Video Documentary Project – The American Civil War

A new worksheet and activity – students watch some clips from professional historians, and the work of previous years’ students, to reflect on what makes a great documentary. They are then guided through the process of writing a narrative, choosing appropriate images and a soundtrack, prior to producing a short video documentary of their own….

Trading scenarios along the Silk Road: Teacher Answers

Trading scenarios along the Silk Road: can you make a profit? “The Silk Road developed into an amazingly complex trading network through the work of individual traders eager not just to obtain the things they needed and wanted, but to sell these on at a higher price to make a profit. In this activity will…

The English Civil War: PowerPoint Starter / Accompanying Video

The English Civil War: PowerPoint Starter / Accompanying Video A series of images and short textual points designed to generate student interest. What was the Civil War? Why is it important to study? To accompany this, I have produced a short video of my own which I originally created as a distance-learning resource during COVID-19…

“Timeline of my Birthday” – worksheet

“Timeline of my Birthday” – worksheet Replace [DATE GOES HERE] with the month / day of your birthday (e.g. “November 30th”). Go to https://www.activehistory.co.uk/birthdayTimeline and input your birthday. It will provide a list of events, births and deaths that took place across a wide range of time on the day you were born. Select AT…

Design a Virtual Museum

Design a Virtual Museum During the COVID-19 lockdown period I got my students to collaborate on a “Virtual Museum” containing items from around their homes. It worked well and is something which I’ll now do regularly as a standalone project – you may be interested in trying a similar thing out with your own classes….

Multimedia Presentation: Who were the Nazis? | Student Worksheet

Multimedia Presentation: Who were the Nazis? | Student Worksheet Students consider some of the key beliefs of the Nazis by debating a series of controversial issues (e.g. “Immigrants should be encouraged to leave our country when there are lots of our own people who are unemployed”, “It is quite right to place suspected terrorists into…

Left-wing and Right Wing: Which are you? [online simulation]

Left-wing and Right Wing: Which are you? [online simulation] Students then complete this 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…

Overview of Ideologies: [a] Communism, Fascism and Nazism

Overview of Ideologies: [a] Communism, Fascism and Nazism Students start the unit by being introduced to the main ideological divisions of the interwar period and the key personalities behind them, including Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill. Part of the new World War Two study unit at ActiveHistory. (88 views)

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

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: Develop their ability to see the ‘big picture’ and to connect factors together Consider how Elizabeth’s rule has affected such things as: The…

Voyages of Discovery – New Online Simulation Game

Voyages of Discovery – New Online Simulation Game Overview This simulation introduces students to the Voyages of Discovery. These daring overseas adventures marked the beginning of globalization and European empire-building. By playing the game students will learn about some of the most important explorers, their discoveries, and the spices which they brought back to Europe….

Henry VIII: Head2Head Virtual Interview Relaunch

Over the Xmas holidays I completely re-coded and relaunched the popular “Head2Head Interview with Henry VIII” which can be found here. The new version has an improved artificial intelligence engine and a modernised layout so that students appear to be having a text chat with the character on their mobile device. (140 views)

New decision-making simulation: “Time Machine Journey to the Renaissance”

Recoded, rewritten, relaunched: the popular “Time Machine Journey to Renaissance Florence” has been completely revamped with fresh features including: A live ‘leaderboard’ so that teachers can monitor student progress; The ability for students to print off a certificate of achievement at the end; Factual questions testing essential knowledge throughout the simulation.   (216 views)

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…

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…

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 (145 views)

Medieval Castles Simulation, new worksheet and extension task

The popular Medieval Castles Simulator has now been updated with a new worksheet with an extension activity based around a primary source relating to the siege of Carcassonne in 1240. The simulation can be used as a stand-alone activity, or as part of the ActiveHistory study of The Norman Conquest or The Albigensian Crusade.  …

ActiveHistory Mystery: Cat Bottoms and Golden Cups!

