Thursday, 23 October 2014

Shot at dawn - A free activity for Remembrance Day

Image: Tinelot Wittermans
Many schools will be doing something special this year for Remembrance day - are you? This free activity is designed to honour the men who fought and died for our country, while also engaging students in a deep moral, historical and political debate.

In 2006, the British Defence Secretary, Des Browne, pardoned the soldiers who were executed for cowardice during World War I. The service of these men is now free to be honoured on Remembrance Day along with the many others who died during the fighting.

There are arguments for and against pardoning these men, and the complex and thorny issues surrounding the topic provide a useful opportunity for students to develop their debating skills and to practice writing to persuade/argue.

In this free activity, students use the text provided and their own research to write an argument either for or against pardoning the men who were executed for cowardice during WW1. The activity could also function as a letter-writing exercise, a class debate or a philosophical enquiry using the included text as a stimulus.

Older pupils may well be the same age as some of the executed soldiers, who, at only 15 or 16, lied about their age to join the army. This, along with wide-spread media focus on Remembrance Day, will make for a relevant and thought-provoking discussion.

You can download the activity resource pack for free here. It includes instructions for implementation and also the stimulus text.

This free activity is taken from our cross-curricular project plan, The Great War. You can purchase the rest of this project for £36.

Activities include:
  • Plotting the path to war, examining each country's motives for joining in detail
  • Identifying the purpose of propaganda and creating a propaganda poster
  • Writing a poem about a gas attack in the trenches
  • Investigating the impact of the armistice on Germany and the rest of Europe
...And much more!

See here for a full description of the project and its included activities and resources.

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