Detectives: what were schools like in the past?

Lesson Plan

By Anne Huddleston, published 2nd December 2010

In this lesson we asked what clues (objects and pictures) can tell us about the past. How were schools in the past different from ours? (Resources attached below.)

The objectives were:

  • To introduce the children to the idea of history as detective work.
  • To help the children to make comparisons and find similarities and differences between schools now and at different times in the past.
  • To develop the children's skills of observation through close examination of sources - objects and pictures from the past.
  • To help the children to develop empathy with past children through storytelling. 

Using objects and pictures: history as detective work

This lesson helped the children to begin to develop some of the skills of the historian. They made comparisons and found similarities and differences between their school now, their teacher's school in the late 1960s, an old granny's school in the late 1930s, and a school of around 100 years ago.

I also aimed to take the children imaginatively back to the past, so that they would see past people and their situations as real. These resources are attached below.

KS1 breadth of study for history

These two lessons addressed the first two sections of the Key Stage 1 breadth of study for history:

  • changes in their own lives and the way of life of their family or others around them (in this case, me)
  • the way of life of people in the more distant past who lived in the local area or elsewhere in Britain. 

Teaching Methods

Attached files: