It took me a while to pluck up the courage to click on the link signposted ‘Doggerland!’ Peeping from behind my cushion I was relieved to discover a perfectly legitimate – and very cool – concept to add another layer of fun to our Stone Age theme. Doggerland – an area of land connecting Britain to mainland Europe; richly populated during the Mesolithic Period http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doggerland

‘So you’re telling me – Mr B – that the world looked different in the stone age?’ The enquiry had begun. We studied various maps and timelines; we discussed Doggerland’s significance and its disappearance. I could see the kids making links and connections; drawing maps and building models in their minds. After a while, the lack of hands-on learning finally caught up with one of our boys. ‘We should make Doggerland,’ he declared.

So we did.

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We literally traced three maps (Doggerland, Dogger Bank & 2015 Great Britain) onto card using the interactive whiteboard. Pupils worked in large groups due to the ‘smash and grab’ nature of the project and lack readily available resources. They began by screwing balls of newspaper and gluing them down to create the landscape. Next, they layered paper-mache strips and – once dried – used stippling painting techniques to create land and sea with different coloured poster paints.

By the end of the teaching sequence, pupils understood the idea of changing landscapes; their vocabulary was expanded; they’d worked collaboratively, followed their own line of enquiry and made links to the past, present and future. They had a whole new perspective on the world and its history. They’d jumped to conclusions, made mistakes, fallen out and made up. They’d built; they’d painted and they’d made something that they could introduce to a classroom visitor. They could speak brilliantly about how different the world was during the stone age. And not a worksheet or pencil in sight.