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Having taught History across KS3, 4 and 5 for seventeen years within state education, I have built up quite an extensive set of resources! I’ve spent several years working as a head of department and also spent a year working as a university subject tutor for Schools Direct. I’m currently out of the classroom and supporting my own children through their secondary experience and keeping relevant by becoming an Edexcel examination marker this summer. Planning for fun and hopefully your benefit.

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Having taught History across KS3, 4 and 5 for seventeen years within state education, I have built up quite an extensive set of resources! I’ve spent several years working as a head of department and also spent a year working as a university subject tutor for Schools Direct. I’m currently out of the classroom and supporting my own children through their secondary experience and keeping relevant by becoming an Edexcel examination marker this summer. Planning for fun and hopefully your benefit.
Commonwealth involvement and treatment during WW2
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Commonwealth involvement and treatment during WW2

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This KS3 lesson should take at least one hour to complete. The Power Point leads students through all activities and accompanying resources are all included. Aims and Objectives: To know what the Commonwealth was/is. To know the type of work carried out by Commonwealth members during the war. To understand why Commonwealth members signed up. To reach a judgement on how well people from different races were treated during the war. Activities include a starter which defines the Commonwealth and asks students to memorise countries from a map against the clock before playing last man standing. A series of sources are then used to list the reasons why Commonwealth members signed up. There are three versions, including a simpler SEN version and a subsequent version which involves highlighting instead of writing. After watching the BBC newsreel “West Indies Calling” to note done the range of jobs carried out by members of the Commonwealth, we then analyse their treatment using a series of source cards. We test the hypothesis “Commonwealth members faced racism during WW2” by arranging them from agree to disagree. Consideration is also given as to whether relations improved. This leads into the final verdict on whether the BBC newsreel was being truthful about the treatment of Commonwealth members during the war.
Was Henry VIII a good or bad king?
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Was Henry VIII a good or bad king?

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This KS3 unit of work should take around four lessons to complete. It includes the assessment for the unit on the Tudors. The Power Point leads students through all of the activities with accompanying resources. Aims and Objectives: To learn some facts about Henry VIII and decide whether these make him a good or a bad king. To consider why we have different opinions about Henry VIII and how our sources aren’t completely reliable. To use (critically) a range of different types of sources to reach a reliable judgement on the key question. The first lesson introduces the idea of source reliability by drawing inferences from the Holbein portrait and then considering two source samples- one which supports and another which contradicts the painting. Students are asked to consider why they are different. We then study the six wives of Henry, completing a cut and stick activity (wife to fate) and begin to make our notes on whether he was a good or bad king. The second lesson covers the break with Rome and then a card sort, adding further information to our good v. bad table. The extension activity asks students to use a range of resources to add to their notes. I used our class textbooks but also informatioin that I took from BBC schools. This is also a good homework task at this stage as it can be completd using the Internet. The third lesson is where there students prepare for the assessment using a collection of eight sources. An SEN version of the source sheets is also included. The fourth lesson is the assessment write-up. The students are asked to use both the sources and their own knowledge to present a balanced argument before reaching a final judgement. A mark scheme is included.
What were the main events of WW2?
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What were the main events of WW2?

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This KS3 unit of work aims to contextualise the unit of study on WW2 by providing an overview of the key events. It should take between 1-2 hours to complete. I use it near the start of the course before focusing on certain events as depth studies. The Power Point leads students through all activities with all accompanying resources included. Aims and Objectives: To know the main events of WW2. To understand why certain events are of particular significance as turning points. To make a judgement on which events were the most important turning points. Activities include a fun competition starter which recaps on the causes of WW2. Students try to guess the words using a series of images (non historical- just sound right). Having defined a turning-point, students then use the detailed information booklet to make brief notes on the significance of each key event. Finally, they produce a paragraph answer explaining which event was the most significant and why.
The Nazi Police State
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The Nazi Police State

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IMPORTANT: One of the activities refers to the textbook "Edexcel GCSE (9-1) History: Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918-1939 (editor Leonard A. and published by Pearson) ISBN 9781292127347 and will not be usable without a copy of this text or one which explains the roles and functions of the various institutions of the Nazi police state. This Edexcel 9-1 GCSE unit covers around 2-3 lessons depending upon your class and their overall ability/work rate. Aims and Objectives: To understand the role of the Gestapo, the SS, the SD and concentration camps. To understand the Nazi control of the legal system, judges and law courts. To understand the Nazi policies towards the Catholic and Protestant Churches, including the Reich Church and the Concordat. The Power Point leads students through all activities with accompanying resources. Activities include a video starter on who controlled Germany and how, a research table on the role/function of each institution, source analysis on the ways in which they justified their activities, a 12 mark exam explanation question with advice, paired discussion on methods for ensjuring fair sentencing, thought-shower on Nazi control of the legal system, problem-solving starter using a range of symbols and images to compare Nazi and Christian values, analysing a written passage on the church looking for evidence of co-operation and oppression and a final summary revision diagram. The Power Point also contains answers and fedback at intervals.
WW1 Christmas Truce
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WW1 Christmas Truce

