On a sunny afternoon, 26 Groups 3s travelled back in time with the aid of 1940s costumes, suitcases, teddy bears and name tags, plus a bit of imagination, and walked the mile to Petersfield train station in the role of evacuees to develop their understanding of the evacuation process, think about the emotions the evacuees would have faced, and to develop their empathy skills. They also used cardboard, straws, cotton reels, lollipop sticks, textiles, pipe cleaners and a whole host of other items to make small scale models of air raid shelters.
Earlier this term the students enjoyed an informative visit to London’s Imperial War Museum where they followed a ‘1939 Outbreak’ trail that led them around an exhibition about the early days of the war and then participated in ‘The Blitz Experience’. The group went into an Anderson Shelter to experience the darkness, noise of bombs dropping and shuddering sensation of a near miss bomb. When the ‘All Clear’ siren sounded, the children explored a badly bombed London street and later in the day investigated the ‘Family at War’ exhibition, aeroplanes, tanks and submarines.
The children have also been put through their paces by communications expert Lieutenant-Colonel St. John-Smythe who wanted to see if any of them possessed what it took to be a code breaker during World War II. He explained the history of code making and breaking, focusing on how important messages were relayed and the children then tried out Morse Code, which made for an excellent cross curricular history and maths afternoon.
Jane Grubb, Dunhurst Head, said:
“Hands-on activities have given pupils a fantastic understanding of World War II and particularly the impact of war on children. This has stimulated topic work in different subjects, with children developing skills in analysis, assessing the reliability of evidence, chronology and understanding cause and consequence. Our approach enables pupils to hone these valuable skills in an area that has particularly sparked their interest through an individual research investigation at the end of the topic.”