Cold War – Random Essay Question Generator!

Cold War – Random Essay Question Generator! This tool is desiged to help teachers and students prepare for the IB Paper 2 exam by generating possible questions to practice and discuss. It is based on the command terms and syllabus bullet points provided in the IB syllabus. Use this tool to generate a random question…

One sentence summaries: conclusions on the Presidents

These resources are a great way to tie together a study of History of Americas. They specifically cover the period 1945-1980 but the approaches used are easily adaptable for other time periods and regions. One sentence summaries: conclusions on the Presidents At the end of the debate outline above, each member of the class at…

Post-War American Presidents to 1980: Detailed summary sheet for revision

These resources are a great way to tie together a study of History of Americas. They specifically cover the period 1945-1980 but the approaches used are easily adaptable for other time periods and regions. Detailed summary sheet for revision This comprehensive printout provides a thorough breakdown of the domestic and Latin American policy achievements and…

Comprehensive Summary Sheet for Revision: The Civil Rights Movement to 1965

Comprehensive Summary Sheet for Revision: The Civil Rights Movement to 1965 A thorough and essential revision aid over several pages. Suggested tasks: People: Decide upon the most important individuals in the civil rights movement (highlighted in yellow). Divide these between the class to research further, then conduct a classroom balloon debate to determine the overall…

Revision Summary Sheet: anti-apartheid resistance groups

Revision Summary Sheet: anti-apartheid resistance groups An illustrated summary sheet of the aims and objectives of various resistance groups – an ideal revision aid. The IB Paper 1 (sourcework) option “Rights and Protest” requires students to cover two case studies: Case study 1: Civil rights movement in the United States (1954-1965) Case study 2: Apartheid…

Using drinking straws to study competition, co-operation and the arms race

Overview This short, simple but effective exercise (requiring nothing more than some drinking straws) helps students understand about the limits of co-operation, the dangers of unbridled rivalry and the importance of co-operation. In this sense it can be used in a variety of contexts but I personally use it to provoke a discussion about the…

Design “Tubular Timeline Towers” for chronological understanding

Overview As a ‘choose your own homework‘ option, suggest to students that they consolidate their chronological understanding by constructing a “Tubular Timeline Tower”. Case Study In the February holidays, I give an open homework task to students who will be taking public exams in May. I ask them to choose any topic that they are…

“History in your pocket”: Coins as sources

Overview This great idea was developed from an idea shared by @histHartford. This photo comes from Mr. Atkinson (@AtkoHistory) and was shared to the #historyteacher hashtag on Twitter by @EllenWicks: Taking it further Students should be encouraged to bring in coins and banknotes from their foreign travels at the start of the Autumn term. This…

Student bookmark: Key vocabulary for essay writing

Overview I have designed the following bookmark in order to help students use a richer range of vocabulary to express their ideas more clearly in essays: Sets of these bookmarks can be printed off, laminated, cut out, and then shared with students to keep in their planners or textbooks. Download Student bookmark: vocabulary for essay writing…

Use “EyeSay!” to give visual feedback on student essays

“EyeSay!” is a new tool I have coded at www.classtools.net to help students and teachers get a useful visualisation of essay style and structure. Students simply copy and paste their essay from a word processor, and then the web application colour-codes its central stylistic features. For students, it helps them develop their writing – They…

The Treaty of Sevres [1]: The Middle East

The Treaty of Sevres [1]: The Middle East | teacher answer sheet Students learn about the conflicting promises made by the British in the Middle East during World War One, and then tackle this: “It is now 1919. You are Prime Minister David Lloyd George, about to head off for the Paris Peace Conference. Complete this official…

IGCSE History Revision 2017

Completely updated and relaunched, this section of the website provides comprehensive revision materials for Cambridge IGCSE Modern World History. (527 views)

Rights and Protest Sourcework Sample: The Rivonia Trial

The following materials are designed to provide teachers and students with practice sourework exercises for the “Rights and Protest” topic in the IB History examination. The Rivonia Trial: Did Mandela’s decision to abandon nonviolence do more harm than good? Complete sourcework exercise in the style of IB, with model answers provided. (256 views)

Nixon’s Domestic Policy: Student research task

“Higher level students will write a timed essay on the key question outlined above. You will self-study this topic in your own time. When it comes to revision time we will compare and contrast Nixon and Johnson’s achievements. Your task will be to use a variety of sources to decide for yourself what the main…

Model Essay: “Assess the successes and failures of Nixon’s foreign policy”

