Who was Alexander the Great and was he really that great?Quick View
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Who was Alexander the Great and was he really that great?

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This lesson is aimed at KS3/4 students embarking on a study of Alexander the Great. It was designed with the OCR Ancient History Spec in mind but can also be used as a stand alone lesson as its aim is to introduce students to the debate surrounding Alexander and his ‘greatness’. The lesson begins with a quick-fire drawing game based on the Alexander Mosaic from the House of the Faun in Pompeii. Students are then given Mary Beard’s views on Alexander and discuss whether she believes Alexander is ‘great’ etc. It then moves onto a look at a timeline of his life with students encouraged to identify what might have been they most significant events in his life and why. There is then a task where students have to decide whether key events in his life were either positive or negative and draw conclusions about his greatness from this. They are then encouraged to compare their analysis with Mary Beard’s opinion, followed by Philip Freeman’s. The final task involves looking at a map of Alexander’s empire at the time of his death and the routes he took. Students then use this to feed into their gradually evolving opinion on Alexander which they can explain at the end and link to the lesson’s success criteria. This lesson should ideally cover around 2 hours, but could be reduced to 1 if necessary. Reading is included which students do as homework following the lesson with an accompanying short written task.
Alexander the Great's early life - What sign's of greatness were there?Quick View
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Alexander the Great's early life - What sign's of greatness were there?

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This lesson is designed with the OCR Ancient History GCSE spec in mind. It focuses on the different aspects of Alexander’s childhood (Bucephalas, Aristotle etc.) and these stories are presented to students through extracts from Plutarch’s Lives. Links to video clips are included throughout which help to back up students learning and students are encouraged not just to take Plutarch at face value, but also to consider his reliability. Students are also led to examine how the experiences of Alexander’s early life might have led to his greatness further down the line. All worksheets are included as full page slides ready to be printed off in the appropriate places within the lesson.
Myth and Symbols of Power: What was the Centauromachy and why was it depicted on the Parthenon?Quick View
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Myth and Symbols of Power: What was the Centauromachy and why was it depicted on the Parthenon?

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This lesson is designed with the topic ‘Myth and Symbols of Power’ within the ‘Myth and Religion’ unit (for the new OCR Classical Civilisation 9-1 GCSE) in mind. The lesson begins with introducing students to the origin story and details of Centaurs. A worksheet is included within the .ppt file (pictured) which also briefly outlines the events of the battle between the Lapiths and the Centaurs. This can be printed out, highlighted and annotated by students as it will be useful later in the lesson. Students then examine the importance of the Centauromachy to a) The Greeks as a whole, B) The Athenians and c) The Parthenon building itself. A link to a helpful Youtube Video has also been included so students who do not have the opportunity to see the marbles up close in real life can do so through this video. A cloze test where students fill in the missing words in a passage analysing a metope from the Parthenon frieze is also included which can be worked through on the board as a class or printed out and given to students. Answers are also included on the following slide. The lesson finishes with a practice exam question where students need to use the type of language used in the analysis they have seen while doing the cloze test to successfully answer the 8 mark question. (Also included for students who may finish this and need further challenge are questions comparing the Parthenon frieze to the Bassae frieze and Temple of Zeus pediment versions of the Centauromachy). In addition to this for top students a translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses is included so that they can look at the account of the battle between the Centaurs and the Lapiths at the wedding in detail.
How did the Greeks honour their dead?: Funeral practices, burial rites and festivalsQuick View
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How did the Greeks honour their dead?: Funeral practices, burial rites and festivals

