Tsar Alexander II

World History teaching resources for the high school classroom: lesson plans, worksheets, quizzes and simulation games for KS3, IGCSE, IB and A-Level teachers.


Worksheets and Lesson Plans

Tsar Alexander II
Tsar Alexander II
1. Create a Map of Imperial Russia
Students are given a list of cities, regions and natural features in Imperial Russia, a knowledge of which is essential for an understanding of the topic. They then have to produce a labelled, colour-coded map which they will be able to refer back to throoughout their studies.
2. Alexander II: An Introduction
Students consider accounts about the assassination of Tsar Alexander II to start considering why he was a figure who divides historical opinion.
3. The Emancipation of the Serfs: Causes
Students consider the main problems facing Imperial Russia when Alexander became Tsar, and how each of these could be improved by the Emancipation of the Serfs. A good way of providing an overview of the situation, and of encouraging students to link factors. As an extension activity there is a worksheet based around Peter Kropotkin's memoirs of the serf system.
4. The Emancipation of the Serfs: Dangers
The benefits of Emancipation are obvious - so why did it take so long for the Tsars to carry out the programme, and why did the prospect generate so much opposition? This worksheet gets students in role to consider the possible drawbacks of various courses of action.
5. The Emancipation of the Serfs: Events
The stages of the Emancipation of the Serfs are covered in this worksheet
6. The Emancipation of the Serfs: Sourcework Analysis
Students read through the Edict of Emancipation of 1861 and use it to consider the motives and methods of Tsar Alexander II. In addition, students are asked to consider how he seeks to allay the fears of the nobility.
7. The Emancipation of the Serfs: Assessment
A structured writing framework designed to help students consolidate their knowledge and understanding thus far.
8. The Emancipation of the Serfs: Essay-Planning Task
A skeleton essay framework to help students answer the question "For what reasons, and with what results, did Alexander II Emancipate the Serfs in 1861?"
9. Alexander II's Other Reforms: Introduction
Students get into role as government advisors and consider the merits and drawbacks of various possible reforms. They take a class vote and they can then compare these ideas to what was ultimately decided to reach a deeper judgement on the value of Alexander's reforms.
10. Alexander II's Other Reforms: Research Task
With their own ideas now formed, students look at what Alexander actually did. There is also a completed teacher version available.
11. 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"
12. Alexander II: Conclusion
Students are required to produce an obituary - either positive or negative - in this structured task.
13. Tsar Alexander II Essay Planning Task: "To what extent does he deserve his title of the 'Tsar Liberator'?"
A skeleton essay framework to help students round off the topic of study.
14. 25 Question Factual Test: The Reign of Alexander II
A good way of testing knowledge at the end of the unit. Students could prepare for this by taking one of the interactive quizzes (below) first.



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