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The Body on the Balcony EPISODE 1 - a Historical Mystery!
In this exercise, based on a real historical event, students have to put events into their correct chronological order to make some initial speculations about what has happened. Through doing this they learn about the importance of chronology and understand the meaning of anachronism. Additionally, each student produces a timeline of their life and then a timeline of world events covering the same period.
Why 365 days in a year? Why 24 hours in a day? What are the origins of the months of the year, and the days of the week? [there is also a teacher answer sheet]
I do this activity with students towards the end of the Autumn Term. They conduct their own research into a variety of questions relating to chronological terms. As a winter holiday project they could produce their own calendar designed to explain the origin of the months of the year.
Einstein and the Theory of Relativity: Is Time Travel Actually Possible?
After an introduction to the idea that every time we look at a star we are actually looking back in time at something as it was maybe hundreds of years ago, students consider the implications of this fact in a pretty deep sense and how Einstein showed that time itself can be slowed down....definitely one for gifted and talented students!
The Body on the Balcony EPISODE 2 - the Mystery Deepens!
With their curiosity inevitably piqued, students are now presented firstly with a photograph of the scene (remember, this is a genuine historical event). They are encouraged to distinguish what they now know for a fact, what they can deduce, and what they speculate. They then move on to examine, compare and contrast two written sources. Finally, the teacher reveals the name of the person whose body was found on the balcony, plays an extract from one of his speeches, and encourages students to find out answers to some of the key questions raised by the sources (why was he killed? why was the murderer never put on trial? why were the witnesses never interviewed by police...?)
Evidence about myself
As a first homework, students produce a scrapbook of personal evidence consisting of photos, certificates, tickets and so on - but with no written explanation. In the follow-up lesson, the scrapbooks are swapped around and students have to deduce things about each other from the evidence that they have.
The "Who" of History - People
Students brainstorm famous people from history, research one each in more detail, and conduct a lively balloon debate to decide on the "most important". They can also use this balloon debate powerpoint template.
Events (200 years ago today): 1818 - The case of Ashford v Thornton ends, with Abraham Thornton allowed to go free rather than face a retrial for murder, after his demand for trial by battle is upheld.
Events (100 years ago today): 1918 - Manfred von Richthofen, a.k.a. The Red Baron, shoots down his 79th and 80th victims, his final victories before his death the following day.
Events (50 years ago today): 1968 - English politician Enoch Powell makes his controversial Rivers of Blood speech.
Births (300 years ago today): 1718 - David Brainerd, American missionary (d. 1747)
Births (200 years ago today): 1818 - Heinrich Göbel, German-American mechanic and engineer (d. 1893)
Births (100 years ago today): 1918 - Kai Siegbahn, Swedish physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2007)
Births (50 years ago today): 1968 - Yelena Välbe, Russian skier and manager
Deaths (100 years ago today): 1918 - Karl Ferdinand Braun, German-American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1850)
Deaths (50 years ago today): 1968 - Rudolph Dirks, German-American illustrator (b. 1877)
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In what ways, and with what results, was Germany a source of Cold War tensions between 1945 and 1962?
Model Essay: To what extent did the French Revolution deliver on its promises of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity?
Model Essay: By what methods, and with what success, did Fidel Castro try to eliminate domestic opposition?
Model Essay: Castros mastery of guerrilla warfare was the main reason why he was able to take control of Cuba. To what extent do you agree with this statement?
40+ Model History Essays by Russel Tarr
Who is your historical hero?
Outcome from the Balloon Debate: Paper People Project | More on the Paper People approach
Crime Board: Who was Jack the Ripper?
How did Cromwell rule England 1649-1658?
Levellers and Diggers: A song by Gerard Winstanley (1648)
England without a King: How should the country be governed?
Oliver Cromwells Life and Career
What sort of a man was Oliver Cromwell?
Rule of Pinochet / 1973 Chilean Coup: Dialogue Poem Starter Activity