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…

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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?…

The Iran-Iraq War Fling the Teacher Quiz

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

Eisenhower and the “New Look”: Video Worksheet

Eisenhower and the “New Look”: Video Worksheet “Complete this worksheet as you watch the 48-minute online video. Decide whether you wish to adjust your positionining of the key policies we have so far considered, or add further ones (e.g. about the meetings with Khrushchev)”.

Theory of Knowledge in History: The Challenge of Source Material

Session 1: Sources [student worksheet | teacher notes] Introduction: Why and How is History Produced? “History” is not “What happened in the past” or even “The surviving evidence of what happened in the past”. It means “What historians choose to interpret from the surviving evidence of the past” To reduce this to a formula, we might say:…

Source work skills revision

A new page on the website collating some useful resources designed to improve and revise source work skills for GCSE / IGCSE history.

Introduction to Eisenhower and the “New Look” National Security Policy

Introduction to Eisenhower and the “New Look” National Security Policy “Using the information provided here, and your existing knowledge of Truman’s foreign policy, to answer this question: In what ways did Eisenhower’s ‘New Look’ differ from the foreign policy of President Truman?”

Why did Events in the Gulf Matter? Revising the Five Big Questions

Part of the complete scheme of work on “Why did Events in the Gulf Matter?“ “Revising the Five Big Questions” “The class will be divided into four team (1, 2, 4, 5). For each of the following key questions, work individually, to complete one of the incomplete rows of this table. The row on Saddam’s…

What were the consequences of the First Gulf War?

Part of the IGCSE Paper 2 Study Topic: “Why did Events in the Gulf Matter?” What were the consequences of the First Gulf War? Students use the information provided to provide an infographic about the impact of the First Gulf War, then complete two sourcework questions (“To what extent does Source A prove that the…

IB History Internal Assessment 2017 – Marksheet and Guidance

I have updated the materials I have designed to support the IB History Internal Assessment based on the new specifications of the 2017 syllabus. In particular I have designed a new mark sheet and rubric to guide students through the process. Exemplar studies will follow in due course after the first cycle of examinations next…

Why did the First Gulf War take place?

Part of the IGCSE Paper 2 Study Topic: “Why did Events in the Gulf Matter?” Why did the First Gulf War take place? Focus Point 1: Why did Saddam invade Kuwait? “Listed below are various factors relating to the decision to go to war. Use these to produce TWO brief speeches in role as Saddam:…

Why did the Iran-Iraq War last for so long?

Part of the IGCSE Paper 2 Study Topic: “Why did Events in the Gulf Matter?” Why did the Iran-Iraq War last for so long? Before reading the additional information in the worksheet, students should have made notes from the two short video clips [clip 1 | clip 2], focusing on the question “Why did the Iran-Iraq War…

Sourcework Practice: Causes of the Iran-Iraq War

Part of the IGCSE Paper 2 Study Topic: “Why did Events in the Gulf Matter?” Sourcework Practice: Causes of the Iran-Iraq War 1. According to Source A, why did Saddam Hussein decide to invade Iran in September 1980? TIP: as with any ‘why’ question, provide several reasons, substantiated with quotes from the sources. 2. How reliable is Source B…

What were the causes and consequences of the Iran-Iraq War, 1980-88?

Part of the IGCSE Paper 2 Study Topic: “Why did Events in the Gulf Matter?” What were the causes and consequences of the Iran-Iraq War, 1980-88? Task: A biased government speech explaining the causes of the war On the 22nd September 1980, the longest conventional war of the 20th Century began when Iraq launched an…

Saddamarama: Propaganda Images from Saddam’s Iraq

Saddamarama: Propaganda Images from Saddam’s Iraq “You will be divided into teams. One person from each team will come to the front and collect a propaganda image. Without showing it to the rest of the team, this person should describe what they see, who it appears aimed at, and what it is trying to say…

Saddam’s Rule of Iraq. Overview: Terror, Achievements, Propaganda

Overview: Terror, Achievements, Propaganda “Using your findings from this resource, produce a written response to the following question: ‘Was Saddam’s rule of Iraq was based on fear, propaganda or genuine achievements?’ Explain your answer by connecting all three factors.”

McCarthyism and the Second Red Scare: Design a school exhibition!

Design a school exhibition! The Impact of McCarthyism in the USA in the 1950s is such a rich topic of study that it is difficult to know what to focus on, so I let each student choose their own area of interest (music, film, politics, science….) and then gave them their own exhibition space to…

The Yalta Conference – activity and follow-up

The Yalta Conference: Interactive Computer Simulation! [Interactive] An artificial intelligence simulation, complete with a worksheet: students choose whether to play as Churchill, Roosevelt or Stalin, and then pit their wits against their opponents to achieve their objectives. This computer lesson runs itself and is a great way of learning about the personalities, issues and results…

Individual Research Task: Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt

Individual Research Task: Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt The class is divided into three teams, each representing the press officer for one of the Big Three. a. Using your own knowledge and other research, provide THREE key points suggesting your man will work well with the others. Write these into the left hand column. b. Then…

The Grand Alliance, 1941-44

The Grand Alliance, 1941-44 | Teacher Notes Students conduct independent research on eight key wartime events, focusing specifically on how each one raised tensions, and between whom. There are links to appropriate video clips which can be used by the students as part of their research, or watched together as a class. Part of the…

