsible for the First World…

Causation Diagram Template

The following image comes from an old textbook, and illustrates the respective importance of long, mid and short-term factors in causing World War One. I created a ‘blanked out’ version which I provide to students at the end of a topic and ask them to decide what factors they would place in the various spots in the…

Interpretation via Triangulation

It is always a interesting to compare and contrast the differing views of students on key questions. When the debate can be reduced to an either/or option (e.g. ‘success or failure?’, ‘hero or villain?’) this can be done most simply by students organising themselves along a continuum line. When the debate is based around three main interpretations,…

Balloon Debates!

“You are in a hot air balloon that is losing height rapidly. It will soon crash into the side of a mountain because it is overweight. To prevent the certain death of everybody on board, only one person will be allowed to stay in the balloon!” Balloon debates are a great way of promoting research…