Battle of Bannockburn in a Secondary School

Ruairidh Ross

31 Oct 2013

Our department believes strongly in bringing the past to life so in April 2013 we invited the Battle of Bannockburn Education Outreach Programme to our school.

The school runs a joint Social Subjects course so about half of the classes had studied the battle by this point.   Over a series of sessions across the day, the entire S1 learned about why the battle was fought; its consequences; the events that took place; made decisions about what they would have done during the Battle; got to see a short film that vividly depicted the Battle; saw and handled replica weapons and armour and dressed up in medieval costumes as chainmailed knights or peasant footmen.

In the weeks before and after the visit, subjects across the school used the battle and the events surrounding it to frame their lessons and lead to a great Interdisciplinary Learning project.  Home Economics analysed how many calories a Medieval soldier would need to march all day and still be strong enough to fight.  Modern Languages looked at the impact Norman knights had on Scottish language and culture.   English analysed Robert Burns’ poem Scots wha Hae and RME used the role of characters like Bishop Lamberton, who fought during the Wars of Independence, as a starting point to analyse the importance of Church figures in creating Scottish identity.

It was a great experience for the pupils. 

Comments from pupils:

  • We learned what kind of weapons they used and what they wore.
  • It was enjoyable!
  • It gave me a clear vision of what the battle would have been like.
  • I think everything they did was very good.
  • I found out that it was in other subjects like French, English and H E.  I thought it was good how they did that.
  • It really helped me understand the battle.
  • Very easy to understand and interesting.
  • I liked the style of learning.  I thought it was very helpful.
  • Educational and great fun!
  • When I got home that night I told my mum all about it.
  • I liked that we learned it in other subjects.
  • I think it was a good way to learn.
  • I really liked trying on the armour and looking at the swords, axes and arrows.
  • Enjoyable!
  • It was really awesome!

Ruairidh Ross,
Principal Teacher of History,
Elgin Academy

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