The Stone Age conundrum

Making use of a local site to develop historical knowledge

By James Taylor, published 3rd June 2016

Generating enthusiasm for the Stone Age

History – the very word makes the primary teacher in me feel excited. There are simply so many variables, so many dark nooks and crannies of history to explore and so many different angles through which to draw in a class of eager young minds. Thanks to a wellexecuted history lesson even the most stubborn and dejected child cannot hold out against re-enacting an inglorious battle or the beauty of entering the tomb of a lost pharaoh or the disgust of discovering child slavery.

There was a feeling among many primary teachers that the previous National Curriculum had run its course. Some change was overdue. But what a change! The first new topic I was to tackle with my Year 5/6 class was ‘Stone Age to Iron Age’. As I sat down to plan I quickly realised two very important things. First, there are lots of ‘holes’ in our historical knowledge regarding this period of time. In fact, many of the Neolithic sites found in the UK raise more questions than answers. Second, at present and for many different reasons,
currently there are virtually no Neolithic artefacts available for teaching this subject at primary level. Nothing for children to touch, explore or discuss during their history lessons...

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