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This lesson is designed with the new OCR Classical Civilisation 9-1 GCSE in mind. Specifically, Paper 1 (Myth and Religion) topic 1.7 Death and Burial. it is designed to run over 2 hour long lessons. All worksheets referred to below are contained within the .ppt file in the appropriate places during the lesson which can be printed out and given to students. All instructions are also contained in the ‘notes’ section for each slide (in addition to helpful video links). The lesson does have a lot of information for students to get their head around and therefore students are asked to condense the information into note form at various points. There’s nothing to stop you printing out the info and highlighting it instead and annotating it - either works in my experience depending on the students in your class. Information students are introduced to goes from the preparation of the body after death up until burial of the ashes. In addition there is information on both the Anthesteria and Genesia which were festivals which honoured the dead in Ancient Greece. Stele are looked out and compared to modern gravestones followed by a final plenary of questions based on the learning. There are 3 different exam questions included too ( two 2 mark questions and an 8 mark question) plus there are handouts (pictured on the Iliad and Odyssey which challenge pupils at the top end to think about how the Greeks themselves perceived the importance of death and burial. Video links are included throughout to help students visualise what went on.
How did Augustus use art to portray his ideals?: The Ara PacisQuick View
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How did Augustus use art to portray his ideals?: The Ara Pacis

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This lesson is designed with the new OCR Classical Civilisation 9-1 GCSE in mind. Specifically, Paper 1 (Myth and Religion) topic 1.6 Myth and Symbols of Power. it is designed to run over 2 hour long lessons. All worksheets referred to below are contained within the .ppt file in the appropriate places during the lesson which can be printed out and given to students. All instructions are also contained in the ‘notes’ section for each slide (in addition to helpful video links). The lesson starts with a comprehension starter regarding how Augustus came to power and an accompanying video. There is then some class reading on the aims of Augustan art in general and the messages Augustus was keen to promote. Students are then introduced to the Ara Pacis itself via Augustus himself through studying the appropriate part of the Res Gestae. A short OU video link is included to help students visualise the size of the Ara Pacis itself. A worksheet is then included ready to be printed off (pictured)looking at Ovid’s Fasti and what he has to say about the altar. An in-depth look at the carvings one each frieze then follows with accompanying exam questions (8 and 15 markers). In the plenary students are encourage to envisage their own version of the Ara Pacis and what it would depict.
How significant and how accurate is Herodotus?Quick View
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How significant and how accurate is Herodotus?

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This lesson is designed as a stand alone lesson for students of any age 13+ who studies Herodotus. It acts as a great introduction, covering who he was, what he was writing and why he was writing it. The lesson begins with a series of images asking students to try and work out what the lesson will be about. In order to demonstrate progress the same images are used at the end in a plenary where students are encouraged to show how each image links to their learning. The lesson proper begins with a discussion of what ‘accuracy’ means based on students coming up with their own synonyms. Students are then introduced to who Herodotus was through a handout (included as a slide within the .ppt file) which has a literacy focus and some challenge questions attached. A short passage from Herodotus’ History is then included with students being encouraged to draw inferences from the passage (with prompt questions down the side to promote discussion). Students then address issues such as ‘how could Herodotus possibly know this happened’? etc. There is another handout (included as a slide) explaining the degree to which Herodotus is accurate and students plot Herodotus’ accuracy on a target (based on their own opinion, formulated throughout the lesson). A link to the TEDed video discussing Herodotus is also included with encouragement for students to add to their notes and then finally (before the plenary) there is a task where students have to agree or disagree with a ‘verdict’ given by a Historian on Herodotus’ accuracy/reliability.
AQA GCSE 9-1 Cold War (Conflict and tension 1945-1972) Information HandoutsQuick View
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AQA GCSE 9-1 Cold War (Conflict and tension 1945-1972) Information Handouts

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Contained within the .ppt file are 19 separate handouts which detail each important event in AQA’s ‘Conflict and Tension 1945-72’ History GCSE unit on the Cold War. Each handout focuses on causes of the event, the event itself, and its consequences within the context of the Cold War. These can be used as a support in lessons or as a revision aid. Each sheet also has one or two challenge/thinking questions which encourage students to engage with the information they are reading and form an opinion on the event one way or another, backed up by specific examples. Handouts are mixture of information and helpful images/sources which can also be used as a basis for discussion. These have proved particularly useful in my lessons when printed a5 size, stuck in the middle of a page in an exercise book and get highlighted and annotated by students as the lesson progresses. Being able to answer the challenge/think questions also gives students an instant sense of achievement.
Classical Myth & Religion: Introducing Greek and Roman ReligionQuick View
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Classical Myth & Religion: Introducing Greek and Roman Religion

