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12 January 2017

Lesson walk-through: When and why did the Armada fail?

I'm currently working with a challenging Year 9 group and aiming to develop their understanding of causation.  The overarching enquiry is "What caused the Armada to fail?" and by the end of the unit, I want students to be able to make substantiated judgements about the relative importance of different factors in causing the failure of the Armada.  This lesson comes from the middle of the unit of work.  Prior to the lesson, students have already evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of both Spanish and English preparations for the invasion and now they are ready to look at the Armada's voyage.

First I want to engage students with the excitement of the Armada story.  I'm doing this through teacher exposition, combined with some comprehension work on an Armada poem.

 
 
Before´╗┐ going any further, I want to check understanding of the story and give students specific knowledge which they will need later.   I ask them to put the events of the Armada into chronological order and sort them geographically onto the map.
 
 
By now, students have a good overview of the key events which happened to the Armada during its journey and they are already getting a feel for what factors were important at different stages.  I am working towards students being able to judge the relative importance of a range of factors  in the defeat of the Armada and for me, this requires students to understand at what points the factors played a role, and what the consequences of these factors were at each stage.  To facilitate this, I've made a set of character cards with details on each part of the journey.  Students use these to identify both positive and negative consequences for the Armada at each stage.  They record these on their map sheet.
 




 
Now students work together to discuss the significance of each development during the Armada's journey.  Based on these conversations, they rate each event according to how far it was a setback (or not).  This will be useful in the next lesson when students begin to make judgements about which factor(s) were truly decisive in the Armada's failure.  By the end of this lesson, my students are set up for this, as you can see below.






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