Two-page PDF lesson plan
Give your class a burning desire for drama, art, history and science with these cross-curricular Great Fire of London KS1 activities.
Pupils will work towards using paint and charcoal on sugar paper to create a long street frieze.
- See that houses and streets long ago were different from those today
- Find out what kinds of jobs and trades people had in 1666
- Learn why fire posed such a threat, and how ways of controlling fire have changed
- Discover how we know about the Great Fire
- Explore how different materials are affected by fire
Guide students through an immersive activity by instructing them to close their eyes as you lead them in imagining a historical setting. Describe the streets of a city, emphasising that it’s not just any time but the year 1666. This approach effectively conveys a sense of historical depth.
Paint a vivid picture of narrow and dark streets with leaning wooden houses, where rubbish is tossed into the roads, and neither cars nor aeroplanes exist.
Once the imaginative journey is complete, prompt students to open their eyes and engage their senses. Ask questions like, “What can you hear in this place? What can you smell here?”. Introduce sensory elements one by one to help the students immerse themselves in the historical context.
Guide them to identify the sounds of horses clopping and carts rolling, and the aromas of cooking dinners and rotting rubbish. Transition to a detailed image of a typical London street in 1666, prompting a discussion about what the students could touch if they were to walk along that street.
This exploration naturally leads to an examination of the materials used in constructing the houses of that era.
Jane Bower is a widely experienced primary teacher and creative practitioner. See more at janebower.com.