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Designed with the new OCR Classical Civilisation 9-1 GCSE in mind. Students are introduced to Ancient religion in general and the concepts of Hiera & Religio and the contractual nature of worship in the ancient world. In addition to this there is an exercise for students that is designed to compare ancient worship to modern worship and draw out the similarities and differences. There is a wealth of information contained within. The presentation goes through first the Greek gods and then their Roman equivalents. Each of the god's/goddess' areas of patronage are outlined, as are details about their associated mythologies, stories of origin and iconography. An A3 sheet is included to print and photocopy for students to record details about each deity, first for Greece and then for Rome. Primary Sources and GCSE practice questions are included as are model answers which students can use to improve their own answers. A final assessment task is also included which has GCSE rigour and can be used to get an accurate understanding of student's understanding of the topic to GCSE standard. Throughout, all technical terms are explained in 'glossary boxes' and students are encouraged to make a note of these as the lessons progress to build up their own glossary of key terms. The lesson could be easily differentiated for KS3 pupils by cutting out the GCSE style questions and focusing instead on the stories of each god/goddess.
How did Cleopatra expand the Ptolemaic Empire? (+Intro to OCR Ancient History GCSE questions)Quick View
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How did Cleopatra expand the Ptolemaic Empire? (+Intro to OCR Ancient History GCSE questions)

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The lesson starts with a creative drawing competition starter activity familiarising students with what Alexandria would have looked like. Students are then presented with a timeline of events from Cleopatra’s life and asked to outline the 5 most significant events and explain their reasoning. This allows students with little prior knowledge of Cleopatra understand the significance of her life in a short activity. The focus of the lesson then moves onto lands she managed to secure from mark Antony and students are encouraged to come up with a memorable acronym to help them remember which lands she gained. Students are then introduced to the Donations of Alexandria and have to analyse its significance in relation to the first lands she managed to secure from Antony. Students are then given an extract from Plutarch’s ‘Life of Mark Antony’ and given two 5 mark OCR Ancient History GCSE questions to think about. Sentence starters are included to help them structure their work. After they have had a go they can look at the two model answers provided and use these to improve their own. Students finally are asked in the plenary to consider how she managed to be successful in expanding Egypt’s influence when her predecessors had failed in this regard.
What were Cleopatra's personality traits and how was she perceived by her own subjects?Quick View
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What were Cleopatra's personality traits and how was she perceived by her own subjects?

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This lesson contains numerous handouts with a literacy focus but also seeking at analysing whenever possible, the accuracy and reliability of the primary sources we have available to us, when discussing Cleopatra’s personality traits; namely her courage, humour and how she was perceived by her own subjects. The .ppt file contacins all handouts as slides ready to print and clear instructions as to what to do with each handout. Plutarch’s Life of Antony and Horace’s Odes are used to give us an insight into what she was like and the characteristics she needed to exhibit in order to be a successful queen of Egypt. Both of these primary sources are prescribed sources for the new 9-1 OCR Ancient History GCSE. There is also plenty of discussion included surrounding the accuracy and reliability of both sources and students are challenged at every turn to consider this and back their explanation up with evidence from the text. The lesson ends with a discussion on how she was perceived by her own subjects and students use the information they have gathered over the course of roughly 2 hours worth of work to create a letter from Cleopatra’s point of view to Antony, discussing proposals to raise taxes on grain. Through outlining her worries and advice she needs from Antony, students can demonstrate the nuances of how she was viewed by different parts of Egypt and the effect of her actions on the wider world i.e. Rome.
What do we know about the early life of Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt?Quick View
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What do we know about the early life of Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt?

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This lesson was designed for GCSE students as an introduction to Cleopatra and the likely features of her early life/ childhood. The lesson covers both her likely experiences but also the reasons for the lack of evidence available to us when examining her formative years. Scholarship from Weigall and Tydesley is included in various places with students asked to make inferences about her earliest experiences from the text. Challenge questions are included throughout to encourage deeper thinking and both worksheets are included as slides within the .ppt file in the appropriate places ready to be printed out. All instructions are clear to both students and staff and it is a very straightforward, yet informative, lesson to teach. A progress check activity in the middle of the lesson is included and the plenary at the end is more creative/cross-curricular in its focus. There are multiple opportunities throughout for students to consider how her earliest experiences may have shaped her future actions as queen, without necessary prior knowledge of the events of her reign required.
Who was Cleopatra and how much can we actually know about her?Quick View
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Who was Cleopatra and how much can we actually know about her?

