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Enquiry

We have been busy becoming questioning historians in our History lessons.  We worked in groups to follow the enquiry process and used our skills to explore evidence found by archaeologists and then built our own hypotheses about what the evidence might tell us.  We were given different sources and clues about the mystery of twelve huge mounds.  Some of us thought the mounds might be covering ancient Anglo-Saxon shelters.  We then examined some more clues and discovered that they were actually Anglo-Saxon burial mounds.  The largest mound contained the imprint of a boat which contained lots of Anglo-Saxon treasures.  Some of our hypotheses included:

 

  • “The mounds might have been where they worshipped their Gods, before they converted to Christianity.”
  • “I think it looks like the shape of a wooden long boat like they used.”
  • “It must have been someone rich with all those treasures.”
  • “It might have been an Anglo-Saxon chief who needs the treasures with him.”
  • “It’s like the Egyptians- they buried their dead with treasures too!”

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We were given different sources of evidence which were connected to our new History topic.  Using the sources we had to dig deep and try to build historically valid hypotheses about which period of History it was and what clues the source contained.  Many of us quickly worked out it was the Ancient Greeks and we had some super hypotheses:

* "I think it is a building in Athens because it looked like the columns they used in their buildings."

* "I think this was their parliament because they invented democracy."

* "They  must have worshipped many Gods."

* "Their Gods were important to them if they made a sacrifice for them."

* "I think it shows a Grand Temple and it is high up on the hill to be closer to the Gods."

Were the Anglo-Saxon times really 'Dark ages?'

We first of all thought about why the Anglo-Saxon period is referred to as the 'dark ages'.  We considered lots of different reasons about what this could mean.  Some of our super suggestions included:

  • the brutal punishments that were used for people who broke the law
  • the fact that children were expected to work from a young age
  • that things that the Romans had built fell to ruin
  • all the fighting that was taking place between different groups and tribes.

 

We learned that it is often called the 'dark age' because there is very limited evidence of what went on during that time, so we are 'in the dark'.  

 

We then worked in small groups to place some different and contrasting interpretations of this period of History onto a 'darkness' spectrum.  It helped us to consider whether it was fair to call this period of History the 'dark age'.

Diving deeper and debating a historical question.  Is it fair to call the Anglo-Saxon times the 'Dark Ages'?

Using Enquiry maps 

We began our new History topic with a picture source.  We had no idea what our new period of study was, so we had to use clues in the picture to make inferences.  We used our enquiry skills to make some super hypotheses.  Joe thought the cliffs in the background could be the White Cliffs of Dover and he thought this made sense as the people attacking could have come from across the Channel!  A few of us thought the invaders could be Vikings.  We had lots of further questions about the picture, such as 'Why do the shields they are carrying have different patterns on them?'.

Today we used our enquiry skills to solve the mystery of the real reasons why Anglo-Saxons invaded Britain.  We had to use clues and evidence to work out reasons that would be likely or unlikely.  We discovered that there were several reasons why they invaded and we then decided if these reasons were push or pull factors.  

For instance, a pull factor was that they were interested in the metals available in Britain. A push factor was the flooding in their homelands that had ruined their crops.

We then watched and evaluated two different video clips about why they invaded to decide which video clip was more reliable and historically accurate.

We used the poem 'The Ruin' to enquire about what the Anglo-Saxons arrived to find in Britain.  We considered how our previous work on the Romans linked to this period of History and also reflected on how reliable the source was.
We carried out an enquiry into the question: 'What was life like for women in Ancient Greece?'.  We examined lots of different sources of evidence, including pictures depicting women from Greek vases, and made our own hypotheses and assumptions based on the evidence.  We used words like 'possibly', 'perhaps', 'could be', 'might be', 'maybe' as we know in History that it is okay to not be absolutely sure about something that happened a long time ago.
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