Causes of the Iranian Revolution, 1979 – Introductory Slideshow for IGCSE

Introductory Slideshow In this teacher-led presentation (during which students should take notes), the class is presented with some of the key questions, images and personalities relating to the 1979 Revolution. In particular, the presentation encourages students to see Iran in its long-term context and to consider how today it appears to again be going through…

Cold War – Historical Context, 1917-39

Historical Context, 1917-39 Students are presented with a detailed, interactive timeline of events and two key questions for consideration: 1: Was the Nazi-Soviet Pact proof that the West were right to distrust Stalin all along, or was it the direct and unfortunate result of that distrust? 2: Based on Question 1, who was therefore more…

Using ‘The Apprentice’ TV Show Format in the Classroom

I have produced a comprehensive set of instructions and resources which enables teachers to adapt the format of the TV show “The Apprentice” to foster group work, research skills and presentational abilities. In the illustrative example I share, students research and prioritise the methods used by the 19th Century Abolition Movement to outlaw the slave trade. Students are…

Why did the Roman Empire Fall?

Why did the Roman Empire Fall? In this exercise, created using the ClassTools Hexagons Generator, pairs of students are given a sheet of factors explaining the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West. They cut these out and then organise them into meaningful categories, each with a title which makes it clear how they…

IB History sourcework exercise: The Sophiatown Removals

One-hour sourcework exercise: The Sophiatown Removals | Model answers written by RJ Tarr A full sourcework exercise, complete with teacher model answers, based around the following questions: 1. a) According to Source C, why was was there so little resistance to the Sophiatown evictions? [3 marks] 1. b) What message is conveyed by Source B? [2 marks] 2. With reference to…

Infographic challenge: Apartheid in statistics

Infographic challenge: Apartheid in statistics “The impact of apartheid on black South Africans is difficult to comprehend. Your task is to take these essential statistics about apartheid and then convert them into an “info graphic” (for example, using a tool like Piktochart, Canva, Infogr.am or similar.” Part of the complete scheme of work to support…

IB History sourcework practice – in the style of question [1/2/3]

IB sourcework practice – in the style of question [1] IB sourcework practice – in the style of question [2/3] Two sourcework exercies based around conditions under the Apartheid regime. Part of the complete scheme of work to support the IBDP History “Rights and Protest” unit on Apartheid South Africa.

Speech-writing task: a reply to the defenders of Apartheid

Speech-writing task: a reply to the defenders of Apartheid “Watch the following three interviews with people defending the policy of apartheid. For each one, make notes on their essential arguments. Then, use these to help you produce a speech which will (a) summarise the arguments that have been put forward to defend apartheid by its…

Factual Test: The anti-apartheid resistance movement | Teacher answer sheet

Factual Test: The anti-apartheid resistance movement | Teacher answer sheet A detailed factual test in the form of a ‘fill the gaps’ exercise. When completed and corrected, it forms a useful revision aid in itself. Part of the complete scheme of work to support the IBDP History “Rights and Protest” unit on Apartheid South Africa.

IB History – The development of the anti-Apartheid resistance movement

The development of the anti-Apartheid resistance movement The tasks in this worksheet accompany the teacher led multimedia lecture and decision-making exercise at ActiveHistory (above). Both the lecture, and this worksheet, will take up substantially more than one lesson. Therefore, a good strategy is to (a) Complete Task 1 before the start of the lecture; (b)…

Apartheid – Multimedia Teacher-led lecture and decision-making exercise

Multimedia Teacher-led lecture and decision-making exercise This detailed multimedia presentation guides students through the development of the anti-Apartheid resistance movement. Through a series of stimulus images, written sources and video clips, students are guided through a series of decision points which reflect the issues which split the resistance movement into different groups and factions including…

Who was the most interesting Roman Emperor of all time?

Who was the most interesting Roman Emperor of all time? – a classroom debate In this activity, students research different emperors. They can then present their findings in a whole host of ways: through a balloon debate (my favoured approach!), a biopoem, a diamond diagram, and many others which are suggested within the worksheet. Part…

IB/A-Level: Christmas in Stalin’s Russia

IB/A-Level: Christmas in Stalin’s Russia | Teacher Answer Sheet This lesson gets starts with a team-based quiz challenge, and then moves on to look at how Stalin unexpectedly revivied Christmas for his own propagandistic ends. It forms a useful addition to students’ understanding of Stalin’s use of propaganda, and his policies towards religion, and as such is…

GCSE Christmas History: “Have Yourself and Very Nazi Christmas!”

GCSE: “Have Yourself and Very Nazi Christmas!” In this activity you will consider how effectively the Nazis used propaganda to manipulate the message of Christmas so that it promoted Nazi ideology. You will consider which aspects of Christmas traditions that Hitler would particularly dislike (and so remove) and which aspects he could use for Nazi…

Gladiatorial Combat – A Roleplay Game!

Gladiatorial Combat – A Roleplay Game! | Accompanying question sheet “In this activity you will learn all about Roman Gladiators. You will complete a playing card all about your gladiator, then take the role of a gladiator and use your knowledge to help you win in a series of ‘battles’ against your opponents. Remember: Knowledge…

Yr9 History: The Victorian Invention of Christmas!

Yr9 Lesson 1: The Victorian Invention of Christmas! | Teacher Answers In this activity, students consider how the Industrial Revolution almost destroyed Christmas altogether – until three real-life “Father Christmas” figures came along to save it! This is part one of a two-part lesson and makes use of images of the first Christmas Cracker, the first Christmas Treeand the…