Year 4 History Detectives!

Year 4 travelled back in time to the Anglo-Saxon period for a day of fun and focused activities to augment their History topic. As History Detectives, the day’s activities were based on the higher-order thinking question of not ‘what’ but ‘How do we know about the Anglo-Saxons?’

The sessions:

  • Who were they?  Creating a human timeline to travel back in time. When and why did the Anglo-Saxons come over to England?
  • Scribe! Understanding that the Anglo-Saxon language is the distant forebear of our own Modern English. Exploring manuscripts and who wrote them, and creating our own illuminated letters.
  • Arts and Crafts  Investigating archaeological evidence of Anglo-Saxon art and craft; understanding the importance of symbol and status in jewellery and creating our own composite brooches for a wealthy noble.
  • Did they have money?  Learning about the development of Anglo-Saxon coinage. What can we learn from a coin? Did they ‘buy’ things in other ways? Making our own belt-purses to carry the coins we ‘minted’ ourselves.
  • How do we know what they wore? Recreating a burial, then ‘discovering’ the remains 1500 years later. What can we learn from the type and location of the artefacts?  What are we sure of and what are we assuming? What other historical sources do we have to fill the gaps? Creating our own collaged Anglo-Saxons from the evidence.
  • Oral tradition: Hearing Beowulf performed in the original Old English’ – the earliest example of literature in the vernacular. Improvising and freeze-framing the evening of Grendel’s first attack on the Geats in Heorot.

Phew! The children rose to the challenge admirably and had great fun being archaeologists, detectives and Anglo-Saxons throughout the day!

Rosemary Bewley
Year 4

15 February 2019
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