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This nice Christmas themed lesson has helped me to keep both SLT happy with its academic integrity and the students happy with a bit of Christmas cheer in that final week of term! We introduce the 1914 truce with the Sainsburys advert. The basic factual recall quiz afterwards is a nice chocolate winning opportunity. Students then cross-reference the advert’s idealised portrayal with a series of sources to reach a final judgement on how accurate the Sainsburys’ portrayal was. This is written up in the form of a response from the Advertising Standards Agency to a complaint about the advert not being accurate.
How do Catholic and Protestant views differ?
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How do Catholic and Protestant views differ?

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Before looking at the reigns of each Tudor monarch in KS3, I start with this lesson underlining the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism. It really helps with the understanding of each ruler’s actions later in the Tudor course. Aims and Objectives: To know how a Catholic and Protestant church look different. To know the main differences in beliefs between the two types of Christianity. To understand why Catholics and Protestants practised their faith differently and why they both felt so strongly about this. After a short parody video on the Reformation, we start by comparing and analysing the diagrams of a Catholic and Protestant church. Students then complete the colour-code activity setting out the different beliefs. There’s an SEN version of the colour-coding which I replace the longer version with when teaching nurture groups. Students then demonstrate their understanding by creating a poster supporting one of the denominations. This is generally set as homework and as a competition. The plenary asks students to identify whether a range of beliefs are Catholic or Protestant using the “C/P” cards to ensure they all have to get involved.
What caused the English Civil War?
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What caused the English Civil War?

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This KS3 unit should take around two hours to complete. The Power Point leads students through all of the activities with support and all resources referred to are included. Aims and Objectives: To know the main events which led up to the outbreak of civil war in 1642. To pick out the key reasons/causes and sort these into categories. To explain your understanding of the causes in an essay using PEEL. To reach a judgement on which causes were the most/least important. Activities include a starter which links this unit to current civil wars and defines “civil war”, an analysis of Charles I’s personality using a portrait and facts determining how this contributed towards the conflict, searching for evidence to support the three key factors of money/religion/power in a written passage (SEN version of passage provided), an introduction and worked example of PEEL paragraphing, an assessment essay aalysing causes with a plan and SEN writing frame (mark scheme inlcuded).
Fleming, Florey and Chain and the Development of Penicillin
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Fleming, Florey and Chain and the Development of Penicillin

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IMPORTANT: Some of these worksheets refer to the textbook “Edexcel GCSE (9-1) History, Medicine through time, c1250-present” (editor Leonard A. and published by Pearson) ISBN 9781292127378 and will not be usable without a copy of this text. This Edexcel 9-1 GCSE unit covers around one lesson depending upon your class and their overall ability/work rate. Aims and Objectives: To learn about Fleming, Florey and Chain’s development of penicillin. The Power Point leads students through all activities with an accompanying worksheet. It also provides answers/feedback at intervals. Activities include an introductory overview video clip with questions, analysis and colour-coding of reasons for development of Penicillin, a comparison of Fleming v. Florey and Chain and judgement upon their relative achievements and a thought-shower on continuing developments.
How effectively did Elizabeth I rule England?
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How effectively did Elizabeth I rule England?

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This KS3 lesson asks students to evaluate the reasons for Elizabeth I’s successful reign. It will take two lessons to complete. The Power Point leads students through all activities with accompanying resources. Aims and Objectives: To know what type of person Elizabeth was- her personality and skills. To understand what problems she faced and how she tackled them. To assess how well she dealt with these problems. After a quick starter using the Armada portrait, students use a collection of sources to learn about Elizabeth’s personality. They then analyse why these aspects made her a successful monarch. We then focus on three key problems and her handling of each of them; Mary Queen of Scots, the Spanish and religion. There are three information sheets on each of these topics. Students complete a summary table explaining how she responded and how successful this was. An SEN cloze version is included (which I’ve also used if short of time- I’ve also divided the class into three and given each group one topic for the same reason). Students finally show their understanding of Elizabeth’s reign through writing a eulogy. This can be set as a homework task.
Oliver Cromwell: Hero or Villain?
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Oliver Cromwell: Hero or Villain?

