“Get ready for a riveting fact,” the narrator from Coopers Edge School says. “The plane is held together with thousands of metal fastenings and bolts.”
The punning pupils of the Gloucestershire primary are the winners of the TES’ Huge History Lesson competition.
The competition, run jointly with the British Museum, challenged primary and secondary pupils to submit a presentation about an object in a local or national museum. More than 100 entries were received from schools around the country.
The winning entry is a nine-minute YouTube film, in which key stage 2 pupils chart the history of a Hawker Typhoon aeroplane from Gloucestershire’s Jet Age Museum. Adding another level of significance for pupils, the aeroplane was built at a factory on the site that is now their school.
Their film contains some interesting aeronautical facts. For example there is this, explaining the origins of the phrase “reverse engineering”: “If the original part is too rotted and corroded, it is opened out and measured. A new part is then made to exactly the same size. This is called reverse engineering.”
And, to a soundtrack of Gracie Fields and Vera Lynn, pupils dressed in headscarves and overalls discuss the hardships of factory life. “I wish the men didn’t go to war,” one says.
“Yeah,” says another. “It’s so boring.”
The Huge History Lesson was part of an initiative to help millions of teachers make use of cultural resources. Submissions were judged by a panel from TES, the British Museum and Arts Council England.
Jim Knight, TES’s chief education advisor, said of the winning entry: “Their choice of object unlocked a richness of learning and research that brought together drama, history, film and so much more.
“They captured exactly what we were hoping for in the Huge History Lesson – a broad learning journey, stimulated by a single object in a local museum.”
The pupils’ prize was to receive a behind-the-scenes tour of the British Museum, during which they met and spoke to curators. They were then given their certificates by TV history presenter Dan Snow. This was accompanied by a specially designed Typhoon cake.
Ewan Johnson, a teacher at Coopers Edge, said: “Having our work acknowledged raised all our aspirations, showing the children that historical research and curating were real jobs, and allowing us all to feel that imaginative work will be recognised.”
Watch the winning film here: