Why was there an increase in fear of witchcraft in the 17th Century?

These great resources looks at why people believed in witches and why there was an increase in the number of witch hunts in the 17th century? These resources are beautifully designed and differentiated and a must have anyone studying this controversial period of history.

When you purchase this resource you will be able to download a four page Microsoft Word Document and an accompanying seventeen slide PowerPoint which include information, sources, links to video clips, starters, plenaries, questions and differentiated tasks and activities. The lesson begins with a choice of starters including a snowballing activity of the key words, a buzz and go squares activity or a source analysis of witches selling their souls in return for magical powers. It then moves on to explain why peopled believed in witches and the social, political and economic reasons for an increase in suspicion and fear which helped to fuel am increase in witch hunts during this period. The lesson looks at how witches were identified and which groups of people were unfairly persecuted and used a scapegoat for problems at the time.

Both resources include a range of different questions and activities which can be printed off and used with your students. The PowerPoint includes further differentiation and support for students. These tasks and activities source analysis questions as well as a thinking skills review activity to extend the more able which could be used in tandem with a heads and tails activity for the less able. The lesson rounds off with an optional extended question. If you like this lesson then you might be interested in buying the follow up lesson on how fair were which trials.

The aims and objectives for this lesson are:

  • Know: Why did people believe in witches in the 16th and 17th Centuries?
  • Understand: Why did people hunt for witches?
  • Evaluate: Why were certain people persecuted?
  • Skills: Source Analysis, Cause, Consequence & Collaboration

WILF – What Am I Looking For?

  • Identify & describe: Why people believed in witches in the 16th and 17th Centuries.
  • Explain: Why there was an increase in the number of witch hunts?
  • Analyse: Why were certain people persecuted?

If you like this resource then why not check out my other resources on this topic in my TES shop. You can also follow ‘The History Academy’ on Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube and Facebook for the latest updates or even to get in touch and chat about how you have used this resource or to ask questions. We aim to produce cheap and affordable resources for either the price of a good cup of coffee or a happy meal so that you can spend more time doing the things that you want.

Anyway, have fun and stay in touch via social media for the latest updates.

Kind Regards


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  • Why-did-people-believe-in-Witches-2018.docx

About this resource


Created: Mar 29, 2018

Updated: Feb 18, 2019


pptx, 1 MB



JPG, 272 KB



JPG, 144 KB


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