Seeing, hearing and doing the Renaissance (Part 1): Let's have a Renaissance party!

Teaching History article

By Maria Osowiecki, published 1st December 2004

In two, linked articles, appearing in this and the next edition, Maria Osowiecki shares an account of a five-lesson enquiry, based on the concept of historical significance (National Curriculum Key Element 2e) for mixed ability Year 8. She wanted to experiment with an array of creative teaching techniques that would appeal to a wide range of learning styles and to examine how this could improve learning. The result was a feast of aural, oral, visual and kinaesthetic activity on the theme of the European Renaissance, all built around the enquiry question: ‘What was so remarkable about the Renaissance?’. This first article focuses upon just one of the five lessons: lesson 4. Osowiecki describes the two major activities of the lesson – the Renaissance party and its follow-up, a balloon debate. A huge success, this pair of activities was pivotal in motivating pupils and proved efficient as a way of building both knowledge and conceptual reflection. Here Osowiecki illustrates the resources and some of the context for the lesson. In Part 2, in the next edition, she will present a rationale for the whole sequence of five lessons, a full description of all five lessons, a discussion of the ‘learning styles’ question and an in-depth evaluation of the quality of pupils’ learning about historical significance.

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