This teaching resource is designed to teach children about the Bethnal Green underground shelter disaster of 1943. The lessons have been designed by a professional school teacher (at one of the schools who lost children in the disaster). They are planned to provide learning intentions, teaching material and activities for children between 8 and 12 years old but many of the activities and source materials can be adapted for use at any level.
The lesson pack begins by providing children with some context of World War II, within which the disaster happened. It then take the children on a journey of understanding about the Blitz and how people survived during the bombing campaign in London. It then looks more specifically at what happened on the night of 3 March 1943 and its consequences for the people and the community of Bethnal Green. Finally it leads children into thinking about how the disaster is being remembered today. We provide a range of resources, activities and worksheets that are linked to each lesson. We provide documents, images, maps and oral history clips for children to work on. We provide PowerPoint presentations, audio and images that can be used to deliver the lesson and suggest challenges that encompass a wide range of areas including art, design, critical thinking and drama. The lesson plans are designed to meet the demands of the National Curriculum local history element.
The teaching pack consists of the following elements, and all are free for educational use:
1. Teaching pack notes and lesson plans: this booklet gives an introduction to the resources, summary lesson plans and more detailed guidance notes for each lesson.
2. Worksheets: these are the all the printed resources mentioned in the lesson plans. They include reading materials, maps, images and answer sheets. They are clearly labelled according to each lesson and activity.
3. PowerPoint presentations and audio files to accompany each lesson (please note that note that some lessons do not include presentations/audio files).
In addition, more detailed information in the project Oral History book may be useful. Finally teachers may be interested in taking their class to the site of the disaster. The children's audio trail is 30 minutes long and can be downloaded to you own equipment or a set of 32 players borrowed from Bethnal Green Library (click here for more details).
Teaching pack downloads
We recommend downloading the whole pack in one file. For speed it is compressed into a special folder and your computer may require special software to open the folder once it is downloaded (such as express zip free)
If you prefer you can download the files individually, they are listed below. Click on each link below to download files one at a time. Please note you must read the teachers pack notes and lesson plans document - it fully explains what each lesson is about, the lesson resources alone won't make much sense without it! Not all lessons have worksheets/presentations/audio files, so don't be concerned if one or more of these are not present in any particular lesson.
teachers pack notes and lesson plans.pdf (read this document first)
all worksheets.pdf (in one file for ease of printing; we have also divided these up into different lessons below).
Lesson 1: context - World War II
Lesson 2: Bombing civilians
Lesson 3: The disaster - what happened?
Lesson 4: the inquest: what caused the disaster?
Lesson 5: Designing safe shelters
Lesson 6: The impact of the disaster
Lesson 7: memorials: why do we need to remember?