Model Essay: “Assess the successes and failures of Nixon’s foreign policy” [teacher password required] Students should close this unit by tackling one of the essay questions outlined above in timed conditions. The essay provided here was written by me in timed conditions whilst my own students tacked a similar question. Part of the new scheme of…

Nixon’s foreign policy: the second administration

Nixon’s second administration (1972-1974) “Nixon’s second administration was mired in the Watergate Scandal, but no less controversial is is handling of foreign affairs in this period. In this part of the investigation you will reach your own judgement on whether Vietnam, Chile, Israel and the Middle East, or South Africa deserves to be regarded as…

Nixon’s foreign policy: The 1972 Presidential Election

The 1972 Presidential Election | Teacher notes “Imagine it’s 1972 election year, with inauguration day due to take place in January 1973. You are deciding how to vote, and Gallup (the public opinion pollsters) have asked for your approval rating of Nixon in the realm of foreign affairs. Using your existing knowledge, discuss with a partner what…

Nixon’s foreign policy: the first administration (1969-72)

Nixon’s first administration (1969-1972) | Teacher notes Students complete a gap-fill exercise providing them with an essential overview of Nixon’s foreign policy. They then conduct extra research and reading to answer such questions as: What were the essential features of the Nixon Doctrine? Use quotes from Nixon himself as appropriate. / Complete the following table to provide an…

Nixon’s Foreign Policy: New study unit

A study of Nixon’s foreign policy makes a great deal of sense if students have already studied the Vietnam War and / or the 1973 Chilean Coup (each of which provides a major area of overlap with Nixon). In this compact study unit, students revisit these topics and broaden out to consider not just Nixon’s policies with the USSR…

Was life good or bad in Victorian Britain? – A study through paintings

Was life good or bad in Victorian Britain? – A study through paintings This new stand-alone study unit is delivered over 7-8 hours. Inspired by the excellent Jeremy Paxman series on “The Victorians”, it is designed to develop skills of visual literacy as well as essay writing. Students draw deductions from a range of Victorian…

Anarchism: Bakunin’s Catechism of a Revolutionary

Anarchism: Bakunin’s Catechism of a Revolutionary This text should be copied into a shared Google Doc. It will then be divided between the members of the class (e.g. the first student is responsible for points 1-3, the second for points 4-6 and so on). Each student should delete all but one of the points, keeping…

Factual Test on the issues covered so far (20 questions)

Factual Test on the issues covered so far (20 questions) | Teacher answers This test makes use of the “How certain are you?” format. For each question, play for 1, 2 or 3 points to reflect your confidence. If you’re correct, you win those points. If not, you lose them down to a minimum of zero points. Part…

Left-wing and Right Wing: Which are you?

Left-wing and Right Wing: Which are you? [online simulation] Students complete the computer questionnaire, which will provide them with some initial suggestions about whether they are Left- or Right-Wing. This can be completed in class, or set as a homework activity. Students are then asked to complete a Triangle Nine Template by completing the following steps: “Step 1:…

Model Essay: Compare and Contrast the Rise of Pinochet and Franco

Model Essay: Compare and Contrast the Rise of Pinochet and Franco Students first have a brainstorm about what are the most frequent causes for the rise of single party state rulers. They then analyse the key methods and conditions which led to the rise of particular individual dictators, then compare and contrast them. In this…

Communism and Fascism: What’s the difference?

Communism and Fascism: What’s the difference? Building on directly from the “Left and Right Wing” simulation earlier, students complete a questionnaire about key policy areas to help them identify the essential features of dictatorship and democracy, communism and fascism. They then use what they have learned to outline the differences between (a) Fascism and Communism;…

Design your ‘ideal state’

Design your ‘ideal state’ In this lesson, students take the ideas and principles they are now familiar with and use these to design an ‘ideal state’ by considering such things as the ideal age for voting, the benefits and disadvantages of having a monarchy, and so on. Plenty of room here for group work and…

LBJ and the “Great Society”

A new teaching unit on LBJ and the Great Society. After the 1964 election, the Democrats held two-thirds majorities in both houses of Congress. This gave Johnson the mandate to realize his vision of a “Great Society”. Emboldened by his election by more votes than any president in history, Johnson prepared to inundate the 89th…

Hexagons Activity: Impact of the Industrial Revolution

Hexagons Activity: Impact of the Industrial Revolution This activity is approached through a ‘Hexagons’ approach which is outlined in detail here. Students cut up the hexagons and organise them in logical groups, with adjacent sides of hexagons indicating connections that are then explained around the diagram. The hexagons were created using the ClassTools.net Hexagons Generator….