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The lesson begins with students making inferences about Cleopatra based on a single representation of her from Hollywood. This helps us to pick apart the generic view of Cleopatra as a seductress/ tragic queen as the lesson progresses. There is a wealth of different secondary history within this lesson. It uses excerpts from Roller, Morgan and Weigall to introduce what she was like as a person (as far as we can know). The second part of the lesson focuses on the limitations of the ‘primary’ sources from the ancient world we have available to us. There is a comprehension task included with a literacy focus and some challenge questions for HA learners. The final part of the lesson then moves onto what Cleopatra’s world looked like geographically and some of the potential pitfalls that would befall her thanks to her father’s ‘up and down’ relationship with Rome, the growing superpower of the time vs Egypt, which was on the decline. The end of the lesson very much sets the teacher up to teach lessons on the events of her life and ensures that students have a sound understanding of what she was probably like vs how she has traditionally been portrayed (both in the ancient world and in the ‘modern’ media).
How did the Romans feel about 'foreigners'?Quick View
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How did the Romans feel about 'foreigners'?

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This lesson uses a range of primary and secondary sources to examine how Romans really felt about foreigners. The lesson starts with a look at definitions of ‘foreigner’ to us today vs what ‘foreign’ meant to the Romans and discussion can ensue about potential reasons behind this difference. Students are then provided with a worksheet (as a slide in the .ppt file ready to be printed out) where students examine evidence from the following sources: Juvenal Livy Watts (secondary) Cicero Tacitus Athenaeus Ulpian Beard (secondary) Students have to infer from passages of the authors’ own writing (all included) what the Romans believed about foreigners living in their city, but also examine Romans’ own identity as ‘foreigners’ themselves from the beginning of the city’s foundation. The progress check invites students to define Roman attitudes to ‘the other’ halfway through the lesson, but then revisit this answer at the end to see if their views have changed (they should be more nuanced by the end of the lesson). There are a series of questions at the end of the lesson designed to allow students to exhibit their understanding. HA students are challenged by being asked to consider how Romans perceived foreign rulers, using Cleopatra as an example. An SMSC plenary centring around whether the Romans are that much different than modern society (in terms of distrust of foreigners) using Brexit and Immigration controls as a parallel, rounds off the lesson.
How did Volero Publilius become Tribune of the Plebs and what reforms did he enact in 471 BC?Quick View
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How did Volero Publilius become Tribune of the Plebs and what reforms did he enact in 471 BC?

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This lesson is designed with OCR Ancient History 9-1 GCSE spec in mind. Although it fits snugly into any study of the Roman Republic and plays a pivotal role in the ‘Conflict of the Orders’; the struggle between the Patricians and the Plebeians in Ancient Rome as the plebs struggled to secure more rights, freedoms and controls from their Patrician counterparts. The lesson begins by studying a cartoon and trying to draw inferences about the story from it, after briefly looking at lictors and their job (since lictors play as big role in the first part of the story of Publilius’ ascencion to tribune of the Plebs). There is then a ‘gap fill’ exercise sheet to be printed off aimed at nailing key vocabulary. Brief audio files (edited and adapted from the free Ancient Rome Podcast The Partial Historians are included along with relevant questions for students to answer based on these audio clips (each roughly 5 minutes in length). It is important to note that the podcast is free and is available to download at https://partialhistorians.com/category/podcast/from-the-founding-of-the-city/ But the audio files are included for ease of use and obviously no copywright infringement is intended. I have found these podcasts really enjoyable and an invaluable resource as a teacher of this unit given the lack of available CPD and cannot recommend them highly enough :) I have also tried to point my students in their direction as a revision resource. There is then a brief discussion about the reliability of Dionysius and Livy’s accounts of Volero Publilius’ reforms and then a comprehension sheet which can be printed off (included within the relevant point in the lesson) which has a 6 mark exam question as a challenge at the end.
What military challenges did the Roman Republic face in its early years? Wars of IndependenceQuick View
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What military challenges did the Roman Republic face in its early years? Wars of Independence

