What is the big story of the last 1000 years? (lesson idea)

We’ve got about six lessons left with Year 9 and we’ve finished our schemes of work so as a department we are all trialling different lessons teaching the big picture of all the content we have covered in the last three years.

I’ll post the few I am planning but the lesson below is one I did today that had great outcomes and looked at the question ‘What is the big story of the last 1000 years?’


STARTER: What do you remember about the last three years?

On the PPT was a simple guide to the topics we have studied. In pairs and fours they discussed what they could remember or lack of.



Task 1: Knowledge carousel

On each desk place one event or person or period that we you have studied in the last three years. The cards can be downloaded here (Cards). Students then got out of their desks and visited as many cards as they could in 5 minutes. At each they had to write down anything they remembered. I also walked around and wrote scaffolded questions on those cards that they struggled with, e.g. on the English Civil War card I wrote “who was fighting who?” This jogged their memories and collectively they remembered most of the salient points about each event.

Task 2: Order

Each child was then told to grab one card. In the corridor they arranged themselves chronologically – this took ages! As a teacher I then narrated the story going through each card one by one. These cards were then left in order at the front of the room. You could peg them to a washing line but it appears I only have 15 pegs.

Task 3: Discussion

Back in their pairs and fours I gave them five minutes to discuss the following:

What themes emerge from this story? What is changing when? When does the pace of change get quicker or slower? Is there a turning point? Are there multiple stories?

This is crucial to pull out the key points. I wrote the best ideas on the board.

Task 4: Writing

I then returned to the enquiry question and got them to answer the question in any way they wanted.


The outcomes from all the students were good. But a few really stood out:










One thought on “What is the big story of the last 1000 years? (lesson idea)

  1. Pingback: Hot air balloon disaster - lesson idea - Radical History

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