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History uncovered by the recent drought!

Some love it, some hate it but the hot weather is here and for historians it’s throwing up some glimpses of buried treasures… People are likening this year’s drought to the long hot summer of 1976 and while we stifle and can’t sleep, the hot weather is doing a terrific job in giving us a

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Historic children’s games you probably played growing up

Long before the days of games consoles and mobile phones, children were much more active and primary school playgrounds across the land were full different games being played. Running about with friends burned off some of the energy stored and songs were sung, building to a crescendo and impending, dramatic doom in some cases. But we

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Who are European History’s most interesting women?

Women have shaped Europe’s history just as much as men, some might argue even more so, with some going it alone when it was not even thought about. Here we look at five women who are very different, from different times but who have left their mark: Joan of Arc (1412-31) From humble beginnings as

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Five bizarre facts from history

Children love history because it is endlessly fascinating, made up of the actions of people and events from the past. One aspect of the subject that always captures pupils’ imaginations are the many bizarre stories from history. Here are five of our favourites: 1. The Leaning Tower of Pisa has never stood straight The world’s

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Surprising facts about the Romans you (probably) didn’t know

Children love the Roman period – there are so many fun and interesting things to learn. Historians and archaeologists are still discovering new evidence about Roman Britain. Here’s 3 surprising facts about ancient Romans: 1. Not all Romans spoke Latin The Roman Empire stretched from Britain to modern day Syria and at its pomp contained

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12 terrifying facts about the T-Rex

Children are fascinated by dinosaurs. They love learning about all the different species that existed across the Mesozoic Era – their outlandish looks and sheer size simply fascinate young minds. That is why we have a number of courses on dinosaurs and fossils aimed at children in Reception all the way through to pupils in the

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Six facts about teacher workload

We know only too well the pressures hard-working teachers are under and the hours they dedicate to ensuring their pupils get the best education possible. But just how much work do teachers put in?  We took a look at the most recent Teacher Workload Survey – published by the Department of Education last year – which

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Fun ways to inspire children with history

A key reason why we originally established Portals to the Past was because we simply love inspiring children. There is nothing more motivating for a teacher than seeing a child’s eyes light up as they are learning, and that is what we aim to do with every lesson we deliver – to leave children buzzing

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Our historian on Channel 4

We often like to brag a little about how our historians have been featured in the likes of ‘Horrible Histories’ and ‘Blue Peter’ throughout the years… We’re now delighted to announce that our historian, Dan Shadrake, has worked on the highly anticipated documentary ‘Hannibal’s Elephant Army,’ airing this Sunday on Channel 4. Dan leant his

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What is the history behind the calendar?

As we start a new year and look forward to what’s ahead, it is interesting to consider the history of calendars and timekeeping – and how we have reached the present day system of recording time through days, weeks and months. Days, months and years The earliest calendars date back to the Bronze Age with

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10 great lesson ideas and tips for primary school teachers…. as seen on Pinterest

Teachers thrive on new ideas in order to keep their lessons fresh and engaging. We think the Pinterest website is a great resource of such ideas – with onward links to many helpful websites to inspire you. Here are ten great lesson ideas and teacher’s tips gleaned from Pinterest: 1. Spelling Jenga We love this

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The bullet-proof vest – centuries apart but the same design?

Having trained and worked as a designer for years… I’m always amazed at how some things go full circle, even if separated by centuries. For instance, the small armour plate that protected the front and back of an infantryman, from the days of the Etruscans, through to the Roman republic – the bronze Cardiophylax armour

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Is teaching a vocation?

It is often said that teaching is a vocation… And it’s a description that we are Portals to the Past fully subscribe to! More than an occupation By using the word vocation, people typically mean that teachers have a calling to their particular profession – a strong urge to do what they do. I would

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Surprising facts about ancient Egypt you – probably – didn’t know

Ancient Egypt is one of the most evocative periods of history that schoolchildren learn about. But even now, thousands of years after the time, we are still learning new things about how people lived. 1. Not everyone was mummified after they died Think of ancient Egypt and the scary image of a mummy springs to

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Which type of learner are you?

All of our time travellers are passionate about educating and inspiring the young people they encounter. As we are engaged in the activity of education, we therefore take an avid interest in the ways children take information on board and assimilate it. Different learning styles It is widely accepted that individuals differ in how they

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Four historical ‘facts’ we were taught at school that are not true

Not all the history we learnt at school was factually correct. Through misinformation, propaganda, cultural superiority and downright lies some historical truisms that have been passed down through the ages, we now know to be false. Here’s four historical ‘facts’ that are actually not true: Christopher Columbus did not discover America Schoolchildren are often told

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How important is it to have a passion for what you teach?

We don’t just teach the past, we live and breathe it. If there is one thing that all members of the Portals to the Past team have in a common – it’s a passion for their subject and a desire to instil that passion in the young people they teach. Living and breathing the past

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