History Resource Cupboard – lessons and resources for schools

History Resource Cupboard - lessons and resources for schools

Was King John really a nasty, selfish and terrible King?

John picThis investigation shows your students not judge a person’s reputation before knowing more about the context in which they lived. It is rooted in decision making, high level talk and involves no writing.

First you will engage your class with a simple ‘spot the difference’ activity between two contemporary images. What do they suggest about the artists view of each Monarch?

Next you ask whether John deserves his reputation as a nasty, selfish and terrible King. You give your charges a set of reputation cards. Can they decide which card they think support his reputation?

At this point you will introduce ‘information flashes’ which provide the context to much of the evidence they have looked at. Are the less certain about his reputation? Will they change their minds?

The enquiry ends with a meaningful discussion – having done some great thinking the youngsters should be able to back their arguments up with clear and precise evidence. This is a really thoughtful and engaging lesson and goes hand in hand with our Richard The Lionheart enquiry.


The enquiry includes:

  • King John presentation (PDF)
  • Enquiry write up (PDF)
  • Resource 1(PDF)
  • Resource 2 (PDF)
  • Resource 3(PDF)

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