Children writing exemplar: Scott and Amundsen

Linda Dixon‘s Year 2 class investigated two famous people, Scott and Amundsen, as part of a half-term topic on winter focussing on weather and on the conditions for survival.

The history resources were taken from the Now and Then, Heinemann Our World series.

Preparation for writing

Questioning pictures
I showed pictures of the two explorers to the children, and asked them to think of questions they would like to ask about the explorers. I recorded them on the board. I was impressed by the range of questions they asked.

Listening to the story
I played the Heinemann tape telling the story of Scott and Amundsen's race to the South Pole. I asked the children to listen carefully. The story would provide answers to some of their questions.

Reading and discussion
We discussed the way in which news of the expeditions would have been communicated in those days before television: Scott's diary, radio and newspaper accounts, photographs. This led on to shared reading of extracts from Scott's diary.

Examining pictures for clues
We now looked carefully at further pictorial clues about Amundsen and Scott's journeys (e.g. Amundsen: huskies pulling sledges; fur clothing. Scott: each man's daily ration; the men pulling their sledge on foot in a blizzard).

Plotting the explorers' routes
The children used maps of Antarctica to plot the routes taken by the two men and their parties. We discussed why one expedition was successful and one ended in death.

The writing

The children now communicated what they had learnt, through writing and drawing.

Linda the teacher differentiated the writing into three separate tasks:

The above average group I gave this group a starting sentence and asked them to plan five more sections. They did this, then corrected their work and compiled it into an illustrated booklet.

The average children In pairs, this group of children wrote a newspaper front cover. One child in each pair wrote an article about Scott, while the other reported on Amundsen. We arranged their articles and pictures as a newspaper front page (see attached example).

The below average group Each child in this group wrote his/her own sentence and drew a picture. We put the pieces together to form a group book.


The children were very enthusiastic about the explorers, and brought in reference books and computer-generated information from home.

The discussions, teaching/learning activities and writing covered aspects of all the history curriculum's key elements (knowledge, skills, and understanding): chronology, knowledge and understanding of events, interpretations of history, historical enquiry, and organisation and communication.

by Linda Dixon

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