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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.
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Time Machine Journey to the Middle Ages
A unique game for learning about life in the Medieval Town and Village. Talk to people, trade objects and use your wits to find the missing pieces of the time machine and return home!
American Civil War Simulation and Scheme of Work [causes | events]
Complete with a couple of computer simulations and a strategy game as well as worksheets.
"New History" - Daily updates of History Headlines, TV, Podcasts and more! [free]
This facility provides an automatically updating overview of all the latest news stories relating to key historical topics along with TV listings, blog entries, historical anniversaries and much else besides. Add it as a bookmark to help spot useful articles and events to use as lesson starters / plenaries!
History Display Materials [free]
Dozens of high-resolution educational posters designed specifically to be printed off and put around your history classroom.
Causes of the French Revolution
Could you have prevented the French Revolution from happening? Would you have survived it? Play this decision-making game to find out!
Staying in touch with the latest resources on ActiveHistory
There are a variety of ways you can stay in touch with the latest developments on ActiveHistory:
ActiveHistory on Twitter
Russel Tarr on Twitter
ActiveHistory on Facebook
Interview King Henry VIII
Interview the English King on any subject of your choice, and he will answer through the use of an artificial intelligence channel!
Life in the Trenches during World War One Simulation
Complete with a live 'leaderboard', this simulation gets each student in role as a British soldier who joins the army in 1914. They have to make decisions in tough circumstances and by playing this game they learn about the conditions which soldiers lived and fought in, and the dangers they faced. The game comes complete with worksheet and follow-up activities.
Drake's circumnavigation - Google Earth Tour [free]
A Google Earth tour of 32 locations, each one with a narrative summary and a link to a primary source account. Six differentiated worksheets are provided to accompany the resource.
Harvard Citation Generator [free]
Other citation generators need YOU to do most of the hard work - and only look for books. This one searches for books, websites and films. All it needs is a web address or a title / author of a book / film.
Worksheet of the Day: The Trial of King Henry VIII
This classroom debate forms part of the unit of study on The Tudors at ActiveHistory.
Horatio Ramsbottom, Victorian Entrepreneur
Students take a series of decisions about how to run their new business. How should the workers be treated? What transport system should be used? Should they invest in the triangular trade and the Great Exhibition? Complete with a worksheet and follow-up tasks, this activity provides a thorough overview of the main factors affecting the Industrial Revolution. There is also a paper-based factual test that can be used to test how much students have learned., and a markscheme for the follow-up newspaper report task.
Ottoman Empire Simulation
A unique simulation for learning about the Ottoman Empire in the age of Suleiman the Magnificent. Journey around his empire, meet key people, deal with important issues, and try to survive!
Are you a Lutheran, a Catholic or a Radical?
This interactive simulation guides young students through some seriously thorny theological issues and forms part of the study of The Reformation at ActiveHistory.
Worksheet of the Day: The Origin of Surnames
A worksheet which forms part of the ActiveHistory units on Language and History.
"Fakebook" - Gallery of History examples [free]
Fakebook is an application I have developed at Classtools.net which allows teachers and students to create imaginary profile pages for study purposes. Use this page to get some inspiration of how to use it with your own students!
The Origins of World War One - You are the Kaiser! [free]
This simulation will help you understand the causes of World War One. You will take the role of Kaiser Wilhelm II, ruler of Germany. You will decide how to react to the problems you face. You can then compare what you did to what really happened and decide for yourself why the war started. At the end of the simulation, you will be given a worksheet. Go through the game a second time to complete it! Complete with a leaderboard, the game also comes in several languages.
Political Ideologies and Voting Systems
This unit is designed to address the issue of political ideologies. It is designed for students at Year 10/11 (aged 14-16). It forms one of the ActiveHistory PSHCE study units following an assembly (also provided here).
The Rise of Stalin: A Sweet Roleplay Exercise! [free]
This interactive exercise forms part of the ActiveHistory unit on Stalin's Rise to Power. Students take the role of five key members of the Politburo at the end of 1922. The respective power of these figures is represented by distributing a large bag of sweets between them.
History Teachers on Twitter [free]
Here is a (sortable) list of History Teachers using Twitter. If your name doesn't appear on this list and you'd like to be dynamically added (it's updated once a day), Simply COPY and PASTE this exact Tweet from your account.
Black Death Simulation
In this game, students take on the role of
a medieval doctor at the time of the Black Death.
Success in the simulation depends upon how well they correctly diagnose and treat different symptoms.
scores will then be presented in a certificate that can be recorded by the teacher in the markbook.
Worksheet of the Day: Wacky Industrial Revolution Inventions
Using this worksheet, students are given this presentation of 10 wacky inventions. They have to match each depicted invention with one of four possibilities. They should then try designing their own suitably nutty invention which can be later used as 'Horatio Ramsbottom's' invention in the newspaper report task that follows the Victorian entrepreneur computer simulation.
James Spod: Undercover in Fascist Italy
A major decision-making simulation, complete with a worksheet, which provides a thorough investigation of Mussolini's domestic policies. In this simulation students play the role of James Spod, an undercover agent. The mission is to find, and then assassinate, Benito Mussolini: the Fascist dictator whose alliance with the evil Adolf Hitler is throwing the world into chaos. Factual knowledge will be tested as students play the simulation and the scores of the whole class can be viewed on a live leaderboard! A full set of resources is available on the site for teaching Mussolini's Italy.
Stairway to Heaven / Highway to Hell
Are you keen to get into heaven? Not quite sure how to get there? Don't worry! Just answer this two-part questionnaire and we will tell you (a) What beliefs you need to have (b) What actions you need to take! This simulation forms part of our studies into Medieval Religion.
The Vietnam War Simulation
n this game you will be an American soldier fighting communism in Vietnam. You will have to make decisions in tough circumstances. At the end you will be given a score. By playing this game you will learn about the causes of the conflict, why it lasted so long and why the Americans ultimately lost.
Worksheet of the Day: Who was the Real Jack Sparrow?!
A worksheet which forms part of the new ActiveHistory unit on "How Accurate is Pirates of the Caribbean?"
A Virtual Tour Around Tsarist Russia
This simulation is designed to teach you all about the strengths, weaknesses, successes and failures of Tsarist Russia on the eve of World War One. It is 1913. You are a Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii [left], a professional photographer in Tsarist Russia. You have just received a letter from your girlfriend, who works as a secretary in the army. She wants you to meet her in Vladivostok for her birthday...
Don't Lose your Head! - An English Civil War Simulation
In 1649 the King of England, Charles I, was beheaded. Since 1642 he had been involved in a bitter Civil War with Parliament. In this game you will take the role of King Charles, and decide how to run your country. After making each decision you will be told what really happened. At the end of the game you will be told how likely it is that your decisions would have plunged England into a bitter Civil War! Forms part of the detailed unit on The Stuarts.
Was the 20th Century a Period of Progress?
This project is designed to allow students to develop a broad but comprehensive overview of the main events of the 20th Century. Each student will research one key event, theme or individual of their choice to produce an attractive display piece. They will compare and contrast their findings with other people in the class to answer the question "Was the 20th Century a period of progress?".
Worksheet of the Day: Political Ideologies - Democracy and dictatorship, Fascism and Communism, Left and Right...
I use this activity during my study of the 1930s with IGCSE students so that they can get a slightly clearer understanding of the ideological divide that was opening up during that period.
Campaign 1965: Selma - The Simulation [free]
"In this simulation you will learn about key figures involved in the struggle as events unfold step-by-step. For each character you will be invited to step inside their shoes and consider how you should react to the situation you face if your objective is to attract favourable media attention that will help get a Voting Rights Bill through Congress. In this way you will form a judgement about how each character helped or hindered the success of the campaign (deliberately or inadvertently!) and which people were most significant in the struggle"
Can you survive the Middle Passage?
Your mission is to keep yourself as healthy as possible during your
journey across the Atlantic to the Americas - the infamous "Middle Passage" in the "Trade Triangle" between America, Europe and Africa. I use this as part of my studies of "The Slave Trade" in Year 9.
Planning a World War One Battlefields Trip [free]
These resources are designed to help teachers construct or develop their own Battlefields excursion to the Western Front, and a school exhibition / guided tour thereafter.They were produced to support a successful residential trip to Ypres and the Somme which took place between 8th-11th November 2010 for a group of 34 students and 4 staff from the International School of Toulouse. Suggestions about how the next trip (due to take place in 2012) could be improved further are outlined at appropriate points. All students involved also completed a questionnaire about the trip. Upon our return, all students helped to put together a major exhibition in the school, complete with a workpack (for secondary | primary students) and "character card" activities, and acted as guides for students in Years 5-9 to share their experiences. You can view photos of the event here.
PSHCE: Critical Thinking
This unit is designed to address the issue of critical thinking. It is designed for students at Year 10/11 (aged 14-16). Assembly materials and follow-up activities focusing on the 'De Bono' method are provided.
Worksheet of the Day: What did Jack the Ripper Look Like?
This classroom debate forms part of the unit of study on Jack the Ripper at ActiveHistory.
The Battle for the Throne: 1066
A decision-making simulation as King Harold - will you survive the challenges to your throne? Students should complete this worksheet that accompanies the game. This is a major activity that should keep students busy for at least a couple of lessons (they are even given a certificate with a score at the end that could be recorded in a markbook). As an extension activity, students should complete the Key word list by playing the game a second time; this can later be used as the basis for a factual test or a Fling the Teacher challenge (the first few people to finish the quiz successfully get rewards!).
Virtual Interview with Adolf Hitler
Interview the dictator of Germany on any subject of your choice, and he will answer through the use of an artificial intelligence system! Complete with lesson plans and worksheets.
Essay Planning Tool: The Origins of World War One [free]
Professor AJP Sailor takes 5 factors and connects them together in endless combinations to help students consider the Origins of World War One and how to link factors in essays.
The Worst Jobs in History
These are a series of simple and fun stand-alone interactivities that ask students a series of personal questions about their hobbies and personalities and then matches them up to a suitably hideous job from a particular period in history - I use them once a year with each of the three year groups lower down the school:
Worst Jobs - Medieval
Worst Jobs - Early Modern
Worst Jobs - Modern
Decision Making Game: Walking the Mid-Tudor Tightrope!
A decision-making game in which students take on the role of an advisor to King Edward VI. Designed for A-Level / IB, but of potential use for younger students.
The League of Nations in the 1920s
This simulation enables students to assess the strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures of the League of Nations by taking the role of a British Civil servant in the 1920s trying to navigate through the complex problems of the post-war period.
The Henrician Reformation Simulation
It is 1527. You are Sir Thomas de Tart, an advisor to Henry VIII of England. The King wants to get rid of his wife, Catherine of Aragon. Your job is to give him good advice when he faces difficult decisions. If you do a good job, you will be richly rewarded. If you make bad ones, you will end up in prison or even have your head chopped off! Part of a comprehensive unit on the Henrician Reformation at ActiveHistory.
Marxism through Arm-Wrestling! [free]
This activity for IB History forms one part of a detailed unit of study on Marxism and Capitalism that can also be found on ActiveHistory.
Head2Head Interactive Interview with Josef Stalin
Allocate out a different topic from those listed in the drop-down menu
to each student. In a subsequent lesson, each student then does a
presentation to the class based on their findings. Best of all is if
they choose the three most interesting questions and responses and
memorise these. The questions are then given by each student to the
teacher. Each student then has to sit in front of the class, and the
teacher interviews each "Stalin" whilst the rest of the class takes notes. There are very detailed resources for the Rise of Stalin and the Rule of Stalin available at ActiveHistory.
Who Am I? Team Challenge Game
Each team will be presented with a clue about a key historical figure. They get 50 points if they guess it correctly. If they wish to 'pass', they get further (easier) clues but the points available steadily decline. An incorrect guess at any point means they get zero points for that round. You can play as many rounds as you wish. It's a great way to revise!
Worksheet of the day: The Origins of Surnames
This worksheet is designed to deepen student understanding of the impact of the Norman Conquest in particular.
Who was Jack the Ripper?
This interactive questionnaire gets students to reflect upon the various witness reports, evidence left at the crime scenes and psychological profiles that have been constructed about the Whitechapel Murderer as part of their studies of this topic.
The Soviet Economy Simulator
In this simulation, which forms just part of the detailed unit on Stalin's Russia, you will try to strengthen the Soviet economy in the years leading up to the "Great Patriotic War". You will aim to improve Agriculture, Industry, Social Stability, Military Security and your Marxist Credentials. You will be given a rating at the end of the simulation reflecting how strong the country is in 1941.
Causes of the Spanish Civil War
Rank the problems facing Spain which are most urgent, select which policies you think are the most appropriate response for each, then get told which party most closely matched your own preferences.
Historiography / TOK in History [free]
The following materials have been designed to help deliver Theory of
Knowledge (TOK) in History at IB (International Baccalaureate) Level to
my students at the International School of Toulouse. I deliver three sessions of one hour each, and round the unit off by setting a relevant TOK essay title from the IB syllabus (these are provided annually in advance). As well as the worksheets and teacher notes available for download here, there is also a series of online lecture notes which can be used.
Worksheet of the day: International Relations Between the World Wars
This worksheet encourages students to chart the changing shape of international alliances between World Wars One and Two by creating a series of diagrams based on a simple timeline. It's a technique that can easily be adapted for other topics.
Hitler's Foreign Policy - Interactive Simulation
In this game you will be an advisor to Adolf Hitler, the Nazi dictator of Germany. You will have to make decisions in tough circumstances. At the end you will be given a score. By playing this game you will learn about how Hitler's policies led to World War Two, and consider whether this war could have been prevented. There are worksheets and a leaderboard to accompany the activity. The game forms part of the detailed unit on International Affairs in the 1930s.
Lenin and the USSR
Take on the role of a Politburo heavyweight and see how successfully you help Lenin to rule the USSR between 1917-24. A great simulation for approaching what can be a very complicated topic, complete with a worksheet and factual questions as they go.
Design your own Coat of Arms
Design your own coat of arms by answering a series of detailed questions about your personality and interests. The computer uses the information to design your shield, choose the colour scheme, and recommend the symbols you should use. A great classroom project which turns into a brilliant display of finished projects!
QR Treasure Hunt Generator [free]
Students love these QR Code Hunts - and this tool that I've put together helps you to create your own incredibly easily!
Worksheet of the Day: Songs of the American Civil War
In this activity, students analyse the lyrics (and, if possible, listen to the music) of popular Confederate and Unionist songs from the civil war. They then have to produce their own civil war song to a civil-war era tune of their choice. Their objective is to produce a song which clearly explains the causes of the war. Finally, they look at the legacy of the civil war on American popular music, using examples from The Band, Elvis Presley, Neil Young and Lynyrd Skynyrd. It forms part of the major unit on the American Civil War [causes | events].
Wall St. Crash Simulation
When will you buy? When will you sell? How much profit can you make? This American history game shows the factors affecting share values and how a stock market crash happens. There's even a 'leaderboard' so that different students can compare their performance as they complete the worksheet as they go along! Alternatively, have it projected onto your whiteboard and get the class to vote and debate on how to proceed at each stage!
The Yalta Conference Simulation
Nazi Germany is almost defeated. From the East, Stalin's armies have taken control of Poland and much of Eastern Europe. From the West, allied armies have made rapid gains since D-Day.The "Big 3" (Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt) are meeting at Yalta to discuss the shape of the post-war world...
Undercover in Imperial Rome [free]
This simulation is designed to provide students with an engaging, enjoyable and rigorous introduction to Imperial Rome. As they journey around the virtual landscape, they will learn about the main personalities and chornology of the Empire.
Weimar Germany Decision-Making Simulation
n this game you will play the role of a politician in the Weimar Government which ran Germany between 1918-1933. This game is designed to develop your understanding of events 1918-21. You will have to take a series of tough decisions about how to run your country, and at the end of the game you will be told how well you did. A complete scheme of work for Weimar Germany is also available on the site.
Liberal England 1906-1914 Simulation Game
It is 1906. You are an ambitious young MP for Wolverhampton in the newly formed Liberal government. Your mission in this game is to make the right decisions that will help you get promoted into the cabinet!
Worksheet of the Day: The Stalin Personality Cult
This worksheet is part of the "Stalin's Rule" unit at ActiveHistory.
Which 20th Century Dictator are you?
This is a stand-alone simulation to help students compare and contrast how single-party state rulers maintained power. It guides students through 10 key issues explaining how and why dictatorships are able to survive. Students complete the accompanying self-study workpack to turn their findings into a rigorous essay. It also provides a great way of revising and developing their earlier essay focusing on one dictator.
Medieval Castles: Design and Defence
A game of strategy: Spend your budget on your choice of features, then read a story of how your castle fares when faced with attack!
Time Machine Journey to Renaissance Florence
Learn about the key individuals, places, discoveries and creations of the Renaissance in this innovative decision-making simulation game - complete with four different worksheets and quizzes, younger students find this a very engaging way into the topic or as a revision aid.
The Coalbrookdale Interactive Census - Numeracy and History
History is all about bringing the past to life. This activity allows you to do this is in an unusual and interesting way. Coalbrookdale, a small town in Shropshire, England, was at the heart of the Industrial Revolution: a place of blast furnaces, roaring forges and busy factories. Its iron bridge – the very first ever made – still attracts visitors from all over the world. Was Coalbrookdale a hell on earth? Or was it an industrial wonderland? You can decide for yourself by interacting with the 1861 Census (government survey). A search engine allows you to ask your own questions, rather than just read through sources in the textbook. What jobs did people have? Were houses overcrowded? Did many children go to school? You're the detective!
Resources for Holocaust Memorial Day [free]
A complete unit containing assembly resources, students worksheets and support materials. This is a unit now embedded at our school as an annual event with Year 10/11 students.
Worksheet of the Day: Nazi Eugenic Policies
A stimulating worksheet in which students are shown how many of Hitler's ideas stemmed from theories and practices in Europe and America which were popular at the time (and since). A crucial worksheet which helps students get away from the idea that Hitler was a peculiarly "German" problem. Forms part of the wider unit on Nazi Germany.