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This KS3 unit of work should take around 3 lessons to complete. The Power Point leads students through all activities with accompanying resources included. Aims and Objectives: To know the key facts about Oliver Cromwell- who he was and what he did. To use sources critically to learn more about opinions on Oliver Cromwell. To use our evidence to reach a balanced judgement on whether he was a hero or a villain. Activities include a starter which uses the Monty Python Oliver Cromwell song to recall key facts. Students are then unknowingly issued with a set of either positive or negative sources to create a quick thought-shower and feedback before exploring the reasons why their ideas about Cromwell are so different. We then colour-code Cromwell’s actions into “hero” and “villain” before analysing a range of sources to consider whether they show him in a positive or negative light and how far we trust them. Students then complete an assessed piece of writing, using these sources and their knowledge to answer the key question “Oliver Cromwell: Hero or Villain?”. A writing frame is including, along with a mark scheme which assesses their knowledge/understanding, use of sources and judgement.
The early challenges to the Weimar Republic, 1919-23
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The early challenges to the Weimar Republic, 1919-23

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IMPORTANT: Some of the activities refer to the textbook "Edexcel GCSE (9-1) History: Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918-1939 (editor Leonard A. and published by Pearson) ISBN 9781292127347 and will not be usable without a copy of this text. This Edexcel 9-1 GCSE unit covers around 3-4 lessons depending upon your class and their overall ability/work rate. Aims and Objectives: To understand the reasons for the early unpopularity of the Republic, including the “stab in the back” theory and the key terms of the Treaty of Versailles. To understand the challenges to the Republic from Left and Right: Spartacists, Freikorps, the Kapp Putsch. To understand the challenges of 1923: hyperinflation; the reasons for, and effects of, the French occupation of the Ruhr. The Power Point leads students through all activities with accompanying worksheets. These include a presentation on the context and terms of the Treaty of Versailles which asks students to consider why these angered the German people, a summary table of reasons why the treaty angered Germans and a 12 mark explanation question on this issue with advice and examples. There is also a homework which asks students to cross-reference a source with their own knowledge to prepare them for future work on interpretations. The Kapp Putsch is introduced through two sources and a problem solving starter. The concept of right and left-wing politics is explored before a summary table of the Spartacist and Kapp uprisings is completed. A card sort is used to explore the concept of hyperinflation and a video activity asks students to summarise causes, events and consequences of the occupation of the Ruhr. There is also another optional 12 mark question on this topic.
The Great Fire of London, 1666
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The Great Fire of London, 1666

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This KS3 lesson should take at least one hour. The Power Point leads students through all activities with accompanying resources included. Aims and Objectives: To know the main events of the Great Fire of London. To figure out what caused it, why it spread so quickly and who/what was to blame. To understand how it changed London forever and decide overall if it was a good or bad thing for the city. Activities include a question formation/answer starter whereby students form their own who, what, why, where, when and how questions and then see how many they can answer using the short video. We then sort the cause cards into evidence that the fire was intentional/a plot vs. an accident. We then move on to consider the effects by comparing a picture of London before and after the fire. Having gone though some facts on the extent of the improvements made to the city, students write a paragraph answer deciding whether, on balance, the Great Fire of London was a good or bad thing.
How Britain changed 1750-1900 (3 lessons)
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How Britain changed 1750-1900 (3 lessons)

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Three one-hour lessons with all activities explained on Power Point. The focus is on continuity and change between 1750-1900. Once students understand the basic changes which took place during the Industrial Revolution, they carry out more detailed research and analysis using the information provided. They also develop their knowledge of key terms for this unit via a homework and key terms test. The lessons end with an assessed piece of writing analysing areas of change and continuity (writing frame and mark sheet included)
The Murder of Thomas Becket: Who was to blame?
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The Murder of Thomas Becket: Who was to blame?

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This KS3 lesson should take at least two hours to complete. The Power Point leads the students through all activities with accompanying resources. Aims and Objectives: To know the main events leading up to Becket’s murder. To have ideas about who was to blame and why? LESSON 1: Activities include a recap on the feudal system and a discussion on how the role of the Church could cause problems for the king. A whole class reading of the story with initial thoughts on blame. An analysis of Edward Grim’s first-hand account and source bias. A storyboard homework to consolidate the key events. LESSON 2: A starter which recaps the main events through matching pictures to sentences. A card sort where students group information into evidence that either Henry, Becket or the knights were to blame. A final write up with writing frame provided where students explain how each person/group might be to blame before reaching a conclusion.
What was it like to be a young person in Nazi Germany?
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What was it like to be a young person in Nazi Germany?

