The roots of civilisation

3rd September 2004 at 01:00
HISTree Posters Stone Age to Space Age Victorians Tudors Britain Since 1930 History People pound;5 each Tel: 01594 824154 www.history-people.co.uk

Designed to be "a unique approach to the perennial problem of time lining", these A2-sized posters aid children's chronological awareness. Instead of the usual linear presentation of time, a tree is used to provide children with the imagery of constant change, old and new. The tree is supposed to show the passage of time in a way that children can relate to, with the roots being our past and the new growth being constant change with each new day.

The main poster, "Stone Age to Space Age", contains an overview of an intertwined world history. The roots are labelled as ancient civilisations, such as the Greeks, Romans and Celts, and continues to grow into the Middle Ages, the Tudor period and finally into Georgian and Victorian times, to the 20th century and today.

My Year 6 class quickly grasped the idea that without the roots (ancient civilisations) we could not exist and live as we do today. They even began to discuss ideas of cause and effect by thinking about what could happen in one part of the tree if something different had occurred.

The poster is illustrated with pictorial evidence from different eras and my class enjoyed working out which was which. This was a great speaking and listening activity due to the reasoning behind their choices.

Each period poster has a calendar of notable events laid out in month order with exact dates. This encourages children to refer to it each day to find out if anything momentous happened. This personal touch kept my pupils wanting to know what had happened in Britain since the 1930s, especially if it happened to be on their birthdays.

By using these posters throughout your school's key stage 2 classes, pupils will have a constant reminder of what time is and a clearer understanding of how the historical topics they study relate to each other and affect their lives.

This is an imaginative way of impressing on pupils the importance of learning and growing from our past and of the people who have lived before us.

Karen Keddie teaches at Deers Wood Primary School, South Gloucestershire

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