Humanities - In the spotlight

30th September 2011 at 01:00

Lives at War: history in film

Lives at War is a new digital project aimed at secondary pupils learning about life on the home front during the Second World War. It presents scenes from archive footage in a 3D virtual environment. The project was launched as part of the Brighton Digital Festival, which took place throughout September, and gives pupils a chance to experience the virtual world of a fictitious street in 1940s Brighton.

How can it be used?

The virtual environment uses games to draw "players" into the lives of air-raid survivors which, when used in conjunction with a lesson or role play, can really bring it to life. Teachers could also use the games as introductions to the topic or starting points for a class project on the Second World War.

Why we like it

Boys and girls alike will have their interest piqued by the addition of some online classroom gaming. Some of the biggest-selling games have no shortage of automatic weaponry, tactics, bloodshed and shrapnel. But this project aims to take things further than the battlefield and get pupils thinking about real-life scenarios and the everyday experiences of those living through the war. So while pupils will probably jump at the chance to step into the virtual world, they will certainly take from it more than just sore thumbs.

How to get it

No registration or logon is required. Download and install the Unity browser plugin to play through a web browser. Or you can download a self- contained desktop version. For further instructions, visit www.lives-at-

What else?

TES Resources has a wealth of material on the Second World War and its aftermath, available free. See


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