Illuminating the past – Enhancing the present – Inspiring the future

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Bronze Age?*

Bronze Age themed resource for new Prehistory programme – the BOAT KIT

Summer 2014 and the three year European project ‘BOAT 1550 BC’ has just closed.  When we began planning for this, Prehistory barely got a mention in the English school curriculum but from September, schools are required to teach the Stone Age through to the Iron Age to children at Key Stage 2 (7 to 11 year olds).  So now teachers are ravenous for all things prehistoric.

Well, we can help them with that! As a product of ‘BOAT 1550 BC’, we now have twelve, identical BOAT KITs lodged with the CAT BOX collections for loan to Kent schools; in accordance with  the project aims, sets of kits are also held in Northern France and Flanders, for use with schools there.

A BOAT KIT contains:

  • Teaching Guide with a summary of the Dover Boat discovery, a Bronze Age themed scheme of work written by CAT and Canterbury Christ Church University Faculty of Education, examples of Bronze Age sites in France, England and Belgium illustrating similar cultures and a section about Archaeology and 21st century processes used to investigate the past.
  • USB pen with images, the scheme of work, some short, informative and entertaining videos and a nice animation showing how to build a prehistoric house.
  • Replica bronze axe, pottery ‘Beaker’ and bronze dress pin to show pupils the skills our ancestors were capable of 3,500 years ago and the materials available to them.
  • Catalogue from the ‘BOAT 1550 BC’ exhibition describing the shared cultural practices between Northern France, Kent and Flanders in the Bronze Age, with some key discoveries illustrated.
  • Other items for simple activities around the work of archaeologists.

The Bronze Age BOAT KITThe Bronze Age BOAT KITThe Bronze Age BOAT KIT
You can order a BOAT KIT by going to the CAT BOX page  for loans conditions and catalogue.

Enquiry Based Learning for the little grey cells

CAT enjoyed a very successful collaboration with Canterbury Christ Church University during the Boat project, in particular working with Graham Birrell (Senior Lecturer in Education) on production of the kit’s Teaching Guide with its valuable scheme of work and the delivery of two associated Career and Professional Development days for Kent teachers.

The first of these took place in Canterbury and twelve Kent primary schools were represented.  The focus for the day was to give teachers a) subject knowledge about the Bronze Age and b) opportunities to work with the enquiry based resources in the BOAT KIT’s scheme of work.  Two Kent discoveries are at the heart of this, the Bronze Age boat from Dover and a Bronze Age burial from Thanet.
BOAT 1550 BC Kent teacher training day BOAT 1550 BC Kent teacher training day BOAT 1550 BC Kent teacher training day
We all had a really enjoyable and productive day and, importantly, teachers told us that it made a difference to their attitude and approach to teaching about Archaeology and the Bronze Age :).

‘It’s good to have a period where we don’t know all the answers.’ JP

‘…had it not been for your course, I wouldn’t have considered teaching archaeology and am looking forward to using some of the kits you showed us.  I have also been preparing our staff for the changes in the History Curriculum and feel that we are in quite good shape for some interesting hands-on prehistory lessons.’ SB

‘ I enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with other like-minded people great, as it enabled me to think about things from different perspectives and draw different conclusions.’ TK

‘I am feeling much more positive about teaching Bronze Age and the new curriculum next year and I am now actually trying to work out how I can schedule it for my year group rather than somebody else’s!   The resources that you have provided are terrific …’  CM

‘I must admit I knew very little about the Bronze age before.  I am very interested in the subject area now!  I found the trip to Belgium very interesting and wish it was nearer to us. … I see archaeology in a different light after this course and am very interested in our history now.’ SM

‘Bless you for that!’ AC

For the second day we took the same teachers to Flanders where we visited the Provincial Archaeological Museum in Velzeke for some workshops with the Education Officer, Peter van der Plaetsen.  The museum has extensive hands-on collections for Prehistory (and other periods) and is an impressive set-up for a small town.
Provincial Archaeological Museum in VelzekeProvincial Archaeological Museum in VelzekeProvincial Archaeological Museum in Velzeke
Provincial Archaeological Museum in VelzekeProvincial Archaeological Museum in VelzekeProvincial Archaeological Museum in Velzeke
Before the close of the BOAT 1550 BC project, CAT and CCCU also used BOAT KIT resources with 70 teachers at the Wroxham Schools Alliance national conference.

In English schools, while the subject matter is well suited to the primary school, it would be good to see BOAT KIT materials used at secondary level, perhaps by Modern Languages departments looking for something a bit different for students to work with.  There are for example, versions of the Teaching Guide available in French and Dutch as well as English.
Burial. Image on the USB memory stickReconstruction. Image on the USB memory stickBoat on site. Image on the USB memory stick
* Credit to my colleague, Graham Birrell, for the title