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Key Stage 2 history explained

Old train
Find out about what your child will learn in their KS2 history lessons and how you can help them get ahead at home.

In history lessons in KS2, children will be learning about:

  • local history
  • an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066
  • the achievements of the earliest civilisations: an overview of where and when the first civilisations appeared and an in-depth study of one of the following: Ancient Sumer; The Indus Valley; Ancient Egypt; The Shang dynasty of Ancient China.
  • Ancient Greece: a study of Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world
  • a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history: one study area chosen from early Islamic civilisation, including a study of Baghdad c. AD 900; Mayan civilisation c. AD 900; Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300
  • UK black history

KS2 history lesson examples

These are the kinds of activities your child might take part in in history class:

  • A Year 3 class study a timeline that highlights the main events and inventions of Victorian times. They learn about methods of mass industrial production and the significance of rail travel.
  • Year 4 pupils explore working conditions in Victorian times. They visit a row of Victorian houses to gather information about the various street traders who once lived there. They also study a survey on living conditions carried out in London during the late Victorian period.
  • After listening to a tape on the war with Troy, Year 5 pupils consider what makes a hero in Ancient Greece (and in modern times). Each pupil has to define their idea and suggest two people, past and present, who they feel are heroes.
  • A Year 6 class carry out a re-enactment of an air raid in the classroom. They black out the windows and an air raid siren is played as they take cover beneath tables. They later discuss what it felt like being cramped under a table not knowing what was going to happen next. A member of the local community visits the class to share their wartime experiences of evacuation during WWII.

Help your child at home

  • Make your children aware of the history around them. Look at street names, buildings and other features that give clues about the area's history. If there’s a railway track, you know that the Victorians went through the town, for example. Encourage your child to ask questions about what peoples’ lives may have been like in the past in your town.
  • Visit relevant museums (look through our educational days out suggestions) to immerse your child in the past.
  • Help your child to find out the answers to any questions they ask. Take them to a local history museum, library or historical re-enactment event.
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