Sourcework Exercise: The Sharpeville Massacre – Teacher model answers

Sourcework Exercise: The Sharpeville Massacre | Teacher answers 1) a. According to Source A, why was the campaign in Sharpeville so badly coordinated? [3 marks] 1) b. What is the message conveyed by Source B? [2 marks] 2) With reference to its origin, purpose and content, analyse the value and limitations of Source C for…

50 Essential Songs for the History Classroom

I am a big fan of music in the history classroom and I have created a number of Spotify Playlists for this purpose. Often this is merely to help create a calm and purposeful working atmosphere, when a bit of Chopin or Debussy sets the tone perfectly. Occasionally it’s even possible to have calming instrumental music directly…

Sourcework Exercise: The Sharpeville Massacre

Sourcework Exercise: The Sharpeville Massacre 1) a. According to Source A, why was the campaign in Sharpeville so badly coordinated? [3 marks] 1) b. What is the message conveyed by Source B? [2 marks] 2) With reference to its origin, purpose and content, analyse the value and limitations of Source C for a historian studying…

Model answers for sourcework exercise on rise of Apartheid

IB-style source work exercise: Why was apartheid introduced into South Africa in 1948? | Model Answers by RJ Tarr A one-hour source work exercise in the style of the IBDP History Paper 1, complete with model answers to share with students afterwards.   (268 views)

Slave Trade Simulation: Updated and improved

To tie in more closely with “The Apprentice” roleplay which forms the main part of this study unit, the popular “Slave Trade Simulation” has been updated with a new activity worksheet. This worksheet is the default way of working through the simulation. It provides a detailed introduction to the topic, explains how it will feed…

Model Essay – What were the most frequent causes of 20th-century wars?

What were the most frequent causes of 20th-century wars? (model essay) “The 20th Century was defined by two World Wars which brought havoc upon civilization unprecedented in human history, and in the continued instability of the 21st century a study of their causes – and how to avoid them – is an essential method of working…

Vietnam veteran John Kerry’s statement at the Senate hearings of 1971

Vietnam veteran John Kerry’s statement at the Senate hearings of 1971 The class will be divided into pairs, representing 18-year-old US citizens in 1971. Imagine that you and your partner are good friends who have just been drafted into the US army. You are both well educated and have strong opinions about the war: one…

Compare and contrast the policy of Johnson and Nixon with regard to Vietnam

Compare and contrast the policy of Johnson and Nixon with regard to Vietnam Students are provided with a detailed timeline of events covering the Nixon administration and conduct further research of their own. They then consider carefully their completed research to provide an essay plan to the past exam question “Compare and contrast the Vietnam…

Could LBJ have handled the Vietnam War more effectively?

Could LBJ have handled the Vietnam War more effectively? In this decision-making exericse, students imagine they are advisors to President Johnson. As the crisis in Vietnam deepens, their job is to advise him on the best course of action to preserve his administration (How should LBJ respond to accusations that he is being insufficiently honest…

Using Knowledge Cubes for hands on discussions

Overview When students conduct research on key individuals, get them to write up their findings on a cardboard cube, with each of the six faces covering a different theme. After the class has exchanged its findings in the form of a balloon debate or similar, collect the cubes in and, as an extension activity, invite pairs of students to…

Civil Rights Campaign 1964, Freedom Summer

Campaign 1964: Freedom Summer | Teacher notes “The 1964 Freedom Summer was a 10-week campaign in Mississippi designed to increase the amount of black people registered to vote…Listen to (or read) Fanie Lou Hamer’s “I Question America” speech and make notes on the sorts of injustices she and her people have suffered already and which she uses…

The Civil Rights Act of 1964

Legislation 1964: The Civil Rights Act The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is significant because it made the protection of civil rights the responsibility of the federal government, and removed the rights of individual states to make their own exceptions to these…Watch the video clip and make detailed notes on the main provisions of the…

Sourcework Assignment with model answers, The Civil Rights Act of 1964

Sourcework Assignment with model answers: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 [Teacher password required]  A complete sourcework paper in the style of the new IB Syllabus, complete with model answers by the author of this website. Part of the complete scheme of work on the civil rights movement 1954-1965 at ActiveHistory (0 views)

Selma Marches 1965, Online Simulation

Campaign 1965: Selma – The Simulation [interactive] “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…

The Voting Rights Act of 1965

Legislation 1965: The Voting Rights Act “The Voting Rights Act has recently been undermined by the case of Shelby County v. Holder (2013). Conduct some research into this case (including the article from The Guardian entitled ‘Selma leaders lament voting rights losses at congressional award ceremony’) to answer the question “To what extent has the…