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This lesson is designed with the new 9-1 GCSE Ancient History Spec in mind. It seeks to give students a clear understanding of the chronology of how Tarquinius Superbus tried to reconquer Rome after his family’s expulsion in 509 BC. The lesson focuses on three battles: The Battle of Silvia Arsia Lars Porsena’s invasion of Rome The Battle of Lake Regilius The lesson is also designed to make it clear who is fighting on which side in which battle (as this can be a little unclear) and key individuals have their own dedicated part of the lesson. maps of the area are also included so students can get a visual understanding of what happened and where. Storyboard tasks are mixed with exam questions to ensure students can prove their understanding of each battle. Students then finish with a discussion of which battle was the most significant and why. This powerpoint will probably span approximately 2+ hours depending upon the speed you work through it.
An introduction to the Roman Republic: A leap forward or baby steps?Quick View
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An introduction to the Roman Republic: A leap forward or baby steps?

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This lesson provides an overview of the key themes of the Roman Republican period. I designed it as an introduction for my GCSE Ancient History class to their chronological study of the Republican period. The lesson uses Livy as a primary source and Mary Beard as a secondary source to outline the main themes that crop up in a study of the Republic. The lesson uses both authors as a ‘way in’ to the era. The lesson seeks to draw out an understanding of: The conflict between the patricians and plebeians How the Romans saw the Republic favourably in comparison to the Regal (kings) period What the main political offices were in Republican Rome The extent to which we can trust what ancient writers tell us about the early and later Republic. Progress checks are included throughout to promote literacy - matching key words to abstract/non abstract images to exhibit understanding. A video link is also included in the plenary which outlines the main political offices of the time and how elections were conducted. This is very much an overview lesson for the time period which can stand alone or be used as an introduction to the Roman republic. I felt it was necessary to ‘set the scene’ for my students before doing so and this lesson does this really well.
Were the Plebeians better or worse off after the expulsion of the kings in the new Republic?Quick View
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Were the Plebeians better or worse off after the expulsion of the kings in the new Republic?

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The lesson begins with a reminder of why the Plebeians had been unhappy under Tarquinius Superbus and should have had a lot to look forward to under the new Republican regime. There is then a handout included within the .ppt file (as a slide to be printed out) defining the Plebeians and describing their daily lives, occupations and concerns. There are some literacy and comprehension based questions that go with this that students are to answer (along with a challenge question to stretch the more able). Students are then presented, in turn, with the 6 concerns of the Plebeian class under the new Republican regime and reasons for this dissatisfaction. Students then fill in a table (included) with details of the concern and why each one caused such resentment towards the patrician class. There is then discussion surrounding just how politically aware the plebeian class would have been in the 5th c. BC with trade links with Athens providing us with the scant evidence for this. There is then finally an SMSC plenary looking at questions surrounding what people can do when they are oppressed and how ‘people’ can change/ have changed their societies for the better. Students are then encouraged to link this to the Roman Plebeians in a discussion. This lesson acts as a ‘scene-setter’ for the ‘Conflict of the Orders’ and the resulting publishing of the Twelve Tables and other reforms the plebeians managed to secure from the patricians.
Who were Romulus and Remus and why were they so important?Quick View
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Who were Romulus and Remus and why were they so important?

