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KS2 history – become a detective for a day

What's included?

PDF lesson plan, PDF worksheet, and PowerPoint slides

Key Stage



Years 3-6


Create a buzz around KS2 history in an enquiry-based detective lesson. This can be adapted across the history curriculum.

Your pupils will have the opportunity to discover, predict and conclude historical learning. They’ll carry out an investigation as detectives, piecing together clues from sources.

The lesson supports children to retrieve prior KS2 history learning to justify their predictions. It also encourages them to work in-role using skills of exploration, investigation, analysis, and evaluation.

They’ll then discover the ‘truth’ to embed their historical knowledge.

This lesson’s principles apply to multiple historical contexts. In this worked example, we find out more about Mayan beliefs. 

Use this lesson plan, worksheet and PowerPoint to help your pupils work through the process of gathering evidence, investigating sources, and discussing outcomes.

What they’ll learn

  • To draw on their prior learning in KS2 history
  • Analyse, unpick and draw conclusions from historical sources 
  • Reflect on a range of historical possibilities 
  • About the skills which underpin historical enquiry 
  • About the beliefs and behaviours of another culture and/or era 

KS2 history useful questions

  • How reliable is the source? 
  • Is there another plausible explanation? 
  • Do the carvings/images remind you of anything? 
  • Do you notice any patterns of trends in the evidence? 

Adam Jevons-Newman is a deputy headteacher and curriculum leader at a school in Nottinghamshire.  

KS2 history – become a detective for a day

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