It’s always important to investigate famous news stories of the past. just as long as it links to a topic that you’re covering in school. There are so many old news stories out there you could choose from World War 2, the 1960s, stories that linked to your local area or stories about extreme weather – the list goes o. I’m sure at this point you’re thinking this could turn into a boring run-of-the-mill activity but that’s not necessarily the case.
As a starting point compare newspaper front covers of the past with ones that are more modern. Immediate observations : older papers have no mention of ‘celebrity’ and everything is told in a really straightforward factual manner.
In preparation for this activity,download a number of suitable videos that might inspire the pupils: footage of the moon landing, snippets of documentary about the disaster in Aberfan, some Pathe news footage of WW2, video clips showing the chaos caused by earthquakes and hurricanes, there are lots out there to look at. For the PowerPoint templates, I have adapted an idea from this website , and used their format to create a Modern Newspaper Template and an Aged Newspaper Template.
Now the perfect web resource to start the research element off for us (in my opinion anyway) was the BBC’s ‘On this day’ section. It has a handy link to all the relevant news pupils might choose to use on the right hand menu and is a fun way to search for things. In addition the BBC is a trustworthy website to use and the information on each story is presented in an informative and interesting manner. You could start off by searching for birthdays to see what stories came up but not all the dates were usable or of interest.
Luckily there are lots of great famous dates that link in well with a number of topics and are easy to search for, including 21st July (easy to remember as it’s my husband’s birthday), April 4th (thank you U2 for making sure I remember this one), 1st May, September 19th and numerous others!!
This is an activity that can easily be tailored for a number of age groups and topics. It might lead pupils to appreciated why we now have building regulations and guidelines for health and safety. They might work out why there’s a character called Buzz in Toy Story. But, most of all, this is an activity that can show pupils how things that happened in the past can shape the future.