2.5 million years of historical learning in the comfort of your school
Pupils will learn ..
•About the features of the Bronze Age period
•The impact of the discovery of metal on human progress
The Bronze Age period is characterised by the arrival of bronze metal (90% copper and 10% tin) and was particularly important for Britain as the landscape contains a lot of both these metals, from the copper mines of Wales to the tin mines of Cornwall. This created a rise in trading, with the invention of the earliest boats, as well as more complex and sharper weapons and tools.
Introduction: Bronze Age recap
Remind pupils that the Bronze Age had the following features:
•2,000 to 800 BC in Britain (varies in other parts of the world)
•Harder and sharper metal weapons (as opposed to stone)
•More organised religion with burial mounds and the rise of ‘henges’
•Simple local trade networks
As per previous lessons, briefly cover the impact of these events, explaining how bronze as a commodity drove progress, resulting in stronger weapons, better farming and increased trade, including the invention of simple boats. Religion also continued to develop, with many ritual burials and monuments to ancient Gods.
Possible activity 1: (Literacy) newspaper article – bronze is here!
Ask pupils to plan and write a newspaper article announcing the arrival of bronze into the community. Stress how big a story it would be – maybe pupils could list the changes in the article that would come about in weapons and farming tools and perhaps pose for a picture of it ‘arriving’ in the village.
Possible activity 2: (Literacy) write a ‘recipe’ (ie an instructions text) for making a bronze sword
Ask pupils to write down the steps to making a bronze sword – starting with melting 9 pieces of copper and 1 of tin together, then moulding it, then hammering it, sharpening it, putting leather handle on etc.
Possible activity 3: (drama) linked to above
Plan a news segment in pairs with a BBC interviewer interviewing the first person to see and use bronze and perform to the class.
Possible activity 4: (Art) Making a bronze age sword, shield or helmet
Use stiff card to make a bronze aged sword, shield or helmet. Cover it with tinfoil then rub black or brown boot polish over it to give a bronzed effect (test first as different brands of polish have different effects – also works with poster paints but again test first).
Construct a class statement on the board beginning with "When bronze arrived my life changed because .." from the perspective of a man, woman a boy and a girl.