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27 November 2016

Lesson walk-through: Why was war between Spain and England unlikely in 1558?

It's been a while since I posted a lesson walk-through and based on recent twitter conversation and a current SLE deployment I'm working on, I know that many of us are still getting to grips with the new Edexcel (9-1) course on Early Elizabethan England.  So here's a lesson on relations between England and Spain at the start of Elizabeth's reign.  The worksheets to accompany the lesson can be downloaded in pdf format by <<clicking here>>

First up, I'm going to introduce the new unit of work around the enquiry "Why was the Spanish Armada beaten?", covering English-Spanish relations from 1558-1588.  I've chosen a silver Armada medal as a hook and ISM here.  I've planned a chain of questions to ask students about the medal, beginning with the concrete (what can they actually see happening on the medal) moving towards the more abstract.  I hope to use this as a starting point from which to set out a direction for the overarching enquiry question.  Together, my students and I will come up with a list of questions for investigation during this enquiry.

Now I'll introduce today's lesson enquiry and how it links to our overarching enquiry.  I'll make sure that students understand we are focusing on the concept of causation today.  I'm hoping to engage students' interest by telling them that today we're investigating why something did not happen.

Before students can move into the next activity, we need a little recap and to establish some context.  I've decided to do this through five minutes of effective teacher exposition here and some inferences based on a source.  I'm picking up here on Philip as a devout Catholic.  I already know from previous conversations with my pupils that they have the impression that the Armada was sent purely for reasons of religion, so I'm going to enjoy busting that myth over the next couple of lessons

Then we're going to follow it up with some map work.  In order to understand the main activity which is coming, it is crucial that students have a grasp of the geography and a broad understanding of the strategic relations between the countries involved.

We're then going to discuss the importance of the English Channel to both England and Spain.  Again,this is foreshadowing what is coming in the main task.  I need to make sure that students understand the context which they will be working in.

Now the first main activity.  Students are presented with cards containing causes which made war between England and Spain less likely in the early part of Elizabeth's reign.  I want good pair talk about causation here as students work together to make notes on how each of these causes would make the prospect of war less likely.  Some of my more able, gifted and talented students will race through this, so I'll ask them to decide on their own categories for the causes.  Then I'll offer one way of categorising for the class.

Next we'll sort our cards according to whether they influenced Philip II, Elizabeth I or both.  I'll then ask students whether Philip II and Elizabeth I were driven to avoid war by largely the same or different factors.  Were there any factors which played a greater role for Elizabeth than they did for Philip?  The challenge here will be for some of my students to begin making links between the causes.
Now we're ready for a choice of task.  Students will select their own option here.  This is the point in the lesson where I want students working independently, without discussion and without further guidance from me.  They need to focus in order to make sense of what they have learned and I need to know what they've understood.  I'll stand back and watch them work at this point.

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Catholic plots against Elizabeth I

I had some requests for a resource which I made on Catholic plots against Elizabeth I, so here they are.  Click the link here to download them as a pdf file.

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