Lesson plans:

Bring Pompeii and Herculaneum to your children

Looking for ways to bring the Roman era to life in your own classroom? These lessons were originally taught as part of the Civilisations in Contact project, "Bringing Pompeii and Herculaneum to Cambridgeshire Schools".

Jane Bower is an experienced primary teacher specialising in arts subjects. In this case her teaching embraced primary history, drama, dance and art and design. History Off the Page is a Cambridgeshire-based company of teachers who create immersive learning environments for children. Like Jane Bower, their staff also specialise in the use of drama and role play but supported through costume, artefacts, props and equipment. In planning the teaching activities, both Jane Bower and staff from History Off the Page were advised in detail on current research about Pompeii and Herculaneum by academics from Civilizations in Contact. These lessons were taught in five Cambridge schools in challenging circumstances for two days in succession during June and July 2013. Jane Bower taught a whole day first, followed by History Off the Page on the second day. Shortly afterwards pupils visited the British Museum exhibition, "Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum", and while they were there performed a rehearsed dance prepared by Jane Bower in school. The teaching of History Off the Page was designed to deepen and build upon that of Jane Bower and any other prior learning about Pompeii and Herculaneum that class teachers had undertaken before the project.

For the purposes of this website, the original teaching has been broken up into different lesson plans. This organisation is to make it easier for primary teachers and other educators to look at particular lessons in detail. The lesson plans are set out in the same way. They all:

  • Begin with an overarching historical enquiry question that can be shared with children. Each question poses an historical problem that the activities should help the pupils to solve.
  • Set clear learning objectives based on national curriculum requirements in different subjects for Key Stage Two (aged 7 to 11) in English state primary schools and compatible with both the pre-2014 and 2014 versions of the national curriculum.
  • Detail success criteria/learning outcomes that are particular to the activities and can be shared with pupils.
  • List or give access to resources necessary to teach the activities.

These features give teachers or other educators the opportunity to:

  • Replicate all or part of the teaching.
  • Make use of the lesson plans and their resources as material for training and continuous professional development.
  • Incorporate or adapt activities and approaches to other teaching or age groups where the content focus may be different.
  • Create new sequences of learning combining ideas and activities from several lesson plans.
  • Compare the pattern of cross curricular planning presented here with other models, including those that may be used in their own school or setting.

The lesson plans can be found by clicking on the enquiry questions at the left of the page.