About ActiveHistory

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

Russel Tarr: International School of ToulouseAbout the Author is the work of Russel Tarr. I am Head of History at the International School of Toulouse. Prior to this I worked at Wolverhampton Grammar School. I have a degreee in Modern History from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University. I am also a fully-qualified teacher with a PGCE from the School of Education at Birmingham University.

What is (est. 1998) provides interactive simulations, decision-making games, self-marking quizzes, worksheets and lesson plans for teachers and students of World History. It provides materials on scores of topics from the Middle Ages to the present day, aimed at every age range between 11-18 years. It provides a highly effective means of teaching history using all the benefits of modern internet technology.

ActiveHistory is a practical, continually evolving resource produced by a full-time history teacher for his students and his colleagues. All of the top activities have been produced with the classroom in mind, and are continually amended after being tried out in class by myself and other visitors. As a result the site has earned some glowing testimonials from its loyal subscribers and praise from newspapers such as the Sunday Times and the New York Times.

Roger Frost in The Sunday Times wrote, "To see teaching creativity bubble onto the internet, and regain any lost joy for school, take a trip to Active History. Pick your year and topic, and discover an enjoyable, intensely hands-on learning environment...The exercises are witty, irreverent and often brilliant". Becky Hewlitt, writing the Times Educational Supplement, was of the opinion that, "If the Queen taught history then Russel Tarr would be a knight of the realm. His superb site has saved me thousands of hours of planning and is a constant source of innovative and exciting ideas."


Public Speaking / Training


Conference Organisation

I have organised several educational conferences involving hundreds of people from all over the world:


Educational Consultancy

I have developed materials for, and provided educational consultancy services, to a range of organisations including:



The Head2Head Interviews were awarded first prize in the BECTA / Guardian Educational Website Awards way back in 2002, beating off competition from over 320 other sites and described as a "brilliant concept" that won "hands down" "for sheer ingenuity". I was presented with an award at a ceremony at BAFTA in London. Based on ActiveHistory, Wolverhampton Grammar School was given membership of ENIS, the European Network of Innovative Schools.



I am the author of several books:


Other websites / projects

I am the administrator of both the IBDP History Teachers Support Group and the IGCSE History Teachers Support Group on Facebook.

I am the author of "Tarr's Toolbox", which collates my favourite teaching strategies and resources in one place:

I am also author of, a popular website which provides free, customisable flash templates to embed into blogs, wikis and websites:


The "Mr. Men" Controversy

I was the subject of an attack by the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, in what became known as his “Mr. Men” speech. According to Mr. Gove, my approach to teaching is apparently symptomatic of all that is wrong with UK secondary education in general, and history teaching in particular. The following morning I found the story all over the national newspapers including the front page of The Times [image]. Mr. Gove later repeated his criticisms on the BBC's Andrew Marr show.

My full reply to Mr. Gove, and links to various interviews and articles relating to this affair, can be found here.

In one evening, upwards of 500 people changed their Twitter image to express their support for me against Mr. Gove

How to get in touch

ActiveHistory is updated on an almost daily basis with new worksheets, games, lesson plans and quizzes. The best way of getting a feel of what the site is all about is to keep an eye on the "What's New?" page on the site; if you prefer, you can follow the site on Facebook Fanpage.

I would very much welcome any suggestions for improvements to the site - mail me using the Feedback Form.


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

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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!