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Using the website in teaching

Where does this fit into the National Curriculum for history?

Finding out about life at court helps us to see the big difference between the lives of the rich and the poor in Tudor times.

Key Stage 2

Breadth Study: Unit 10: Britain and the wider world in Tudor times
QCA schemes of work:

  • Unit 7: Why did Henry VIII marry six times?
  • Unit 8: What were the differences between the lives of rich and poor people in Tudor times?
  • Unit 19: What were the effects of Tudor exploration?

The "Knowledge, Skills and Understanding" for KS2 are developed in the following ways:

  • Increase pupils' knowledge and understanding of events, people and changes in the past.
  • Require pupils to develop their organisation and communication skills.
  • The whole approach is one of historical enquiry.
Key Stage 3 (Year 8)

Breadth Study: Unit 9: Britain 1500–1750
QCA schemes of work:

  • Unit 5: Elizabeth I: How successfully did she tackle the problems of her reign? Section 1: Why was religion a life or death problem in Elizabethan England?
  • Unit 7: Images of an age: What can we learn from portraits, 1500–1750? Section 5: What portraits don't tell us.

What is the target age range?

"Britain and the wider world in Tudor times" may be studied at a range of ages in KS2, so the material has been broadly targeted at Years 4–7 (ages 8–11). It is also possible that teachers of KS3 Year 8 (ages 12–13) "Britain 1500–1750" may wish to use elements of the website as indicated above.

Our aims

  • To support and extend the range of topics that can be included in the KS2 History Study Unit 10 on Britain and the wider world in Tudor times.
  • To provide interesting, motivating and historically valid active learning experiences for children.
  • To show pupils that historical knowledge and understanding is based on the use of evidence, including documents and artefacts.
  • To show that historical sources have to be interrogated for meaning when pursuing an enquiry.
  • To build pupils' confidence in using ICT.

Summary of content and how to use it

This website presents a selection of different types of historical evidence for students to examine, such as artefacts, inventories and wills, letters, maps and books. Students can examine these objects and consider how they were made, what they were for and who might have created or used them. They can discover facts about the Tudor period, see how evidence can be used to build up an historical picture, and think about what can be learned this way about the interests, values and preoccupations of people during Tudor times.

At the core of the website are six enquiries in the form of interactive activities and games. Pupils can do these online (or you can use the same historical evidence offline in your classroom, available in the Resources section.)

Enquiry question Content
What was life like at the court of Henry VIII? Henry VIII and the rules governing his court; the Anne of Cleves portrait that launched a marriage
How did Tudor people have fun? Rural and urban leisure activities in Tudor England
Was there freedom of religion in Tudor England? Impact of Tudor religious policy on people's lives
What can you find out about Tudor life? The lives and homes of people at different levels of Tudor society, looking at inventories and artefacts
What countries did England trade with? England's 16th century foreign trade in luxury items
Joust! A game based on the rules and purpose of jousting, with a look at heraldry, champions and armour

In addition to these online enquiries, each section has supporting materials, such as further information on the topic, links to other websites, videos, and activities for use in the classroom. The classroom activities can be done online or printed out or downloaded for use. While the six enquiries are designed to be completed by the student unaided, the supporting materials are more suitable for classroom or group work with a teacher.

Using original documents and transcriptions

Throughout this website, we show extracts from original Tudor documents, each accompanied by a transcript of the document content. With the transcript to hand, it is possible for pupils to read the original. Alternatively, the inquiry tasks can be completed using the transcripts alone.

Because the original language is a form of English which pupils will not be familiar with, the transcripts that we provide have been changed in two stages. Firstly, we turned them into modern English. Then we simplified them to a level suitable for younger pupils. For example, the inventories are both abbreviated and explained for children. Explanations that were not part of the original document but have been added by us are indicated with square brackets []. If you want to know more about this process, see the Resources section.

In the majority of cases, the document image and the transcript match so that pupils can directly compare the transcript to the original. In a couple of instances, this is not the case. For example, the Ordinances of Eltham are 13 pages long and are very wordy. Instead of showing an exact match to the transcript we have just shown a short representative sample from the original document.

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