2.5 million years of historical learning in the comfort of your school
Resources for this lesson plan (click to download):
Pupils will learn ..
About the timeline of the whole period.
Basic characteristics of the different divisions of Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic.
This lesson places all the 5 periods concerned into order, setting the scene for the whole unit. However, there is no need to cover the Bronze and Iron ages in great detail here as we will cover this later on.
What does the phrase ‘Stone Age’ mean? What do we know already about the period?
Ask pupils in groups to discuss what they already know about the Stone Age and also what they would like to find out. Record their thoughts for feedback to the class. (typical answers will be that there were ‘Cavemen and Cavewomen’; using stone tools; people hunting and living amongst wild animals; eating without cutlery; discovery of fire; lack of language etc. which are mostly correct)
Tie this together by adding the following key points:
•It was called the Stone Age because it was dominated by stone tools
•It was made of three different periods called the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolothic
•Each period had different characteristics
•It lasted from 2.5 million years ago to about 5,000 years ago
Intro activity: a toilet roll timeline!
Preamble – explain how the Stone Age started 2.5 million years ago when archaeologists know Stone tools were first used but that 1,000,000 years ago the first Britons arrived.
Either draw a toilet roll unrolled on the WB or use a real one at front of class to represent this 1,000,000 years and say that you are going to travel back through time by unrolling it.
Assuming a 200 sheet standard roll, explain how each sheet is worth 5,000 years and then unroll it as follows (good idea to put this on the board or a crib sheet to guide you):
SHEET 1 - 5,000 YEARS, BACK TO APPROX 2,500BC: The present day back to the end of the Neolithic period (meaning NEW Stone Age). This encompasses modern life, the Iron Age and Bronze Age, (just name check them for now as we will cover these in later lessons).
ANOTHER HALF A SHEET, BACK TO 5,000BC – a further 2,500 YEARS: The centre of the Neolithic period, characterised by organised farming, communities and the rise of technology.
ANOTHER FULL SHEET, BACK TO 10,000BC – the start of the Mesolithic period (meaning MIDDLE Stone Age) when humans were settling and gathering the skills that would take them into the Neolithic,
THE REST OF THE ROLL – the massive Paleolithic period in Britain (meaning OLD Stone Age), characterised mostly by Nomadic lifestyles, simple hunting tools and very early technology.
MAIN ACTIVITY 1: Stone Age match up cards
In groups, give each group a set of cut up ‘match up cards’ (download on PDF in resources section on lesson website page). Ask pupils to put the cards in order and match to descriptions.
MAIN ACTIVITY 2: Literacy - Interview a caveman or woman
Ask pupils to write a set of questions to ask a ‘caveman’ or woman, from one of the periods e.g. paleolithic/Mesolithic/Neolithic. Sample questions could include (NOTE: can easily be differentiated by asking pupils to write more or less questions and to be either very specific about the period or more general):
•What does it feel like to have to go and hunt and kill your food?
•How do you keep warm?
•How do you make tools?
Gather all the questions on the board for further research and role play the best questions as if you or another pupil is the character being interviewed.