The ‘Lancashire to Mesopotamia’ project involved four schools where eight teachers worked with a total of 74 Year 9 students. Year 9 is when the History curriculum covers the First World War but this is normally focussed on the Western Front. However there are opportunities for local history work and for skills development in historical enquiry, so three of the schools were able to carry out the project in class time, while the fourth worked in a lunchtime club. Schools are obviously familiar with the assessment of learning so it was possible to evaluate the impact of the project in a professional manner, with teachers and students identifying skills and knowledge they had picked up. The feedback below comes from the evaluation report written by the project leader.
Feedback to Lancashire County Council Heritage Learning team
Teachers’ comments on the outreach visits:
- An excellent morning. Looking forward to the rest of the project. (teacher, Carnforth High School)
- Thank you for today. I really enjoyed the session and so did the students. (teacher, Walton-le-Dale High School)
A freelancer engaged to assist students with the textile project at Hodgson Academy said:
- I want to say a huge thank you for all the support you have given us with this project. You have gone above and beyond!
Teachers’ comments at the end of the project
- I have learnt a great deal myself about Mesopotamia and have had the chance to work in a small group with some of the pupils in my class which I wouldn’t normally get chance to do. (teacher, Hodgson Academy)
- Teachers recognised that the project had improved their students’ skills in research and historical enquiry and said they would certainly be more likely to adapt their teaching in the future to include more heritage learning activities.
Students’ comments on the project
Undoubtedly the students gained a great deal from taking part in the project. When asked about their Knowledge & Understanding they said they had learnt:
- All about the campaigning to Mesopotamia. How we actually fought. How locals from near me helped out.
- That WW1 wasn’t just based round the West.
- That a soldier that lived around 10 mins away actually fought there, and how not all of WW1 was fought in France.
- Learning about WW1 at school you just look at the Western Front, but it’s nice to look at other battles.
The students noted that they had developed new Skills through the project:
- How to work as a group on research.
- I learned to look deeper for information.
- I have learned new research skills since starting the project and have discovered more aspects of Mesopotamia and WW1. I have also improved my teamwork skills.
- Making storyboards.
The students were asked what they particularly enjoyed …
- Creating my project, researching it.
- I liked making the tapestry because it was fun.
- I enjoyed looking at artefacts from the First World War.
- I got to work with my friends.
… and what they found hard:
- Some of the research took a long time.
- Parts of it have been very hard work and it took a lot of patience.
- When we had to do our own research.
- Writing a lot.
- Reading through large books.
- Working on my own.
- Speaking in front of people, due to anxiety.
Click here for an evaluation report on the ‘Lancashire to Mesopotamia’ project.