Information for Teachers

Teaching about Archaeology in the School Curriculum: A Guide for Primary Teachers

Written and produced by Jill York and Maggie Smith (members of Berkshire Archaeological Society). 

Beth Asbury (West Berkshire Council Archaeology team), Clare Bromley (West Berkshire Museum), Philip Smither (Berkshire Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme), Guja Bandini (Reading Museum) and Rhea Douglas (formerly of Reading Museum) provided details on their services and school offer.

Introduction: Teaching archaeological topics in the National Curriculum at Key Stage 2.

The information on the following pages is designed to provide support for primary teachers when teaching about the very early history of Britain as set out in the National Curriculum for History at KS2 (see below).  It provides a brief overview of the subject matter that underlies topics contained in the KS2 history curriculum.

The National Curriculum requirement for history at KS2

Pupils should continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study. They should note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. They should regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance. They should construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information. They should understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.

In planning to ensure the progression described above through teaching the British, local and world history outlined below, teachers should combine overview and depth studies to help pupils understand both the long arc of development and the complexity of specific aspects of the content.Pupils should be taught about:
changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age      DfE (2013)

National Curriculum in England: History programmes of study. p3

On the following pages we set out information about the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age. It has been designed to give teachers background information about these periods of time, and to help them answer the range and variety questions that KS2 pupils might ask when they are learning about changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age. It might also be useful for more informal teaching situations, for example in response to a local excavation or discovery, or in response to a possible archaeological item a pupil has found and brought into school.

PERIODS

The Stone Age – download pdf below

The Bronze Age – download pdf below

The Iron Age – download pdf below

For each of the three Ages (Stone, Bronze and Iron) the information is organised so that it answers the seven questions below.  

  • When was that Age?
  • What happened in that Age?
  • How did people live in that Age?
  • What did the landscape in Berkshire look like in that Age, compared to today?
  • What was the climate of Berkshire like in that Age?
  • Why did that Age end?
  • What evidence is there of people of that Age living in Berkshire?

In each of the three Ages, we also suggest resources that can be used to support classroom teaching of the time period. There is a focus on resources that are local to Berkshire – they include: 

  • museums
  • websites 
  • places to visits 
  • practical classroom activities 

We hope that the information we have provided here will support teachers in:

  • developing their own subject knowledge about archaeology, 
  • developing their pupils’ knowledge of and interest in archaeology, 
  • knowing where to find resources to support the teaching of archaeological topics
  • knowing about the archaeology that is found locally in Berkshire and surrounding areas.  

The Berkshire Archaeological Society is always pleased to hear from teachers, whether it is with feedback, new ideas or requests. Our contact details can be found on this website.

Exploring the archaeology, history and heritage of Berkshire