This latest ActiveHistory Mystery, which I used with my Year 8 students, is based in the Middle Ages and involves cats’ bottoms, golden cups, mass murder and plenty of treachery… The “History Mysteries” lessons are designed as stand-alone projects which each last 3-4 hours. Through engaging historical topics, they teach skills of problem formulation, deductive reasoning,…

Medieval Castles, worksheet and video

I have put together an extension worksheet for the popular “Interactive Castle Building Simulation” based around a documentary video that can be found on YouTube. My plan is to set this as an extension / homework assignment, especially as my students are lucky enough to have a school trip to Carcassonne as part of their…

The Wars of the Roses

Jebulon / Foter.com / CC BY-SA The Wars of the Roses In this activity students analyse a royal family tree to make deductions regarding the changing fortunes of the Houses of Lancaster and York. Further stimulus material leads into a research phase in which students try to determine whether other royals – all of whom…

The Princes in the Tower: Classroom Debate

The Princes in the Tower: Classroom Debate Students are organised into 6 teams to construct a case seeking to prove a particular fate for the Princes in the Tower. At the end of the exercise students write-up their findings declaring Richard guilty or innocent of the crime. (1511 views)

The Princes in the Tower: Card Sort Exercise

This worksheet provides students with an overview of the mystery relating to the Princes in the Tower. Students then organise a series of statements into evidence of guilt or innocence, then match up pairs of statements relating to similar themes / pieces of evidence. (1853 views)

Does King Richard III deserve a Royal Funeral?

Introductory Presentation / Video This presentation provides a series of ‘mystery’ images. Students are asked to raise their hands when they think they know what the topic is (but not to say anything!). Before showing the video clip and final slide, the teacher should ask students with their hands up what they think the images…

Henry VIII – Multimedia Presentation

This presentation contains 21 images and several video clips, and should be used in conjunction with the introductory lesson on “Henry VIII: Hero or Villain?” that can be found in the Henry VIII section. (1447 views)

Pirates – End of Unit Project: Instructions / Markscheme

End of Unit Project: Instructions / Markscheme To round the unit off, students produce an individual research project bringing their findings together using this helpsheet. The mark scheme is based closely on those used for the ActiveHistory Mysteries so that students can build upon their previous progress. (1030 views)

Henry VIII – New resources for Year 8

I’ve developed the resources for teaching Henry VIII to include a markscheme for the suggested essay, a helpsheet for writing the ‘storybook’ and a markscheme for the same project, as well as further instructions for how to run a joint lesson with primary school students. (1857 views)

Comparisons and Contrasts between different pirates

  …-Wink-… / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND Table: Comparisons and Contrasts between different pirates and / or Venn: Comparisons and Contrasts between different pirates This could be used as an extension activity if time is pressing, but otherwise should be used as a standard part of the unit. (851 views)

Primary Sources – Genuine Pirate Codes

…-Wink-… / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND Part of the Pirates unit. This study unit allows students to investigate the key question “How useful is the film ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ to historians investigating the ‘Golden Age’ of Piracy? An interactive strategy game forms the hub of the unit, with students investigating the following key elements…

Randomiser / Pirate Insult Tool

Randomiser / Pirate Insult Tool – this useful tool helps you to choose random positions on the board for each ship at the start of the game and if they get hit by hurricanes / the Kraken. The ‘insult’ tool is one of the ‘forfeits’ that appears in the game. (788 views)

Pirate Flags Quiz

This quiz is designed to accompany the Pirates Strategy Game. (794 views)

Quiz Questions – Pirates Strategy Game

Student teams succeed in their ‘attacks’ only if they can correctly answer factual questions testing their knowledge of the topic. This detailed bank of questions is broken down into various categories focusing on particular worksheets in this unit. (1018 views)

Feedback Phase – How far is Jack Sparrow based on genuine pirates?

Each ‘crew’ pool their findings to complete this worksheet, which encourages them to test key points about Jack Sparrow to determine if they match what we know about one or more of the pirates that they have now researched. This is followed by a quiz round which enables each ‘ship’ and its crew to win…

How far is Jack Sparrow based on genuine Pirates?

