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Critical Thinking, History and Comics?

Published on 24/01/14

With the skills to become active thinkers and learners embedded in the Junior School curriculum, the pupils quickly become immersed in lessons that go far beyond imparting content and instead develop decision making, encourage discussion and allow for creative thinking.
Take a recent year 5 (4th grade) lesson on the sinking of the Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s much loved flagship of his fleet.

Nobody is sure why the Mary Rose sank during the battle with the French in the Solent in 1545. Archaeologists, historians and marine experts are still debating the various theories so why not let a group of 10 year olds decide.

Firstly, the children were introduced to six of the most common theories which they discussed in groups. They were then presented with twelve pieces of evidence ranging from relatively recent newspaper articles to quotes from eyewitnesses at the time. Each theory was weighed up against the evidence to see which was the most supported. With a favourite theory beginning to emerge, it was time to throw in a curve ball and suggest that Henry VIII had covered up a French victory to save his pride, which certainly led to a heated discussion.

By the end of the lesson the children had formed their own theories and made them into comic strips.

Mary Rose (Y5) poster 1  Mary Rose (Y5) poster 3  Mary Rose (Y5) poster 2