PBS in the United States have published a section of the 1965 Alabama Literacy Test, which was used at the discretition of the voting officials. In Section A of the test a person wishing to vote needed to read aloud a section of the Alabama Constitution. Sections B and C they could be asked any of these questions (or none at all). The literacy test was therefore a way to control who would be able to vote and was primarily used to prevent African-Americans from voting by giving them the hardest sections of the Constitution to read, and requiring them to answer the hardest questions on the test.
For more examples, see http://www.crmvet.org/info/littest.htm
This activity works well as a plenary or as an energising starter to the next lesson. Having studied the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente, students are faced with the problem of seating the six countries at a dinner table. They need to keep disagreements to a minimum by positioning the biggest rivals away from each other.
Students enjoy the debate involved in this activity, and often need to re-draw their plans as the discussion progresses. Having decided the seating plan, they write the name of each country on the appropriate chair and give a short explanation of their placement in the blank box.
The activity can be easily adapted for other situations – I know of colleagues using seating plans to get students to show the differing internal alliances in the early years of Stalin’s Soviet Union, and a Philosophy & Ethics teacher using it for arguments about the existence of God.
This image of the Franco-Prussian war monument, marked by bullet holes, was taken by photographer Lewis Bush (www.lewisbush.com) in Berlin during 2012 for The Memory of History.
I put together a short quiz for our House competition, which I’ve shared as it might be useful to others for form time, end of year, or pretty much any other time you want a few quiz questions!
We only had time for three rounds of the quiz. Click the link to download a .zip file of each set of MP3s – the tracks are named with the answers:
This 1861 photograph of Confederate artillery in the American Civil War is a great starter for discussions about continuity and change in warfare. Compare it to images of WW1 field artillery for some interesting student observations. Click to download a full-size version.
The ‘March Madness series of North American College basketball games uses a ‘bracket’ system to eliminate teams. You can use the same bracket system to run a series of debates or individual considerations to identify the most significant / important cause of an historical event.
Begin by identifying 8 key factors, which are written on the 8 legs of the 1st Round. Each pair of factors is debated, with the ‘winner’ (i.e. the most convincing argument) making it through to the 2nd Round. The 2nd Round factors are then debated against each other, resulting in the final two factors making it through the the Championship round.
A while ago I saw a brilliant resource from Stuart Godman at www.aheadofhistory.co.uk who had created a peer assessment version of the playground paper ‘fortune teller’ game. It’s great to reach these out as a plenary activity at the end of an intense lesson of historical analysis and get the students talking to each other about their work.
I’ve since made a series of ‘fortune tellers’ for different units. The most successful seem to be those which require students to explain the contribution of a specific factor to an event. Students enjoy having a little bit of control over the factor they are going to be asked about, while still maintaining the random element. You can download some examples below.
I thought it also made sense to share this editable PowerPoint of a fortunate teller so that you can create your own. Instructions on how to fold it, in case you can’t remember back to when you were in KS2, are below!
The www.radiooooo.com website is definitely worth adding to your ‘Favourites’. A crowd-sourced directory of 20th Century international music, it features a host of tracks categorised by country of origin and decade. With just a couple of clicks you have quick and easy access to a huge range music to play in the background while students work. Great for adding a ‘sense of period’…or just for fun!
This simple resource, based on events from the excellent About Time boardgame, allows you to run a history-based House / Inter-Form Competition with minimal effort.
Each team is given a copy of the timeline (click to download) which contains events from the entire range of KS2-5 History (as well as some references to other subject areas) so that all students can get involved. Each date has two events associated with it. Teams should be given the dates as a single chronological strip, but the event cards need to be cut out individually.
Students simply match the events to the dates, and at the end you allocate points based on accuracy. I give 3 points for an exact match and 1 point for being one date out. The team with the highest number of points wins. It’s a quick and easy event to set up, and quick and easy to score.
In my experience it works well in a 20-30 minute session, and is surprisingly competitive. As the teams begin to add events they also start to consider the relative contexts in order to add those ones they are less certain of.