Undercover in Ancient Rome – new worksheets for the simulation

I have added some new activities to the “Undercover in Ancient Rome” simulation. Mapping the key places and people In this task, you will use the interactive adventure to complete a schematic map which quickly allows you to identify the main sites and Emperors in Ancient Rome according to the simulation. Once this is finished,…

Add a ‘how certain are you?’ element to spice up factual tests

Overview To spice up factual tests, require students not merely to provide an answer, but to choose how many points to play for to reflect their confidence. If they’re correct, they win that amount of points, if not they lose the same amount. Example Here is the start of a factual test on the Civil Rights Movement. Students…

Simulate a conference

Overview When studying how successfully different countries achieved their objectives in an international conference, conduct a simple re-enactment where students score points for achieving their national objectives. Then study the terms of the real agreement reached to determine who gained the most and how creatively they solved the problems they faced. The example I give here…

New Book from ActiveHistory: “A History Teaching Toolbox”

A History Teaching Toolbox is the perfect handbook for busy classroom teachers eager to try out some new strategies with their students. More than 60 tried and tested activities and approaches are organised into helpful categories and explained with step-by-step instructions and topic-specific examples to illustrate how they can be immediately employed. A History Teaching…

Protest placards: design, anticipate, react

Overview When studying an issue, event or personality which is open to different interpretations, get students to design a placard summarising their personal viewpoint. Alternatively, ask students to suggest how particular historians or observers would summarise their viewpoint in just a few words, or even anticipate what the actual slogans were in photographs of genuine protest marches. Example 1…

Using limericks as a revision tool

Overview As part of a ‘choose your own homework‘ menu, give students the option to produce a set of limericks to help them memorise some key events, dates or individuals. Case Study Here’s an example produced by one of my students when the homework was simply ‘choose a topic from our GCSE studies that you are…

Counterfactuals in History

Overview To help students decide how important a factor was in causing a particular event, ask them to consider whether events would have turned out differently without it. To have validity, this ‘counterfactual’ approach should not descend into mere speculation. Instead, students should be prepared and trained to substantiate their assertions with evidence to help…

Who is your Historical Hero?

I have updated the “Who is your historical hero?” study unit to make use of the ‘Knowledge Cubes’ approach which I outline in more detail at Tarr’s Toolbox. (164 views)

Knowledge Cubes – originally posted on Tarr’s Toolbox

Overview When students conduct research on key individuals, get them to write up their findings on a cardboard cube, with each of the six faces covering a different theme. After the class has exchanged its findings in the form of a balloon debate or similar, collect the cubes in and, as an extension activity, invite pairs of students to…

Compare and Contrasting the Rise of Dictators in Different Regions

Which 20th Century Dictator are YOU? A simulation to compare and contrast the methods and conditions through which dictators rose to power. Complete with self-study workpack enabling students to turn their findings into a rigorous essay. There is also a class leaderboard where teachers can monitor student performance in the factual test questions. You might also try…

Roleplay Exercise – Kennedy and the Berlin Crisis of 1961

Roleplay Exercise – Kennedy and the Berlin Crisis of 1961 | Multimedia teacher-led presentation | Briefing Sheets In this exercise students will take the role of an advisor to President Kennedy. By discussing different courses of action and then comparing them to what Kennedy did, they will form a balanced judgement on his handling of…

Kennedy and Latin America: The Alliance for Progress

Kennedy and Latin America: The Alliance for Progress This worksheet and activity covers Kennedy’s “Alliance for Progress”, which was in essence a Marshall Plan for Latin America. As its name suggests, it proposed a partnership between the USA and Latin American countries keen to engage in political and socio-economic reforms. Signed in Uruguay’s Punta Del…

The 1960 Election Campaign: The TV Debates and the Inaugural Address

The 1960 Election Campaign: The TV Debates and the Inaugural Address The TV Debates: In election year 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon took part in the first televised presidential debate, hosted by legendary newsman Walter Cronkite. This was the beginning of modern media-driven politics: JFK came across as suave, confident…

JFK: Introduction and Overview

JFK: Introduction and Overview Students are provided with a teacher-led lecture based around the following image and make notes in this worksheet. Part of the new study unit on The Foreign Policy of President Kennedy (111 views)

SOLO Hexagons: The Rise of Hitler

SOLO Hexagons: The Rise of Hitler 40+ factors are provided to students to organise into meaningful and connected categories as part of the essay-planning process. Full details of the hexagons approach can be found at Tarr’s Toolbox. (345 views)

