History: Key Questions To Ask About People, Events or Time Periods

Updated: Jun 27


Recently I posted a whole set of questions to ask when learning about a place in Geography.

Here are the History versions. They are based on the History National Curriculum and, yes, there are acronyms! For a free downloadable version, visit my resources section:



KS1 Key Questions


Here are a set of questions, split into three categories (People, Events and Periods of Time) that teachers can use to structure their planning and teaching. Some of the questions may be suitable for children to ask themselves, others might be better used as guidance for teachers as they plan content. Many of the questions across the three categories are very similar although there are one or two more category-specific questions.


The acronym for the KS1 Key Questions is CWEST (pronounce it how you like)!


People

Questions to ask about historical figures who are studied in years 1 and 2:


Characteristics:


What are the most important facts about this person?

What do these important facts tell me about this person? (focus on understanding, rather than knowing facts)


Where (linked to KS2 Elsewhere):


Where did this person come from?


Evidence:


How do we know about this person?


Significance:


What did this person achieve or help to achieve?

Did this person’s actions change anything for the future? How did they make a difference?


Timeline:


When in history did this person live? (birth dates and death dates)

Did this person live before or after [another person/event they have studied] lived/happened?

How many years before or after [another person/event they have studied] lived/happened did this person live?

What period of time did this person live in?

Did this person live within or beyond living memory? (living memory: can be remembered by people who are still alive now, not children’s own living memory)


Events


Questions to ask about historical events which are studied in years 1 and 2:


Characteristics:


What are the most important parts of (key facts about) this event?

What do these key facts tell me about this event? (focus on understanding, rather than knowing facts)


Where (linked to KS2 Elsewhere):


Where did this event take place?


Evidence:


How do we know that this event happened?


Significance:


Did this event change anything for the future? How did it make a difference?


Timeline:


When in history did this event happen? (day/month/year(s))

What period of time did this event happen in?

Did this event happen before or after [another person/event they have studied] lived/happened?

How many years before or after [another person/event they have studied] lived/happened did this event happen?

Did this event occur within or beyond living memory? (living memory: can be remembered by people who are still alive now, not children’s own living memory)


Periods of Time

Questions to ask about historical periods of time which are studied in years 1 and 2:


Characteristics:


What is similar about the way people lived in this time period and [another time period they have studied]?

What is different about the way people lived in this time period and [another time period they have studied]?

What are the most important things (key facts) to know about this period of time?

What do these key facts tell me about life in this period of time? (focus on understanding, rather than knowing facts)

What important events happened in this time?

Which important people lived in this time?


Where (linked to KS2 Elsewhere):


Did the things that happened in this time period happen in a particular place?

Were things the same everywhere in the world during this time period?


Evidence:


How do we know about this period of time?


Significance:


How did life change during this period of time?

Did this time period change anything for the future? How did it make a difference?

Timeline:


When did this period of time begin and end? (specific years and approximate number of years duration)

Was this period of time before or after [another person/event /time period they have studied] lived/happened?

How many years before or after [another person/event/time period they have studied] lived/happened was this period of time?

Did this period of time occur within or beyond living memory? (living memory: can be remembered by people who are still alive now, not children’s own living memory)




KS2 Key Questions


Here are the KS2 versions of the history key questions. The older children get more questions so they have a longer acronym: CHESTER. Teachers and children can ask CHESTER questions whenever a new historical period or event is studied - ask these questions over the course of a unit:


Characteristics:


What were people’s lives like during this historical period?

What was/were society/culture/economy/military/religion/politics like during this historical period?

What else do I want/need to know about this historical period?


Historical Links:


How has this historical period influenced other historical periods?

How have other historical periods influenced this historical period?

How does this period/event compare to other historical periods/events (that have already been studied)?


Evidence:


What is the evidence for this historical event?


Significance:


What is significant about this historical event or period?

What were the main achievements of this historical period?

What were the follies of mankind in this historical period?


Timeline:


When did this event occur?

How long did this period last?

What came before and after this historical period?


Elsewhere:


What was going on elsewhere in the world during this historical period?


Response:


What do I think about this historical event?

What do others (past and present) think about this historical event?


To download these questions, use the link below:


If you would like Aidan to work with you on developing history at your school, please use the contact details below or complete the contact form by clicking on the 'contact' link above.




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