Great Fire and Titanic

Outstanding KS1 history lessons the Great Fire and the Sinking of the Titanic at KS1

Despite being around for a very long time as an infant topic The Great Fire still ‘does the business’. Not only does it offer one of the best contexts for looking at cause and consequence, it also encourages the use of drama and role play to develop an empathetic understanding of the human dilemmas of the thousands having to watch their houses going up in flames.

The Sinking of the Titanic is a real winner as a topic which fires pupils’ imagination, especially the boys’. It deals with issues to do with causes really well, as you will see from the lesson using the history mystery approach. It also is great for looking at consequences. By focusing on the rescue, pupils can see how it has been shown differently in pictures and on film. This provides an excellent way into interpretations. Some colleagues might think is a bit of a sad, indeed tragic, story to use with young children. By focusing on the rescue and the improvements it led to, you can ameliorate any sad feelings pupils might have, but most teachers tell me that it is so removed from the present that pupils abiding reaction is one of strong engagement with the material, and only very rarely tinged with sadness.

All the excellent lessons below are linked to a medium term planner (available in the planning section) which give the whole topic coherence.

KS1 Medium term planner: The sinking of the Titanic Y2

This topic provides an exciting addition to the usual famous events taught at KS1. Not only is there a clear, compelling narrative that pupils can relate to, it also offers opportunities to develop worthwhile historical concepts such as diversity, causation, consequences, interpretations and source analysis....
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Why weren’t more people saved from the Titanic? KQ5

In this problem-solving activity, pupils have to speculate, using a stimulus image and then evaluate a range of given reasons based on their plausibility, placing them on a spectrum. To demonstrate their understanding pupils complete 3 speech bubbles giving the most important reasons coming from...
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KQ5 on Sinking of the Titanic now ready for subscribers

The final piece of the jigsaw for the Sinking of the Titanic topic at KS1 is now in place. Key Question 5, Why weren't more people rescued from the Titanic? is now available to subscribers on request. Using the strategy called spectrum, pupils evaluate the...
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What happened during the Great Fire and how do we know?

This lesson focuses on the idea of evidence and proof. Can pupils find evidence to back up statements made in books? Can they tell which is the strongest piece of evidence to support a statement. By learning how to select the sources which they think...
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Why did the Great Fire burn down so many houses?

This Great Fire lesson focuses on developing children's powers of explanations.  They will already have looked at the sequence of events and will be able to offer a few simple reasons.  This lesson aims to take them beyond a simple list towards deeper understanding of...
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How shall we rebuild London after the Great Fire?

This lesson gives full rein to children's creative flair, disciplined by evidence.  The City of London is offering a prize for the best design for a rebuilt London after the Great Fire.   If the children know the causes well, and they should do after using...
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Help Tom to fight the Great Fire. Smart Task

This ICT based activity draws heavily on the superb new website created as a joint enterprise by the National Archives, National Portrait Gallery, Museum of London and London Fire Brigade Museum. It appears on the Learning Curve section of the National Archives site. The interactive...
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KS1 Star Lesson on The Great Fire

Why did the Great Fire of 1666 burn down so many more houses than other fires in London at that time?

In this exceptional lesson, pupils adopt the role of providers of a new plaque for a monument explaining why the Great Fire of 1666 burnt...
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6 top history ideas to cover in your Great Fire topic

Many of you will be starting your Great Fire topic this term. Naturally you will want this to be exciting as well as challenging and you will want to focus on the main historical concepts: in this case, cause and consequence and change. But you might...
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The Great Fire of London – Key Stage 1

2 SMART TASKS AND Using de Bono’s Thinking Hats approach to deepen children’s understanding of the Great Fire. A fascinating short article in which 2 talented infant teachers explain how they successfully used de Bono’s Thinking Hats approach to both deepen pupils’ understanding of the...
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How could the unsinkable Titanic sink? KQ3

This Y2 lesson takes pupils understanding beyond that of knowing what happened to the Titanic to work out why it sank.  The aim is to go beyond simple one cause answers to develop a more sophisticated explanation, which children are capable of, given the right...
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How should we film the sinking of the Titanic? KQ4

Stephen Spielberg has asked for a historically accurate poster for a new film he is planning on the sinking of the Titanic.  He wants school children to design a poster for him, but it MUST be historically accurate.  The children can only ensure this if...
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