Tips for bringing history alive in primary classes and why history matters.
My dad’s running joke before every history exam was to ‘just remember 1066 and 1314’. I’m not sure how useful this advice was in helping me to pass my exams, but it highlights a common misconception that history is simply dates of battles or monarch’s reigns. Luckily for our learners, history teaching today is much more interesting and creative than rote learning.
The Gift of History
In today’s world of rapidly developing technologies and increasing focus on STEM subjects, some people might question if there is still a place for history to be taught at primary school level? There are several key reasons why history matters and is deserving of its place in Curriculum for Excellence.
- History enables us to understand how our society came to be the way it is today.
- History is fun. There are thousands of fascinating real life events and remarkable individuals to explore and investigate.
- History shapes our identity, as individuals, families, communities and nations.
- Through studying history, learners develop important skills including analysis of evidence, investigating and interpreting.
To bring your history lessons to life, try incorporating some of the following ideas into your planning and teaching:
- Bring history to life by inviting visitors virtually into your classroom through live video chats or take your class on a virtual school trip to important historical sites.
- Teach history that is relevant to your learners. For example, if you have learners from Eastern European countries, incorporate history from these countries into your lessons.
- History can be a powerful tool in helping learners to understand current issues in society, such as the Black Lives Matter movement. Teach learners about the history of BAME communities and individuals in Scotland. This could be linked into Black History Month in October each year.
- Displays can be a powerful teaching and learning tool. Create a large scale timeline display with your class, displayed at child height, which can be added to throughout the history topic.
- Make links with local museums and historical societies. They may have artefacts and photographs that you can borrow to bring your lessons to life.
- Provide child-led learning opportunities, where learners can choose what area of history they want to study.
Twinkl Scotland Resources
Twinkl Scotland have a wide range of early, first and second level history resources available to support you to plan and deliver outstanding history lessons.
Take a look at these amazing resources that are available to download for free (note that sign up is required):
- Create a fantastic display of learners’ work using this Scotland’s Black History banner.
- Get learners discussing how history is remembered through objects and places with these How History Is Remembered Blether Stations.
- Why not learn more about Skara Brae, the ancient Neolithic site on Orkney with these free resources, including an introductory powerpoint, this differentiated text, or this reading comprehension?!
These lovely resources are available to download with a paid subscription:
- Take learners on a journey through Scottish history with this amazing Scottish History PowerPoint. Starting at Skara Brae in 2500 B.C. it explores Scottish history until the present day.
- Teach second level learners about the Scottish Wars of Independence using this bumper IDL and Resource Pack. It contains an IDL planner, resources for displays, activities and information on key figures and events to make this topic a success.
For many more fantastic history resources, browse the Twinkl Scotland website and bring your history lessons to life.
Written by: Emma Hamilton for Twinkl Scotland
The Heritage Resources Portal is an Archaeology Scotland initiative.