Research instructions | ‘Wanted Poster’ Template The first thing we investigate is how far “Jack Sparrow” is based on actual pirates. The class conducts a discussion about the sorts of things we know about “Jack Sparrow” from “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Students are then allocated different pirates to research. They record their findings in the…

QR Code Treasure Hunt – the Gunpowder Plot

To accompany the Gunpowder Plot History Mystery, I’ve produced this QR Code Treasure Hunt on the same topic. Whilst students are working on their essays as a two-week homework exercise, these codes are hidden around the school and students gain a point for every QR code they successfully decode, and another point for every QR…

History Mystery: The Gunpowder Plot

This new “History Mystery” is designed as stand-alone projects which each last 3-4 hours. Through engaging historical topics, they teach skills of problem formulation, deductive reasoning, independent research, groupwork and structured writing. (1032 views)

The Lutheran Reformation: Designing a Movie Poster / Trailer

A Powerpoint template getting students to match historical characters from the timeline of Luther’s life to real actors. A completed version is also available, along with a movie trailer produced recently by one of my students. For the full unit, click here. (684 views)

“Renaissance Day” – a whole-school, cross-curricular project

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. The resources to develop your…

History Mystery: The Princes in the Tower

An ActiveHistory Mystery. The “History Mysteries” lessons are designed as stand-alone projects which each last 3-4 hours. Through engaging historical topics, they teach skills of research, groupwork, structured writing. There is a standard teacher lesson plan and student record sheet / markscheme for each activity. (1708 views)

Worst Jobs in History: Tudors

This Worst Jobs in History simulation can be used as a stand-alone lesson, homework assignment or as part of a broader unit on “Was life Good or Bad during this particular period?”. The worksheet has basic activities for a 30 minute lesson, and extension tasks that could be followed up later. (1114 views)

Why was the Medieval Church so powerful? – Boardgames project

This four-hour unit helps students to understand why religion was so important in the Middle Ages. This leads neatly into a study of the Cathars and the Reformation. Students study why the Church was so powerful in the Middle Ages. They conduct a card-sort exercise, have a game of charades, then work in pairs and…

Henry VIII Wheel of Life

Students rate Henry VIII according to various criteria and “join the dots” in this diagram to produce a “Wheel of Life”. Space is provided for students to explain their reasoning. (563 views)

King Henry VIII: Classroom Roleplay Lesson

This roleplay exercise divides the class into three teams – prosecution, defence, and judges. The prosecution and the defence gather evidence and prepare their case whilst the judges select some surprise exhibits to use in the trial. The trial itself should be a lively lesson which encourages students to make deductions and question the reliability…

The Trial of King Charles I: Primary Source Analysis

Students read transcripts of the trial to consider what they tell us about the King, his prosecutors and the attitude of those present. This resource can be found within this complete Key Stage 3 History Study Unit on the English Civil War. (3315 views)

Year 8 History Revision Quizzes

A selection of quizzes and activities designed to help Year 8 History students revise the year’s work prior to their summer exams. (4801 views)

The Execution of King Charles I, 1649

The Execution of King Charles I: Film and Primary Source Analysis How accurately has the event been depicted in films such as Cromwell (1970) and To Kill a King (2002)? The video clips are accessible at YouTube: [Cromwell (1970)] [To Kill a King (2002)] (2135 views)

The Trial of King Charles I: Film Analysis

How accurately has the event been depicted in films such as Cromwell (1970) and To Kill a King (2002)? The lesson can be accompanied by the second part of the Prezi Presentation.The video clips are embedded within it, but they are also accessible at YouTube: [Cromwell (1970)] [To Kill a King (2002)]. This resource can…

The Events of the English Civil War

An overview of the main events of the English Civil War is provided, and a discussion takes place as to whether the King should be put on trial. The lesson can be accompanied by the first part of a Prezi Presentation. This resource can be found within this complete Key Stage 3 History Study Unit…

King Charles I: Venn Diagram

A thematic analysis of the problems leading up to the outbreak of the English Civil War. This resource can be found within this complete Key Stage 3 History Study Unit on the English Civil War. (613 views)

King Charles I: Timeline Analysis

A chronological analysis of the problems leading up to the outbreak of the English Civil War. This resource can be found within this complete Key Stage 3 History Study Unit on the English Civil War. (1061 views)

King Charles I: Overview Decision Making Game

Students play as King Charles I and try to avoid taking the country into a Civil War. Comes complete with a worksheet and follow-up activities. This resource can be found within this complete Key Stage 3 History Study Unit on the English Civil War. (1603 views)

Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot

An in-depth investigation into the Gunpowder plot making use of primary source materials to help students decide whether the Catholics were “framed”. There is a PowerPoint Slide could be used as a starter to the lesson, and there a Fling the Teacher Quiz which can be used as a factual test. This resource can be…

