Section 5 : Using artefacts to explore the past

Key Focus Question: How can you use artefacts and other evidence to explore local and national history?

Keywords: artefacts; evidence; group working; local history; environment; questioning

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will have:

  • used artefacts to help pupils raise questions about and understand the past;
  • developed lessons that allow pupils to think about their national history in relation to their own identities;
  • involved local experts and the environment in your lessons to stimulate pupils’ interest in local history.


Understanding who you are and having good self-esteem is enhanced if you have a strong sense of your identity and can see your place in the bigger pattern of life. Studying what happened in the past can contribute to this. Through the activities in this section, you will encourage your pupils to think about history as it relates to them. Using group work, inviting visitors into the classroom and using practical hands-on activities to investigate artefacts will allow your pupils to share ideas and develop their historical skills.

1. Discussing artefacts in small groups