A bucket used to fight the Great fire of London and a lantern used by Guy Fawkes are among 100 objects to be used to teach history to school children in an attempt to liven up “dry” text books, The Telegraph reports.
Nick Gibb, the school reform minister, said the project would hark back to the best of the Victorian era, where lessons were often based on a single object. It is hoped the range of artefacts, which are up to 700,000 years old, will help spark an interest for students aged five – 14 under the new curriculum, introduced as they begin the new school year.
The list of 100 objects includes the Sutton Hoo helmet, a lantern used by Guy Fawkes, a bucket used to try and put out the Great Fire of London and an Arabic encyclopaedia of medicine.
The oldest item is the 700,000-year-old Happisburgh hand axe, with finds spanning British and world history right up to a contemporary protest poster from the Middle East.
Speaking at the launch of the project, the first formal partnership between the Department for Education and the British Museum, Gibb hailed the introduction of a new, chronological curriculum.
Saying it would necessarily involve the reading of text books and history books, he added: “Some of that might sound quite dry, so let’s have the object lessons to bring that to life.
“I think that the new curriculum is very inspiring and we’ll have a generation with a really deep understanding of the history of the world.
“I often get accused of wanting to take us back to the Victorian era, which is just absolutely not true, but the Victorians did have that approach of teaching using an object.
“That’s where the phrase object lesson comes from. They’d base whole lessons on, for example, a stuffed parrot, and the whole lesson would revolve around that. So there is an element of that.”
Primary and secondary school children, and their teachers, will now be able to access images of the artefacts online, in resources coordinated by experts at the museum.
The treasure trove is aimed in part at helping teachers interpret the new curriculum, with reliable information verified by curators across the country.
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