King James I: An Overview

Students consider the personality and policies of King James I as a long-term explanation for the outbreak of the Civil War. This resource can be found within this complete Key Stage 3 History Study Unit on the English Civil War. (681 views)

Causes of the English Civil War: Powerpoint lesson starter

A series of images and short textual points designed to generate student interest. What was the Civil War? Why is it important to study? This resource can be found within this complete Key Stage 3 History Study Unit on the English Civil War. (4139 views)

Year 8 Civil War Projects

As part of their studies of the Causes of the English Civil War, Year 8 historians produced a project in the format of their choice. Here is Mark’s outstanding effort, which earned him a commendation. Here are some other examples of great projects in the form of “Chatshow Debates” created using Xtranormal: Warren | Lucy…

Head2Head Worksheets

I have uploaded two worksheets to accompany the Head2Head Virtual Interviews. These are designed to work “off the shelf” and provide focus and direction to students conducting their virutal interviews with Hitler, Henry VIII, Martin Luther King, Dr. Fox and Stalin. 1. Newspaper Interview Task 2. Truth or Fiction Task (586 views)

The Renaissance – End of Unit Test / Assessment

Following directly on from the classroom debate, students then write an essay. This worksheet contains detailed instructions on how to link the characters together rather than simply focusing on what each one individually contributed. A clear markscheme is also provided; I get each student to mark 4 different essays, then we collate all the marks…

The Renaissance – Who was the most important person of the Renaissance?

A detailed lesson plan for year 8 history students. A class list is put into the Fruit Machine Name Picker at www.classtools.net to choose the Renaissance character each student should produce a research project on. This Renaissance project will be written in the first person to ensure that the student reads the information, under three…

1453 Siege of Constantinople

An introductory worksheet. Perhaps the main reason why the Renaissance took off in Italy – this activity gets the narrative across in an engaging way. Students are given an interactive “news feed” of events, then can choose to produce EITHER a biased news report in Publisher OR a radio broadcast using their microphone OR a…

History Shop

It’s with a great sense of relief that I’ve finally launched the ActiveHistory History Store – a massive repository of history books, history CDs and history DVDs available from Amazon, organised by date period and by genre (historical fiction, popular history, history study books, history dvds). There are hundreds of resources available here which I…

Witchcraft Trial – Updated Activity Worksheet

I have updated the popular witchcraft trial lesson plan and trial worksheet to include follow up questions designed to get students thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of both the adversarial justice system, and also of jury trials. This ensures that the trial itself is rounded off with some reflective questions rather than just a…

“Bloody” Mary Tudor?

A worksheet based around the short clip from the feature film “Elizabeth” which shows the execution of Latimer and Ridley. Type in “latimer ridley” into www.youtube.com to find the clip! (1346 views)

Life of Martin Luther – Hollywood Style!

The life of Martin Luther: Not strictly necessary, but it’s a great story – and in this activity, students use a timeline to produce a Hollywood Film Poster advertising a new blockbuster about the life of the Reformation giant. Focusing on the cast list, the film title and the key events of his life, it…

Matthew Hopkins, Witchfinder General

In this history lesson plan and worksheet, students read through the 14 questions posed in Mathew Hopkins’ “The Discovery of Witches”, choose the 5 questions the think will put the Witchfinder General in the tightest spot, then the teacher provides the answers which were originally given by Hopkins. Follow-up questions (and the suggestion that the…

A Classroom Witch Trial

This Witch Trial and accompanying record sheet is always one of the highlights of the Year 8 course! With some students taking on the role of women accused of witchcraft, others acting as defence counsel, and others as prosecution lawyers, this is a lively unit which really helps students to understand the difference between facts,…

Witchcraft: 1. Introduction: Religion, Superstition and Witchcraft.

Students start with Task 1, followed by a classroom discussion, just to get them thinking. Then, they place their worksheet face down on the table and I write this question on the board: “When was the last witch executed?”. Students turn their sheets back over, and a merit is awarded for the person who first…

Portraits as Propaganda: Elizabeth I

This history lesson builds on well from The Ambassadors and the Tudor Portrait Mystery Exercises. Students consider the tools used by artists to represent different policies, emotions and personality traits in individuals, using the famous “Armada Portrait” as a starting point. They then use what they have learned to produce their own colourful “Royal Portrait”…