The "History Mysteries" lessons are designed as stand-alone projects which each last 3-4 hours. I deliver a different "Mystery" each year from the age of 11 years so that students have an assessment project each year which build directly on their previous one. Through engaging historical topics, they teach skills of problem formulation, deductive reasoning, independent research, groupwork and structured writing. There is a standard teacher lesson plan and student record sheet / markscheme for each activity.
Undercover in Fascist Italy
A major decision-making simulation, complete with a worksheet, which provides a thorough investigation of Mussolini's domestic policies. In this simulation students play the role of James Spod, an undercover agent. The mission is to find, and then assassinate, Benito Mussolini: the Fascist dictator whose alliance with the evil Adolf Hitler is throwing the world into chaos. Factual knowledge will be tested as students play the simulation and the scores of the whole class can be viewed on a live leaderboard!
Churchill: Hero or Villain? [free]
This detailed, stand-alone study unit is based around an interactive Head2Head Virtual Interview with Winston Churchill. The unit is designed to be used with Year 9 students (13-14 years) but is easily adaptable to other contexts. The unit develops sourcework and essay-writing skills, and the outcome is a detailed, structured essay answering the key question "Was Winston Churchill a hero, or a villain?".
Design your own Medieval Cathedral
In this activity, part of the Medieval Religion unit, students answer a series of questions asked by King
Henry II. Based on the quality of the responses he then decides how
likely he is to let them build a cathedral. Complete with a worksheet
and a live "leaderboard" to build up a sense of competition!
The Versailles Conference online Roleplay
It is January 1919. Germany has been defeated. World War One is at an end. The "Big 3" (Clemenceau, Lloyd George, Wilson) are meeting at Versailles to discuss the shape of the post-war world. You will take the role of one of these men and try to negotiate the best possible deal for your country. Part of the comprehensive unit on the Peace Treaties after World War One.
This unit is designed to address the issue of racism. It is designed for students at Year 10/11 (aged 14-16). In an assembly ("What is Racism? How do we combat it? How will we study it?") students are given some provocative images, an entertaining video clip, and plenty of ideas to think about and reflect upon prior to the main lesson. This is followed by a classroom activity making use of the 'De Bono' Approach.
Keyword Checker [free]
I developed this tool to enable me to do a very quick check to determine if students are including the essential factual details in their essays. It's a straightforward tool but very effective!
Worksheet of the Day: Cross-Curricular Renaissance Day
At the International School of Toulouse, Year 8 students (aged 13-14) are taken off-timetable during the summer term for what we call "Renaissance Day". The event is popular with both teachers and students. It promotes cross-curricular awareness, gets students working effectively as teams, develops analytical ability and improves presentational skills. This page provides you with full resources to set up a similar event for your school.
Super-Easy Plagiarism Checker [free]
Paste the essay into this box, then click "submit" to get a plagiarism report!
Events (1300 years ago today): 717 - Theodosius III resigns the throne to the Byzantine Empire to enter the clergy.
Events (100 years ago today): 1917 - The Georgian Orthodox Church restores its autocephaly abolished by Imperial Russia in 1811.
Births (250 years ago today): 1767 - Joachim Murat, French general (d. 1815)
Births (150 years ago today): 1867 - Gutzon Borglum, American sculptor, designed Mount Rushmore (d. 1941)
Births (50 years ago today): 1967 - Matthew Barney, American sculptor and photographer
Deaths (100 years ago today): 1917 - Elizabeth Storrs Mead, American academic (b. 1832)
Commemorations:International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave TradeGreece National Day
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Model Essay: Analyse the successes and failures of Nixons domestic policies
Nixons Domestic Policy: Student research task
IB Sourcework: Rights and Protest sample source work papers and model answers
Model Essay: Assess the successes and failures of Nixons foreign policy
Nixons foreign policy: the second administration
Nixons foreign policy: The 1972 Presidential Election
Sourcework Exercise: To what extent was Martin Luther King responsible for the success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott?
Nixons foreign policy: the first administration (1969-72)
Nixons Foreign Policy: New study unit
Was life good or bad in Victorian Britain? A study through paintings
Anarchism: Bakunins Catechism of a Revolutionary
Summary Sheet: Hegel, Marx and Lenin compared and contrasted
Factual Test on the issues covered so far (20 questions)
Teacher-led online lecture : A brief history of political ideology from the Enlightenment to the modern day!
Enlightenment Philosophy: Philosophers, Revolutionaries and the Declaration of the Rights of Man