History: Factual Test for the “Undercover in Imperial Rome” simulation

FACTUAL TEST In this task, students are given 25 short-answer questions to test the knowledge they acquired by completing the main worksheet which accompanies the game about Imperial Rome. The link to the associated computer simulation and loads more worksheets and activities relating to Imperial Rome can be found on this page of ActiveHistory.  …

“Unseen history” – a new blogpost

Overview Building up a sense of anticipation and curiosity within a history lesson is always a great way to engender a sense of interest and engagement. What follows are a few ideas which I have found work particularly effectively. What’s in the Bag? I am a big fan of using artefacts in the classroom to…

Convert a teacher’s essay into a History magazine article

Overview It’s always good practice for teachers to write a timed essay at the same time, and in the same conditions, as their students. In this way students can immediately appreciate that you can ‘walk the walk’ and not just ‘talk the talk’. Moreover, they will then be able to compare their essays, and the…

Five Ideas for Model Making in History

Overview Designing and realising a physical model can be a very engaging and stimulating experience for bringing history alive for students in a novel and memorable way. It also provides some superb display material for creating an engaging classroom environment. Heraldic Shields A fixed feature of my school calendar is a study with younger students…

Studying Local History through Street Names

Overview The names given to our roads and streets provides a rich source of potential for local history projects. Students can research the events and people commemorated in these names to engage in some open-ended history that is not constrained by a particular topic, theme or period. The following example uses Google Maps to make…

Ideas for making the most of your old History magazines

Overview As digital archives of history articles become increasingly accessible for students and teachers, it’s easy for print versions of of magazines slowly gather dust on the shelves before being unceremoniously dumped onto the charity pile during the annual classroom clearout. But looked at more creatively, those old issues of History Today, Modern History Review…

Ideas for using tastes and smells in the History classroom

Overview The benefits of using audio-visual sources in the history classroom is well-established. However, it is much rarer for teachers to make use of sources which appeal to the sense of taste and smell, even though these are just as thought-provoking and evocative and perhaps even more so. Obviously take care though to have due…

Building Teenage Heroes into the History Curriculum

Overview A common complaint about History is that it is dominated by white, middle-class, middle-aged men. Or, as Jane Austen put it, “The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars or pestilences, in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all — it is very tiresome”. Much has…

Five techniques for building visual literacy in the History Classroom

OVERVIEW  Political cartoons are a mainstay of the history classroom and provide a wonderful tool not only for starter and plenary activities, but invaluable raw material for helping students draw deductions, compare interpretations and substantiate their own judgements by bringing in additional background knowledge. They also provide an accessible way into the historical debate for…

Origins of WW1 – IGCSE History P1 Model Answers

The Origins of World War One a. Describe the Alliance System which existed among European powers before 1914. b. Why did the Anglo-French entente survive? c. “The crises of 1905, 1908 and 1911 made war inevitable” – to what extent do you agree with this statement? One of many sets of model answers for IGCSE…

What is history all about? The who, when and why!

What is history all about? The who, when and why! A teacher-led online presentation, based around three central themes and leading neatly into the ‘time machine’ activity which follows: 1. When (Periods): Historians are Time Travellers! 2. Who (People): Historians are Friendly Time Travellers! 3. What (Evidence): Historians are Friendly Time Travelling Detectives! Part of the…

History of Berlin: Multimedia note-taking task

In 2018 I took history students to Berlin on a residential trip for the first time after they completed this preparatory task based on selected video clips. The following Google maps illustrate the division of Berlin during the Cold War, and the clear outline of the Berlin Wall (with inner/outer walls marked, and the death…

40+ Model History Essays by Russel Tarr

As well as writing a number of articles for History Review magazine, I make it a habit to write essays in timed conditions whenever I set such assignments with my classes. These serve as very useful teaching aids which help students to develop their own essay-writing skills. Provided here are more than 40 essays and…

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).   (249 views)

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. (196 views)

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…

“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…

IGCSE History Revision 2017

Completely updated and relaunched, this section of the website provides comprehensive revision materials for Cambridge IGCSE Modern World History. (534 views)

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

IB History Internal Assessment – guidance and examples

A new section of the webiste. • Click on the various headings to get guidance in choosing a question and writing your study! • There are also fifteen exemplar studies for download from students at the International School of Toulouse which were all graded in the top level by the examiner! (14345 views)