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I created this lesson out of a feeling that often, in teaching Romulus and Remus, there is a distinct lack of proper history skills involved. This lesson is my attempt to create a lesson which imparts knowledge of the (genuinely intriguing) story of the twin founders of Rome, but also hints at the historical inaccuracies, the story’s mythical nature and cultural significance to the Romans themselves. This lesson is aimed at students 13-16 (although more able students who are younger can access it) in order to introduce them to: The story of Romulus and Remus (which they would need to know for their OCR Class Civ or Ancient History GCSE (9-1) Ancient Historians (specifically Livy who is mentioned throughout and a required for GCSE Ancient History - yet often difficult to access). Modern Historians (specifically Mary Beard) through her retelling of the story in SPQR which is quoted and attributed appropriately throughout (and sometimes adapted slightly for easier understanding). The Lesson starts with a series of images to see if students can guess what the lesson might be about. Some students might have more knowledge of the ancient world than others but whatever answers they come up with can become talking points. Attention moves to the geography/setting of the story and the story itself is then split up into 3 parts; beginning, middle and end. Each part includes an appropriate work sheet which are contained as slides within the .ppt file (in the right places within the presentation) which can be printed, photocopied and worked through. This can be done together as a class or individually. There is a challenge task (focusing on provenance/other versions) on each worksheet for the more able students. Worksheets involve summarising Mary Beard’s account of the Romulus and Remus story in images and words. There is a strong literacy focus throughout with students encouraged primarily to highlight words they don’t understand and annotate their sheet with definitions. There is also additional guidance in the ‘notes’ section of each slide to help you as you teach. The lesson finishes with students attempting to answer the question that is the lesson title using a quote from Romulus (via Livy) to help them to show how much progress they’ve made. Students are then given the same set of images they were given at the start of the lesson and invited to explain each one to show how much they have learnt.
How did the consulship develop during the early Republic?Quick View
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How did the consulship develop during the early Republic?

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This lesson has been designed with the OCR GCSE Ancient History course ( ‘Rome and its neighbours’) Period study in mind. The lesson begins with a drawing game where two consuls and a lictor are depicted and students are invited to infer this. Students are then presented with an image of Scipio Barbatus’ sarcophagus and invited to make inferences. Its importance in terms of it being the earliest archaeological record of a ‘consul’ is then discussed. This leads on to the ‘problem’ of the consulship in terms of when Romans say it developed vs what evidence we have for when it developed. Mary Beard’s take on the situation from SPQR is then included (slightly adapted for easier understanding) and this is finally followed by a handout on the main political offices of the early Republic with accompanying information. There are then some comprehension questions based on this handout for students to answer. The lesson finishes with students asked to match an image to their learning and the teacher can draw out explanations through these in order to check the progress of students.
How did the Senate develop during the early Republic?Quick View
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How did the Senate develop during the early Republic?

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This lesson is aimed at getting students to understand the difference between the Roman Senate of the Regal Period and the Senate of the Republican Era. Historical evidence is sketchy at best and students are made aware of this during the lesson. Students who are familiar with studying this period in Roman History (in GCSE Ancient History for example) will already be aware of the lack of evidence and also its unreliability. Students are introduced to Cesare Maccari’s ‘Cicero denouces Catiline’ fresco and are asked to make inferences about the Roman Senate from it. This establishes the stock view of the Roman Senate that most people are familiar with. It gives students an anchor point from which to begin learning about how the senate was different earlier in Rome’s history. There are then two handouts (both included as slides in the .ppt file at the relevant points) for printing out. Literacy and Comprehension questions follow based on these handouts. Students are then encouraged to summarise the difference between the senate under the Roman kings and the senate under the new Republic using this information. The lesson ends with exploratory questions surrounding the extent of the Senate’s power.
How did Brutus establish the Roman Republic after Superbus' exile?Quick View
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How did Brutus establish the Roman Republic after Superbus' exile?

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This lesson is designed with the new OCR Ancient History GCSE in mind. The lesson starter involves a memory drawing game that is meant to draw out the theme of exile (a Q&A can then ensue regarding Lucretia and the circumstances of Tarquin’s exile form Rome). A quote from Livy is then included with students encouraged to reflect on what it tells us about Brutus’ character (and how he was motivated -challenge). There is then a missing words exercise (one expected, one challenge) which introduces students to the story of how Superbus went about trying to keep hold of his property once exiled. Two 6 mark exam questions are included (with help on structure and content) which take 6 minutes each as per the ‘mark a minute’ nature of the GCSE exam. One is based on a passage from Livy that students are encouraged to summarise into 5 parts before they beign their answer. There are a number of handouts included within the .ppt file as slides which are located in the place within the lesson they need to be used and can be easily printed out from here and given to students. It is also clearly signposted within the lesson slides when each handout needs to be used and how. The lesson ends with a series of abstract images, with students having to link the images to what they have learnt in the lesson.