The Mystery of Pompeii

Republican and Imperial Rome: worksheets, lesson plans and interactive resources for the school history classroom.

In this stand-alone study unit, which could be used as part of a larger study of The Roman Empire, students slowly build up a picture of what happened at Pompeii by framing a series of questions from research after being given some esesntial information. They then build up their knowlege with evidence provided by the teacher, from a video documentary, and from internet research, and then produce an essay.

pompeiiStudent Investigation Pack | Online slideshow presentation

"Before giving you this worksheet, your teacher will have shown you this image on the screen and asked you to formulate four questions. After class discussion, record these in the table below and note down possible answers (some of you may even KNOW some answers already!).
Your teacher will now deliver a lecture using an online slideshow presentation. For each slide, copy down the information you are given in column [2], and try to formulate a question to put into column [3]. After the presentation is finished, work with a partner to come up with possible answers to record in column [4].

Evidence Slips

Each member of the class will be given an piece of evidence from this sheet of information slips by the teacher. Copy down what it says here, and then consider if it helps to answer any of the questions we have now identified. If you have time, bring your completed slip back to the teacher to receive a second and even a third.
Now discuss with other people on your table what you have learned, and record answers to your questions as appropriate. Your teacher might then "jigsaw" the groups and repeat this process. End by having a whole-class discussion about which answers are certain, which are likely, and which are possible"

Video Worksheet

"Use the video link provided to gather answers to these central questions: Why are the skulls cracked open? | Who was Pliny the Younger? | Why were the people in Herculaneum turned into skeletons, but the people in Pompeii were preserved? | Why are their hands raised like boxers? | Why were the clothes of the people in Pompeii not burned away by the heat? | Why did so many of the people in Pompeii not try to escape?

Writing the Essay

"You will be allowed to bring in with you: your A3 research sheet which we have been using in lessons AND one sheet of A4 paper with handwritten notes. The best essays will demonstrate an ability to write clearly; detailed answers to fewer questions rather than very brief answers to all of them; clear evidence of independent research.


© 1998-2024 Russel Tarr, Limited (Reg. 6111680)
1 Torrin Drive, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY3 6AW, England

All rights reserved | Privacy Policy | Contact

  WARNING: Your account expires in days. RENEW NOW to avoid losing access!


Buy the Books!


Latest Additions

New resources are added every single week of the year!

View more


ActiveHistory is the work of full-time history teacher Russel Tarr

Latest news from my classroom


Get full access now!

ActiveHistory provides vast amounts of worksheets, lesson plans, interactive simulations, self-marking quizzes, model essays and teacher support materials for the high school world history classroom.
Whole-school, 24-hour access for students and teachers costs less than a few textbooks!