History Resource Cupboard – lessons and resources for schools

History Resource Cupboard - lessons and resources for schools

Why did Britain and China go to war in 1840?

PoppyFrom Kowtow to Kapow! – Why did Britain and China go to war in 1840?

The first so called ‘Opium War’ unlocks some dark secrets about our past, making for great causation and interpretations work. This lesson also provides an excellent assessment opportunity with clear mark-scheme.

The enquiry begins with a sea battle, and then asks how three well known objects and a flower could have played a part in starting this war between Britain and China.

Your class are asked to unlock the message of a famous Gilray cartoon to help understand how both the British and Chinese let their prejudices blur their judgement.

They go on to work out the different causes of the opium war including drug trafficking on a national scale, drug addiction and bribery by making their own set of causation cards.

Next individuals or pairs process, sort and classify different reasons to depend their understanding.

Two historians with opposing views are then introduced. Can the class explain which one they most agree with and why?

An unsupported end task makes an excellent end task and assessment opportunity – we provide a mark to help you pin point exactly where your students are in their historical thinking.

Download lesson

  • Lesson presentation: PDF
  • Lesson write-up: PDF
  • Cards: PDF
  • Resource 1: PDF
  • Resource 2: PDF
  • Resource 3: PDF
  • Resource 4: PDF
  • Unsupported assessment: PDF
  • Unsupported assessment mark-scheme

Price: £12.99

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