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Write your place in history

As part of its "Their Past Your Future" programme, which aims to help schools learn more about the Second World War, the Imperial War Museum has launched a competition for secondary school teachers to win trips with their pupils to commemorative sites around the world in 2005.

To enter, teachers have to write a maximum of 1,000 words about a potential trip to an unspecified destination closely related to the Second World War. You are asked to devise an educational activity for your pupils that would help make the most of this trip. You can create a pre-trip activity, a follow-up project, or something you would do while there, or an overall approach.

If you go directly to www.theirpast-yourfuture.

org.ukservershowconWebDoc.2069 you'll find the downloadable application form, page 3 of which sets out what you have to write, and the terms and conditions and where to post your entry. Print it off, as you can't enter electronically. But then go back and browse around the whole Their Past Your Future website and absorb all the information about learning outcomes, practical guidance, individual prize trips, dates, and general blurb, because the IWM says you'll need it to write the right kind of entry.

Prize destinations announced so far are: Berlin, the city that was at the centre of the Nazi war machine and of Cold War Europe. Winners will learn about key events, including the demise of Hitler and the fall of the German capital itself, which brought about victory in Europe.

Singapore and New Zealand: winners of this trip will visit the heart of the Pacific theatre of conflict and learn about key events in the war in the Far East. There will also be the opportunity to explore Commonwealth involvement from the perspective of New Zealand servicemen, and to participate in Anzac Day commemorative events.

Canada and the US: winners will visit the new Canadian War Museum and Memorial and learn about Canada's involvement in the war. They will explore America's capital city and heart of political power, and participate in key events for US Memorial Day.

Thailand and Japan: the visiting school will learn about Japanese involvement in the war, from the treatment of allied prisoners-of-war to the civilian suffering caused by dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The closing date to enter for these trips is December 22. The IWM is emailing secondary schools this month directing history teachers to the website. Email: to request a copy.

The site also has information about a related touring exhibition and more opportunities for trips being planned for next year.


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