History Resource Cupboard – lessons and resources for schools

History Resource Cupboard - lessons and resources for schools

What has our national obsessions for tea, coffee and clothes got to do with an antique plate? (Why did Britain want an Empire?).

Queen Victoria PlateThe British Empire has made something of a comeback as an area to teach in the last ten years. One can debate all day long if Britain should be proud of her Empire or not.But the fact remains that Empire has left a huge imprint on our national psyche. This active and engaging enquiry skilfully engages with this.

The enquiry  starts by asking, why, as a nation are we so obsessed with for tea, coffee and cotton clothes?

After all we didn’t have these obsessions five hundred years ago. We then use a ‘reconstruction relay’ to find out about the commemorative plate.

The students then make inferences from the plate and from a stirring rendition of ‘Rule Britannia’, to understand what people were meant to believe about the British Empire. Next they  seek the advice from a historian.

This enquiry makes a wonderful introduction to a unit of work on Empire. The class can then go on a journey to different parts of the Empire to find out if the plate’s view is accurate before returning to create their own more balanced version. Keep a look out on Historyrescourcecupboard.com for more empire lessons.


Lesson includes:

  • Empire Plate Presentation (PowerPoint)
  • Empire Plate Write-up (PDF)
  • Resource 1 (PDF)
  • Resource 2 – (PDF)

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