Lunchtime history

Our history department held a series of lunchtime workshops which provided an opportunity for cross-curricular collaboration with departments such as drama and media studies. The idea came from the Time Team series on Channel 4, in which archaeologists make historical artefacts and recreate life in the past.

Students studying Henry VIII and the break from Rome had a series of workshops on Tudor food, dance and music. First they learned about the varied and unusual diet of the king and his court, ranging from eels to freshly roasted peacocks. They then made Tudor sweetmeats using coloured marzipan and moulded them into the shape of the emblematic Tudor rose.

In a workshop on dance, we showed a clip from the BBC series Elizabeth I, with Glenda Jackson dancing the popular and daring volta with her courtiers. Students created their own version of a Tudor dance and one group played a creditable version of Greensleeves on recorders.

We have had a variety of workshops and repeat the most successful ones.

Some have been so popular - for example, one on stained glass window-making using special transparent paints - that students have queued to join.

Maidstone Museum curator Giles Guthrie agreed to bring in some fragments of medieval stained glass to help students appreciate the colours and processes involved in making their own replica windows.

After each workshop, students write up the experience and their work is posted with pictures on the school website. Some of the work can be seen at www.invicta.kent.sch.uk click "index", "history politics", then "lunchtime workshops".

Chris Higgins

History teacher, Invicta Grammar School, Maidstone, Kent

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