Following a request for help from the Year 6 teacher with her MYP planning (even though Year 6 are not strictly MYP), and a discussion about her plans for the Spring Term, we decided that the pupils undertaking an inquiry that clearly took them through the stages of the FOSIL Cycle would be the best way to ensure that they all knew what the Cycle involved. This would then, hopefully, allow them to make the link between the inquiry work they had already done on Alfred the Great [resources here] and the more general inquiry into 20th Century History [resources here] to come.
On 19 Dec 2018 I sent sent the following email to my colleague in History: “After our previous conversation, I have been working on an idea for a Cold War inquiry for next term. I think this could be done in 1 lesson a week over the term, and would mean you did not need to teach them about the Cold War specifically, what you covered could just link it with it as they go through it. The beginning is clearer in my mind than the end but I thought it best to send you what I have done so far as it may not be useful to you at all.”
Having sent this email, little did I know what lay ahead, but suffice to say, on 15 Jan 2019 I began leading an inquiry into “What were the global effects of the Cold War?” Many of the FOSIL resources used have been adapted from those used previously with this year group as they had seen some of them before, and they have carefully been constructed with the age and experience of the pupils taken into consideration from the outset. However, a glossary of Cold War terms, image below, was produced for pupils to complete as they carried out their INVESTIGATE stage – in order to write like historians they need to be able to understand and use the language of historians. [Cold War resources here]
(20 March) As I have led the inquiry, new resources have been produced and the plans for the inquiry adapted, and reduced significantly due to missed lessons and things taking that little bit longer than anticipated. I decided it was better that they did the basic inquiry well – all stages covered and the opportunity to work in their groups to produce work they were proud of – rather than trying to cover every topic I had hoped for. I just hope we get to see how the Cold War ended before we run out of term! Thank goodness for a BBC Bitesize History video to help with that explanation!
(27 March) End of the Cold War inquiry today. Factsheets produced and pupils’ consideration of why their event was significant in the Cold War, and in World History. Although there were a few facts they had not grasped entirely correctly, the overall understanding on display was pleasing; almost all work produced, and presented to the class, covered the basic requirements they were asked for – and more in many cases; and they were able to assess the work of others, consider their own strengths throughout the inquiry process and identify a few goals for when they do it all again next term! Didn’t manage to include as much as I would have liked to include, but a good learning process for me and a thorough introduction to the FOSIL cycle for them.