3. Helping pupils explore their past
Helping pupils to develop their understanding of past and present takes time, and involves giving them a range of activities where they have to observe, ask questions and make judgements about what they find out.
How can they develop skills to help them think about how things change over time? Case Study 3 and the Key Activity use the wider environment to extend your pupils’ understanding of time passing and things changing.
Case Study 3: Visiting an older citizen
Mr Kata, Mrs Kofie and Miss Banda planned their social studies together. They did not all do the same topic at the same time, but it helped them to share ideas.
They all read Key Resource: Using the local community/environment as a resource. They planned to take their classes to visit an older member of the community to talk to them about how the village has changed since they were a child.
They decided to organise the classes into groups and each group would prepare questions to ask the elder. Each group would have a different area to think about such as games they played, food they ate, houses they lived in etc.
Key Activity: Using different sources to investigate family life in the past
Do a brainstorm with your class. Ask them to consider how they could investigate the ways in which life for their families has changed in the village/community over time. What sources could they use to find out about this?
They are likely to come up with ideas such as: using their own observations and memories to think about what has changed in their own lifetime; asking their parents; talking to other older people; talking to people in authority (such as the chief); looking at older maps; using a museum (if there is one); reading from books about the area etc.
Ask the pupils to gather stories from their own families about how life has changed for them over the last few generations. What was everyday life like for their grandparents and great grandparents? What are the family stories from previous times? Does the family have any old newspapers, photos, letters, etc. that help show what life used to be like?
Pupils could share their stories with each other in class and use them as a basis for presentations – these could include pictures of what they think life was like, role plays about life in the past, written factual accounts based on family stories and other documents, and imaginary stories e.g. ‘describe a day in the life of your grandmother when she was young’.