Cross-curricular activities using What Price Peace?

Whole schoolRECross-curricular links
The centenary of the First World War provides an opportunity for schools to extend their spiritual, moral, social and cultural provision. The following ideas offer suggestions as to how this could be done through different subjects.

Introduction

The centenary of the First World War provides a great opportunity for schools to extend their spiritual, moral, social and cultural provision for pupils as they mark the anniversary of the conflict from 2014 to 2018, but how can we do this creatively? The following ideas offer suggestions as to how this might be done across a number of subject areas, including Knowledge and understanding of the world/PSED, Literacy, Geography, Science, ICT, Art, Music, PE/Dance.

Preparation

See the individual ideas for any preparation and the accompanying teacher resource book What Price Peace?

Development

1. Knowledge and understanding of the world/PSED

Foundation and Key Stage 1

  • Create a peace table or peace corner using things from the classroom, items from home or items the children make that they connect with peace. Play some peaceful music in that area/corner while carrying out this task.

2. Literacy

Key Stage 2

  • Dairy entries - imagine you are a soldier or a family member back at home - write a diary entry.
  • What would a peaceful world be like for the pupils?
  • Compative locations - compare a child's experience of the war in two different countries or two different national locations.
  • Explore the lyrics from a well-known war-time song - for example, 'I vow to thee my country' - and discuss the 'big ideas' present. Describe each verse in ten words or less.
  • Write letters to a family member on the front line or from someone serving on the front line.
  • Write acrostic poems using words such as war, peace, great war, world war and so on.

 

3. Geography

 

Foundation/Key Stage 1/Key Stage 2

  • Visit local war memorials to gain information - look at imagery, text, designs.

Key Stage 2 (Geography/History)

  • Look at world maps and create a timeline of how the war progressed.

 

4. Science

Foundation/Key Stage 1

  • Plant poppies as a class activity, experimenting with the effects of different climatic and soil conditions on growth.

Key Stage 2

  • Discuss popular ideas about evolution theory, by talking through real-life dilemmas such as whether we should be protecting animal species in danger of extinction.
  • Also, should popular ideas of the 'survival of the fittest' apply to humans as well - and is that fair? (Should stronger countries be able to boss little ones around, just because they can?)

5. ICT

Key Stage 1

  • Carry out some research about what the poppy means related to the war.

Key Stage 2

  • Run a web search for casualties for different nations in the First World War. Using that data, produce various charts and tables to illustrate and compare the losses in different countries.

6. Art

Foundation/Key Stage 1/ Key Stage 2

  • Following a visit such as that in the Geography example, get the pupils to design their own war memorial with images, names and so on. For Foundation, decorate with poppies.
  • Using the shapes of countries, create cartoons to highlight how countries felt at the time. For example, look at Google images - satirical maps.
  • Create a prayer space using the decorated war memorial - make crosses out of thick card or lolly sticks, decorate them and/or add the name of a country at war and place/stand them in tray of sand/earth. Place poppies around if desired.

7. Music

Key Stage 2

  • As a class, listen to songs and other music related to the time, studying, illustrating and annotating. the lyrics to explain the meaning. Some ideas might include: 'Goodbye-ee', 'Goodbye Dolly I must leave you', 'Pack up your troubles in your old kitbag' and 'The Lord's my shepherd'.
  • Listen to some more contemporary songs about war and discuss their message, such as 'Where have all the flowers gone'.
  • Create atmospheric music using a range of instruments. Create music using the sounds and senses of the trenches, or the emotions and feelings of being at war.

 

8. PE/Dance

Key Stage 1/Key Stage 2

  • Choose an appropriate piece of music depicting war, then develop a piece of creative movement to express the emotions of war, or tell the story of someone going to war or their 'life' in the trenches.

9. PSED/PHSE

Foundation/Key Stage 1

  • Discuss why we don't encourage/allow any items to be used as 'pretend' guns in war.

Key Stage 2

  • Working at compromise - select an appropriate news item involving 'fors' and 'against', then divide the class into two and debate the two sides. Alternatively, you could choose to debate a school rule.

10. Physical development

Foundation/Key Stage 1

  • Start with pile of bricks (for example, Duplo bricks), explaining that many houses and towns were destroyed during the war and had to be rebuilt. Rebuild the houses and towns using the bricks.
  • Alternatively, start by building some sandcastles, knock them down and talk about the feelings when something is destroyed.
  • Discuss and use colours the children feel are related to peace.

Acknowledgements

Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash