IWM launches free online learning resource to coincide with the centenary of The Battle of the Somme

28 April 2016 | Liz Robertson

To coincide with the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, the IWM has produced a new free online learning resource for schools to explore the film The Battle of the Somme.

This new resource gives pupils an opportunity to use excerpts from the film, as original source material, for an historical enquiry into injury, treatment and the trenches in the First World War. Also included in the resource are a range of sources from the IWM collection to help pupils find out more, such as an audio account from British Signaller, Leonard Ounsworth, and the painting The Doctor by CRW Nevinson. Each source is presented with enquiry based question for pupils to answer. Objects from the IWM collection have been bought together with the film The Battle of the Somme to give a greater understanding of injury and treatment in the First World War, in the context of the Battle if the Somme.

Research looking at teacher needs, and the changes to the History GCSE syllabus (2016), revealed that there is a call for resources that address the skills required of History students as well as provide contextual information. A key requirement of the GCSE History curriculum is that students develop the skills to analyse and evaluate sources, with specific questions addressing these skills in the exam. This is a new approach for the IWM online learning resources, giving students the opportunity to develop these skills, analysing and evaluating sources, as well as providing historical context (using the IWM collections).

With this in mind, the new resource looking at the film, The Battle of the Somme, has been developed as an enquiry based resource asking the question: How useful is the film Battle of the Somme for an enquiry into injury treatment and the trenches in the First World War?

The resource is free to use, with a powerpoint and transcript of the audio available to download for teachers to use in the classroom.

Feedback from teachers has been very positive:

Really good…. [I] like the range of sources, the info. They are thought provoking, using active learning.”

These are very useful (pictures of shell & field dressing pack). The content and the way it is set out works, it is very useful. It’s also interesting.”

Really clever idea. Great to have original footage, the WOW factor.”

This is great. I would definitely use it with my year 10 class

To find out more about the free online learning resources for schools produced by the IWM, visit http://www.iwm.org.uk/history/learning-resources  Here you will find other resources for teachers such as Living in the Trenches; The Western Front; How did people share their traditions during the First World War?