History Resource Cupboard – lessons and resources for schools

History Resource Cupboard - lessons and resources for schools

How to get the most out of the Edexcel Modern World Depth Study: Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918-39

Edexcel history GCSELots of thinking has gone into planning and resourcing this Modern World Depth Study.

The rationale behind this comes straight from successful classroom practice.

The entire course has been structured around 10 core principles designed to approach 2016 GCSE  lessons. Also, the enquiries have been designed to focus the course of the teaching of interpretations.

This Edexcel  Germany SOW with fully resourced lesson enquiries has been designed to increase engagement and motivation. The lessons have been structured to make long, medium and short term planning easier.

The SOW (free to download at the bottom of this page) provides access and challenge to all students across the ability range. The enquiries encourage reading, clever source analysis and build on best practice in the teaching of historical interpretations. This SOW will also help you make history meaningful to your students and it will make assessment workable and useful.

Engagement and Motivation

When curiosity and fascination are caught, learning accelerates.

All students, especially lower attainers need to be engaged if they are to sustain the effort needed to embrace complex concepts and recall important detailed knowledge.

The use of the personal story is a powerful tool which brings history to life and makes students care about the past. In this Edexcel Weimar Germany  Modern World Depth Study you hear from the famous and not so famous.

  • You will meet  anti-Nazi  Sebastian Haffner and work out why he thought 1923 was such a terrible year for Germany.
  • You will hear from a number of different ordinary Germans who will tell you why they didn’t vote for the Nazis between 1924-29, and what they thought about the Nazi aims and objectives in 1933/34.
  • Henry Metlemann will introduce your students to what it was like to be young in Nazi Germany.
  • Your class will take the role of one of ten different anti Nazis to find out how each one protested against the regime.

Using a particular place is also motivating to students as it makes history real. The enquiry on control starts in the Bavarian town of Augsburg. Can your class work out why less and less people over time were heard criticising the Nazi regime whilst in pubs and bars?

Making Planning easier

This Weimar and Nazi Germany  SOW has been planned to  ensure that all of the content from the specification is covered.

Lots of thinking has gone into each of the 23 enquiry questions that have used to plan the course. They are vital to shape each different learning journey go in the direction it goes in.

This Modern World Depth study follows the assessment focus given by Edexcel for this particular unit. The specification states that:

‘Students will be assessed on all four Assessment Objectives. All questions may relate to any content specified in the four key topics.

Questions focusing solely on knowledge and understanding will target causation.

Other questions will target the ability to analyse and evaluate contemporary sources and later interpretations. Students should be aware that interpretations are based on evidence from their period of study. They should be aware of a range of evidence that can be used to reach conclusions. They should study examples of such evidence and consider ways in which it could give rise to and support different interpretations. Students should understand a range of reasons why interpretations may differ. They should be aware that differences based on conclusions drawn from evidence are legitimate and can be explained. They should be able to evaluate given interpretations using their own knowledge of the period.’

Once the engaging start has hooked students in, the carefully planned sequence of steps are used to gather the evidence needed to answer the big question.

Nearly every enquiry concludes with a worthwhile and significant outcome. This end product pulls the learning together and allows students to join up their thinking.

ScatteringThis Edexcel history GCSE course models the types of exam questions that are assessed in this Modern Word Depth Study. They are scattered throughout the course. However, teachers should be wary to overuse them as this would make lessons ‘death by exam question.’ Here they are used pragmatically.

The end products are  purposely varied and make history meaningful.

Access and Challenge

It is clear that the  9-1 GCSE courses are more challenging than ever. More content needs to be recalled and the exam questions appear to be harder than before.

What with E:BACC and the Progress 8 measures, more students than ever are being asked to study history. This has to be a good thing. However, if a GCSE course is too difficult this could have a negative impact on motivation and behaviour for some individuals.

This new GCSE enquiry led  course has been planned with this in mind.  images, sorting activities, two way graphs, ripple and Venn diagrams are all used to ensure that work is accessible and challenging to all.

Modelling is key to success in history. Teachers should aim to ensure that the students know the secrets of success and can see what this looks like.

Having carefully thought out end tasks that use the information from the previous steps is key to ensure that learning is fun yet rigorous.

We start with an overview of the entire course.

It is recommended that you build revision into your course from the start. This blog post will give you some ideas.

Encouraging source analysis and reading

This SOW encourages students to read for  a purpose. That is why many of the activities focus on reading. There are also many opportunities to evaluate sources too.

Teaching Historical interpretations

Interps 2It is pleasing to see  that there is more emphasis on the teaching of interpretations in the 9-1 GCSE.  For advice and ideas on how to approach the teaching of this second order concept read this short article. For advice on why its important read this article. For advice on how to approach the teaching of interpretations at Key Stage 3 read this post.

This unit assesses historical interpretations. Many of the enquiries support this, some explicitly working with exam style questions. Other interpretations are woven into the lessons to show how history is constructed.

In the study of Germany in 1923 your students will unpick two different interpretations about the impact of hyperinflation. Once your class has worked out Why Hitler became Chancellor, they will decide which interpretation best explains Hitler’s appeal to the German electorate. When finding out about the influence of the Gestapo your students will unpick two more interpretations.

Making assessment workable and useful

Schools are obsessed with generating data to track progress. Fact.

Teachers are asked to predict grades and comment on progress.  In reality this is difficult because in a terminal exam students are required to answer lots of different style questions. The final grade they are given takes into account how they have performed the entire course.

Teachers need to be able to drill down and see how students perform on individual exam questions. This SOW allows you to do this. It builds to answering examination questions and model how students should approach them. This is good practice.

Sometimes you should allow your students to answer an examination question cold – give them no support but just see how they can do. Th is will generate some important data for you.

The stepped approach to the enquiries will allow you to check learning. Mini plenarys are used for this reason.

It is recommended that you should only really mark the end products in detail providing targets for improvement and high lighting where the student did well. Do not spend hours marking the work in the build up to the final task.

It is important for departments to agree which of the many  end products used across the course they will mark diagnostically. Subject leaders need to generate reliable data which can be used to track progress across the department. If time allows student work should be moderated and discussed in a departmental meeting.

How much detailed marking should you do? A fair guide is to mark one or two of end products every six weeks with diagnostic comments. Build in opportunities for peer and self marking for some of the other work. Students need to trained to mark their own work.  All of this will help keep workload manageable.

The carefully crafted end products provide assessment opportunities that also allow your students to show you how well they are doing. How well have they grasped the key concepts? How accurate is their deployment of the substantive knowledge they deploy to support their arguments?

This kind of information informs the teacher and enriches discussions around which students may need more support with explanatory writing? Which topics may need to covered again? Whether or not the sequence of lessons leading up to the end product motivated the students and armed them with the skills and knowledge needed to tackle the final task.

These are the kinds of things that make assessment useful.

Download the SOW here.

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