Dreaming of enquiry questions…

Does anyone else dream of enquiry questions? I sadly do. A fabulous enquiry question is the key to a great history lesson – something that grabs the attention and makes you want to know more.


I really like my subject. I read around quite a bit, I go to public lectures and I visit heritage sites (I’m not trying to brag, I’m a nerd) and this gets me thinking. In fact I very sadly dream of enquiry questions.


For example reading Jenny Uglow’s brilliant Lunar Men I thought about this being an ace lesson as an introduction to the 19th century and came up with the question “How did the Lunar Men embody the spirit of the age?” Have I planned this into a lesson? Nope. Why not? Well three things come to mind:

1. Time

2. It doesn’t fit anywhere near our current schemes of work

3. I can’t work out how to plan it


This isn’t a one off either. Over the years I’ve amassed a few questions with similar reasons for them not turning into a lesson. This blog is possibly the only time they will get an airing but I feel it’s time.


Dream Enquiry Questions


  • Why did Dr Alwyn Ruddock burn her research into John Cabot?

  • How did the Lunar Men embody the spirit of the age?

  • What does the jade terrapin tell us about the Mughals?

  • Was Sam Cooke right that ‘a change was gonna come’?

  • Was there a renaissance in the twelfth century?

  • Why was Lawrence in Arabia?

  • Why is Napoleon, a dictator, still revered in France?

  • Is Dickens right that “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” in the late 19th century

  • Is Beowulf an accurate reflection of the Anglo Saxons?


p.s. A few of these I’ve tweaked from questions raised in books / lectures etc. e.g. the Ruddock question is essentially a tweaked version of Dr Evans work.