Escape the Room – Mission: Rome!

“You are a team of famous archaeologists preparing an exhibition about the Roman Empire which is due to open in just 45 minutes. The prize exhibit has been locked away safely by your team leader, but he has now been kidnapped by a group of art thieves who are asking for a ransom. Your task…

Create a Xmas (his)Tree for your classroom!

Here is a festive list of Christmas-themed History lessons for all secondary school year groups! You can also download this new set of 25 ‘baubles’ of historical events that took place over the Christmas season to make your very own Xmas (his)Tree!

IB Extended Essay: Marksheet and Guidance

Marksheet and Guidance A student-friendly version of the IB mark scheme, combining the generic guidance from the IB as well as its subject-specific criteria for History.

How similar were the Manchurian and Abyssinian Crises?

Conclusions: How similar were the Manchurian and Abyssinian Crises? | Teacher Model Answers Students are provided with a writing frame which helps them compare and contrast the causes, course and consequences of the two crises.  

The Abyssinian Crisis

The Abyssinian Crisis Students are presented with a detailed breakdown of the crisis and watch several video clips to help them form judgements. A cartoon analysis exercise then follows.

Roleplay: The Manchurian Crisis | Rolecards

Roleplay: The Manchurian Crisis | Rolecards This roleplay exercise is a great way to get students thinking about the possible courses of action open to the League. Students are given an essential briefing about the Manchurian Dispute, and are then organised into five groups representing different countries. Each country is given a role card outlining…

*NEW* Simulation: Can you survive life in the trenches in World War One?

A brand new simulation! “In this simulation you will be a British soldier who joins the army in 1914 to fight the Germans. You will learn about the conditions which soldiers lived and fought in, and the dangers they faced. There is a worksheet to go with this activity which you should complete as you proceed.  You…

Civil Rights Movement – Student research tasks / presentation instructions

Student research tasks / presentation instructions Each member of the class chooses one research task from a list of 10 options provided. Suggested sources and approaches are given in the worksheet. The students should then share their findings with the class. Links to useful sources are provided, such as this short video about the Black…

IB History Internal Assessments – sample studies

Here are a selection of IB History Internal Assessment studies from the International School of Toulouse that were graded highly in May 2017 (marks shown are those awarded after moderation by the IBO).  

Student-friendly Sourcework Rubric

Student-friendly Sourcework Rubric This rubric provides a student-friendly mark scheme and tips for structuring each of the answers for the IB Sourcework Paper. For example: [Sourcework Rubric]

The life of Martin Luther – Design a film trailer!

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 (complete with suggested merchandise, reviews and screenshots) advertising a new blockbuster about the life of the Reformation giant. Focusing on the cast list, the film title…

“Advisor to the Kaiser!” – A new online simulation!

I have completely rewritten and relaunched the Origins of World War One online simulation (available on this page), which now has a detailed work pack, multimedia video clips, a leaderboard, a ‘save game’ feature so that students can return to it as a homework exercise if they don’t complete it in class, and much else besides….

The Rise of Hitler – Images

The Rise of Hitler – Images This double-sided sheet of selected images relating to the rise of Hitler can be used to develop the hexagons display piece still further, or as the basis for a visual essay writing exercise.

President Johnson – An Introduction to “LBJ”

LBJ: An Introduction In this engaging task, students are given an overview of LBJ and his famous ‘treatment’, along with video clip links and an extract from an acclaimed biography of the President. From this they are encouraged to identify five key aspects of the “Johnson Treatment” and substantiate each with an extract from the…

The Mystery of Pompeii: stand-alone lesson

The Mystery of Pompeii | information slips | online slideshow presentation “Before giving you this worksheet, your teacher will have shown you this image on the screen and asked you to formulate four questions. After class discussion, record these in the table below and note down possible answers (some of you may even KNOW some…

Factual test – Kennedy’s Foreign Policy

Factual test – Kennedy’s Foreign Policy In the ‘how certain are you?’ format, this test determines not just what students know, but also how confident they are in their knowledge.

Escape the Room! – Mission Havana, 1959

Escape the Room! – Mission Havana, 1959 “You are American business people from the United Fruit Company, placed under house arrest by the new Castro regime due to your close ties to Batista. You have managed to ply the guard with rum and he has passed out. But you have only one hour to find…

Escape Room: “Mission: Galileo 1610”

1. Escape Room: “Mission: Galileo 1610” “It is 1610. the Renaissance (‘Rebirth’) of arts and sciences has transformed Europe. You are students of the great scientist galileo in Padua, Italy. You have all been put in jail by the church for insisting that the earth goes round the sun! You will all taken away to…

Printable Calendar of Historical Anniversaries 2017-2018

Printable Calendar of Historical Anniversaries 2017-2018! I’ve now finished work on my classroom calendar of notable anniversaries for the forthcoming school year, which you can download by following the link. I’ve also added a facility so you can search for your own alternative events too.

Recommended Films for the History Classroom

Recommended History VIDEO | (see also podcasts and books) I have updated this searchable directory of useful films for the history classroom with 50 new entries based on some of the most recent feature films released in the past couple of years.

Spotify Jukebox – Songs for the History Classroom

Spotify Jukebox for the History Classroom I have updated this resources with several new playlists and lots of new songs. If you already have Spotify, open it up before trying to play tracks. If you don’t have Spotify you will be prompted to install it on your system. See also: Blogpost – 50+ Essential Songs for the…

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.

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.

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.  

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

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…