History

9th February 2007 at 00:00
Ages 11 to 16

Dramatising the "scene of the crime" is a fun vehicle to discuss interpretations of historical events, such as the assassination of JFK.

The second in a series of three lessons, dealing with what the witnesses saw in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, I put an overhead view of the plaza on the whiteboard and set the classroom up to resemble it, using desks and chairs for the buildings and the railroad overpass, with string to mark out the streets.

I give each pupil a witness card, which explains who they were, their occupation and roughly where they think the gunshots came from.

I have equal numbers of witnesses who say the shots came from the Texas school book depository or the grassy knoll.

Each pupil reads out their card in turn, and we discuss the reliability of the witness. Pupils enjoy hearing about some of the gory details.

The website www.history-matters.com has a large collection of witness statements which can be used in the lessons Steve Handley is a teacher of history at St Joseph's RC Comprehensive, Hebburn, Tyne and Wear

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