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This KS3 lesson should take around one hour to complete. The Power Point leads students through all activities and all accompanying resources are included. Aims and Objectives: To know what Hitler’s aims were for young people in Germany. To know the methods that’s the Nazis used to indoctrinate/control young people. To use sources to reach a verdict on how successful the Nazis were in controlling young people. Activities include a starter which asks students to translate Hitler’s aims into an illustration of the ideal Nazi boy and girl (using symbols). A series of sources with questions are then used to investigate various elements of life in Germany from the Hitler Youth, to education and resistance groups. An SEN version of this exercise is also included. Finally, students write a paragraph answer/verdict on how effective the Nazis were in controlling young people.
The Plains Indians: their beliefs and way of life
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The Plains Indians: their beliefs and way of life

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IMPORTANT: Many of these activities refer to the textbook “Edexcel GCSE (9-1) History, The American West, c1835-c1895” (editor Leonard A. and published by Pearson) ISBN 9781292127309 and will not be usable without a copy of this text. This Edexcel 9-1 GCSE unit covers around 3 lessons depending upon your class and their overall ability/work rate. Aims and Objectives: Specification area: The early settlement of the West, c.1835-1862 To understand the Plains Indian’s social and tribal structures, ways of life and means of survival on the Plains. To understand the Plains Indian’s beliefs about land and nature and attitudes towards war and property. The Power Point leads students through all activities with accompanying resources. It also provides feedback/answers at intervals and advice on exam approach. Activities include independent note-taking, card sorting, group discussion, timelines and a narrative account question “Write a narrative account analysing the ways in which the US government policy towards the Plains Indians developed in the period 1835-51.”
The Stuarts and Witchcraft
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The Stuarts and Witchcraft

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This KS3 unit should take around two lessons to complete. The Power Point leads students through all activities with accompanying resources. Aims and Objectives: To know why the Stuarts and King James I were so obsessed with witchcraft. To know how witches were spotted and tested. To decide how fair these trials were. To balance our view of the Stuarts by considering their scientific advances. The first lesson starts with a mystery image of the trial of Mary Sutton by water. We then examine King James’ theories surrounding witchcraft and consider how the Stuarts’ obsession also linked in with the religious tensions of the time. Students read the passage on the famous Pendle Witch Trial and answer the comprehension questions. There are a lot of individuals involved in this event, so I generally work through it with them. They link King James’ witch spotting techniques to complete a grid determining how many of these criteria are met by each of the suspects. Students then make their on verdict using their grids which will tend to by “guilty”. However, when questioned, most students are already questioning thee methods and feel they were not guilty. The second lesson introduces Matthew Hopkins and the idea of witchfinding. The Horrible Histories witchfinder advert brilliantly demonstrates how ludicrous this process was. The students then complete a piece of writing whereby they go back in time and defend those who were accused of witchcraft using modern-day understanding. We end the unit by balancing out the Stuarts’ superstition with some work on their scientific advances. This worksheet can also be set as a homework.
WW1 Propaganda
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WW1 Propaganda

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This KS3 lesson introduces the concept of propaganda and censorship. The Power Point leads students through all of the activities with accompanying worksheets. The famous Lord Kitchener poster is used to introduce the methods used in propaganda. Students define propaganda and censorship before thought-showering types and availability in WW1. In small groups they freeze-frame a range of propaganda images and discuss their messages/methods. With livelier classes at the end of the day, I’ve sometimes gone straight onto the worksheet analysis and left this part out though. Students then make their own propaganda posters using the techniques they have learnt. I use this as a competition and display. This will either take one lesson and a homework or two lessons.
Nelson Mandela and the Fight against Apartheid
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Nelson Mandela and the Fight against Apartheid

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This KS3 unit will take at least two lessons to complete. The Power Points lead students through all activities with accompanying resources included. LESSON 1: Aims and Objectives: To be able to define apartheid. To understand how and why apartheid existed. To be able to explain how apartheid affected people in South Africa. LESSON 2: Aims and Objectives: To know some facts about his life. To understand how Mandela’s life was linked to apartheid. To reach a judgement on whether Mandela’s campaign was more peaceful or violent. LESSON 1: Activities include a role play starter whereby students enter the room according to eye colour and are treated differently. They are asked how this made them feel. Key terms for this unit are then linked to their definitions. A short video is used to answer students’ who, what, why, where, when and how questions on Apartheid. Students then read through the fact cards and pull out those which are untrue. The remaining facts are sorted from the most to the least oppressive. Finally, students write a paragraph summarising what they have learned so far. LESSON 2: Having watched a 4 minute biography, students complete a cloze exercise on Mandela’s life. Using a Mandela quote, they consider what method he claims to have used to end Apartheid (co-operation with enemy). Students then use the timeline to find evidence to test his claim that he worked with his enemies, rather than fought against them. They end the lesson with a paragraph answer to this debate.
The Tudors (whole unit)
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The Tudors (whole unit)

5 Resources
This KS3 unit of work should take approximately nine lessons depending upon your classes overall ability, work rate and how many activities you decide to set as homework. All activities are explained in the Power Points and all necessary resources are included. Please see individual lessons for a detailed breakdown of activities. The unit focuses on religious change which leads students nicely onto the Stuarts and the English civil war. After the initial overview lesson, I focus on individual monarchs, covering the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. The main assessment for this unit is the source study on whether Henry was a good or bad king.