Cold War Historiography – comparisons and contrasts worksheet

Cold War Historiography “How would each school of historians assess the respective role of military, economic and political factors in causing the Cold War? How would you complete the final columns?” Part of the comprehensive Origins of the Cold War Unit. (351 views)

A revision summary grid of historiographical terms

A revision summary grid of historiographical terms Observations: Leopold von Ranke’s Historicism movement in the late 19th Century laid the framework for modern historiography. From the scientific methods of source analysis it promoted, historians quickly moved from describing “what” happened and towards a consideration of “why”. In the late 20th Century, however, the postmodernists argued…

Origins of the Cold War: Essay Writing Advice

Essay Writing Phase “Read through the following essay titles. Identify (e.g. by highlighting / dragging-dropping) common themes. These questions will be shared between the class. Produce an essay plan in 10 minutes for your allocated essay. Then feed back to the class with your thoughts and findings. In a lesson next week, one question from…

Schools of History – Historiography and TOK in History

Session 3: Histories [Student worksheet | Teacher notes] It has been said that “all history is contemporary history” (Croce) and “History tells us more about the person who wrote it than about the people being written about” (Carr). In this sense, works of history themselves become sources for later generations of historians! In this session, we will…

Historians and Theory of Knowledge in History

Session 2: Historians [Student worksheet | Teacher notes] Sources are incomplete, untypical and unreliable, as we found out in our last session. Historians therefore need to: Select sources to use, based on what questions need answering; Interpret those sources and make deductions from them; Organise and present their main conclusions to the public. Arguably, this process of…

How successfully did Elizabeth deal with the problems of her reign?

Part of the new materials to support a study of Elizabethan England, for example: Early Elizabethan England, 1558-88 (Edexcel) Elizabethan England, c1568-1603 (AQA) How successfully did Elizabeth deal with the problems of her reign? In this exercise, students will reach a final judgement about Elizabeth I by writing an essay. In this way, they will:…

Elizabeth’s refusal to marry, conclusions and sourcework

Part of the new materials to support a study of Elizabethan England, for example: Early Elizabethan England, 1558-88 (Edexcel) Elizabethan England, c1568-1603 (AQA) Why did the Spanish decide to invade England in 1588? > Elizabeth’s refusal to marry Conclusion: Elizabeth’s Refusal to Marry Students are provided with a list of factors explaining Elizabeth’s decision not…

Elizabethan England: Why did Elizabeth refuse to marry?

Part of the new materials to support a study of Elizabethan England, for example: Early Elizabethan England, 1558-88 (Edexcel) Elizabethan England, c1568-1603 (AQA) Why did the Spanish decide to invade England in 1588? > Factor 1. Elizabeth’s Refusal to Marry | Teacher Presentation | Teacher Notes (119 views)

American Foreign Policy in Latin America, 1945-60: Conclusions

American Foreign Policy in Latin America, 1945-60: Conclusions Students draw some overall conclusions about the how ‘new’ and how ‘successful’ Eisenhower’s policies in Latin America were. They should then be set a timed essay in examination conditions on one of the following themes: Discuss the consequences for the region of Eisenhower’s national security policy. Examine…

The Gulf War Fling the Teacher Quiz

This Fling the Teacher Quiz: The Gulf War is part of the complete scheme of work “Why did Events in the Gulf Matter, 1970-2003?”, designed for IGCSE History. (177 views)

Eisenhower’s Policy in Latin America: Do YOU like Ike?! (decision-making exercise)

Eisenhower’s Policy in Latin America: Do YOU like Ike?! (decision-making exercise) “In this exercise you will form your own judgement about how well Eisenhower handled relations with Latin America. Your teacher will guide you through each issue using an online multimedia presentation based at ActiveHistory. After your teacher tells you about the first issue (and you have…

Rule of Saddam Hussein Fling the Teacher Quiz

This Fling the Teacher Quiz: The Rule of Saddam Hussein is part of the complete scheme of work “Why did Events in the Gulf Matter, 1970-2003?“, designed for IGCSE History. There is also a 75-question Fling the Teacher Quiz on Events in the Gulf. If you like this resource you might also enjoy the “Which 20th…

Truman’s Policy in Latin America

Truman’s Policy in Latin America Using the information provided, and a range of recommended weblinks for extra research, students answer the following questions: 1. What were the main features of Truman’s policy towards in Latin America? 2. To what extent was Truman’s policy in Latin America the same as his policy elsewhere in the world?…