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Early Modern British:
Henry VII | Henry VIII 1509-1529 | Henry VIII 1529-1547 | Edward VI | Mary I | Elizabeth I
Lutheran Reformation | Zwingli/Calvin/ Radicals | Counter-Reformation | Ferdinand/Isabella | Charles I/Phillip II | Ottoman Empire | French Revolution / Napoleon
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ActiveHistory provides entertaining, educational award-winning interactive simulations, decision-making games, self-marking quizzes, high-quality worksheets and detailed lesson plans for teachers and students.
View the top 75 activities here.
Discussion: Lutherans, Catholics and Radicals
The teacher leads a discussion based around what the students learned from the
simulation. The class thereby gets a full picture of what each of the three
religious groups believed on each of the key issues. This is important because
the simulation will tell students which group they sympathise with, but will not
summarise the differences between the groups.
3. Role Play:
Protestants and Catholics
This is a simpler version of the same exercise. The teacher comes into class in
role firstly as Luther, then as Pope Leo X, answering a series of tough
questions about their faith in a way designed to persuade the audience that
their faith is the "right" one. The class takes a vote at the end.
Students should do one of the following tasks:
(a) Produce a written piece answering the question "What did the Protestants and
the Catholics disagree about?" OR
(b) Produce a propaganda poster - using only images, no words - summarising the
main beliefs of one of the three religious groups. The class could be divided
into three groups (Lutherans, Catholics, Radicals) and then each member within
each group could be given a different area to focus on - Bible, Eucharist,
Priesthood and so on.
4. The life of
Martin Luther - Design a film trailer!
It's a great story - and in this activity, students
use a timeline to produce a Hollywood Film Poster advertising a new blockbuster
about the life of the Reformation giant. Focusing on the cast list, the film
title and the key events of his life, it can be great fun. This cast list PowerPoint Template gets students thinking about which actors they want to play the key characters (there is also a completed version, with ideas for inspiration). For added spice,
insist that half of the class need to make a film very hostile to Luther, whilst
the other half will be highly sympathetic. Here is a sample poster produced by one of my students, and here is a video trailer produced by another:
5. KeyWord Challenge: The Reformation
If you are unfamiliar with the format of the game, click here for instructions.
1. PowerPoint Show - Witchcraft
A simple starter activity: is each picture shown about how witches are created, how they are caught, how they are punished?
2. Introduction: Religion, Superstition
Students start with Task 1, followed by a classroom discussion, just to get them
thinking. Then, they place their worksheet face down on the table and I write
this question on the board: "When was the last witch executed?". Students
turn their sheets back over, and a merit is awarded for the person who first
shouts out the correct answer. Then, repeat with a second question: "Who wrote
the 1590 book on witchcraft?". Then, we read through the account together before
proceeding to the main activity (a piece of display work).
By the way, it's a nice idea to have some decent background music - "Witchcraft" by Frank Sinatra, "I ain't Superstitious" by Howlin' Wolf, "Good Luck Charm" / "You're the Devil in Disguise" by Elvis Presley...!
3. A Classroom Witch Trial - Lesson Plan
and Evidence Slips
4. A Classroom Witch Trial - Trial
Always one of the highlights of the Year 8 course! With some students taking on
the role of women accused of witchcraft, others acting as defence counsel, and
others as prosecution lawyers, this is a lively unit which really helps students
to understand the difference between facts, opinions and bias. After the
classroom vote on who was "most guilty", it would be good fun to put the
"victim" through the "water test" - ie pour a small glass of water over their
head, declare them guilty as charged, and then "brand" them with the word
"witch" across their forehead in board marker.
5. An Interview with Matthew Hopkins, WitchFinder General!
In this activity, students read through the 14 questions posed in Matthew Hopkins' "The Discovery of Witches", choose the 5 questions the think will put the Witchfinder General in the tightest spot, then the teacher provides the answers which were originally given by Hopkins. Follow-up questions (and the suggestion that the Blackadder Episode Witchsmeller Persuivant be watched!) are provided.
6. Sourcework: Witchcraft!
As the assessed piece of work, students complete this sourcework exercise.
1. Religious events in the Early Modern Period
Before moving on to the next topic of study, this activity gets students to investigate a wide range of other events going on in Europe at the same time as the Lutheran Reformation. In this way they get a useful overview of the entire period rather than merely a narrow view of one or two events.
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Events (0 years ago today): 2020 – China holds a national mourning day for martyrs who died in the fight against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Births (100 years ago today): 1920 – Orunamamu, American-Canadian author and educator (d. 2014)
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Deaths (150 years ago today): 1870 – Heinrich Gustav Magnus, German chemist and physicist (b. 1802)
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The Events of World War Two: New Study Unit
The Battle of the Somme: Haig hero or butcher?
How did the Crash lead to a Depression? What were the political consequences?
Factual Test based on the introductory civil rights lecture
How similar was the 2008 Financial Crisis to the Wall St. Crash?
Decision-Making Exercise: Was Churchill a Great Leader? Part 2 (1943-45)
Decision-Making Exercise: Was Churchill a Great Leader? Part 1 (1940-42)
Video Documentary Worksheet: The Children who Fought Hitler
Video Documentary Worksheet: The World at War: Genocide
Multimedia Presentation: Who were the Nazis? | Student Worksheet
Left-wing and Right Wing: Which are you? [online simulation]
Overview of Ideologies: [a] Communism, Fascism and Nazism
Student Record Grid 1920s Border Disputes
ActiveHistory Online Presentation League in the 1920s