Making links: Myths, legends and problem-solving with the Greeks

Primary History article

By Peter Vass, published 25th March 2010

Please note: this article pre-dates the 2014 National Curriculum and some content may be outdated.

Introduction: Meaningful links

"Teachers will be able to make links within and across areas of learning to help children understand how each distinctive area links to and is supported by others."

(Rose Chapter 2, 2.23)

‘Meaningful links' have been a feature of curriculum practice in primary schools long before there was a national curriculum. The trick then, as it is now, is to make the links meaningful as well ensuring children end up some historical knowledge as an outcome. The key skill required of teachers, is to identify one or more inter-disciplinary features which have a distinct relevance to all the subjects where links are being made. However, to do this successfully it is important to try to enter the mind of the child and consider what they might make of the exercise.

What is Truth?

I've always been interested in what children make of the past. As teachers we ask them to believe in all sorts of weird and wonderful things from Tyrannosaurus Rex to Tutankhamun's tomb and they usually go along with most of what we tell them. Some years ago I did some research (Vass, 2000) into the sort of stories 6 and 7 year olds were inclined to believe. I told a class 3 different stories originating in the Middle Ages. The first was a historical account which described the escape of the Empress Mathilda from Oxford Castle during the civil wars in Stephen's reign. The second was a legend, that of Blondel...

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