The French Revolution remains a source of fascination for people of all ages. Marking the beginning of the democratic European society that we know now, an understanding of the events of 1789 and their aftermath is vitally important to children's understanding of modern politics and sociology. There are numerous ways in which to expand and develop this understanding through the use of interesting projects both inside and outside of the classroom.
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Language based projects are particularly helpful when it comes to expanding children's in-depth knowledge of the French Revolution. Individually, children can create newspapers detailing events such as the storming of the Bastille and the execution of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, or write personal diaries by participants on either side of the dispute. As a class, pupils could also create biographies and a timeline of events for display in the classroom.
Art and crafts
The French Revolution began on July 14th 1789, when rioters stormed the Bastille prison. This famous event can provide the basis of a major craft project, such as the creation of dioramas depicting the events of the day. Other famous symbols of the Revolution, for example the guillotine, tricolour flags or Phrygian caps, can be created using craft materials with pupils using these activities to learn the reasons behind their meaning. If covering the end of the Revolution, pupils can also make Napolean hats.
Media and music
In 1792, with France at war with Austria, the tune now known as 'La Marseillaise' was composed to encourage the country's troops. A class project in which children learn to play the song together can serve as the backdrop for an exploration of the middle years of the Revolution. Children can also use the Kirsten Dunst-starring film "Marie Antoinette" as inspiration to create fashion catalogues based on the era, thereby learning more about sociological aspects of the Revolution.
Drama and role play
The inherent drama found within such a major historical event provides ample opportunity for group drama projects. A long-term project can involve children working in groups to create scripts and perform short plays based on their own research of the Revolution. Pupils can also work in pairs to develop short role-plays together, dramatising important moments through the years of revolution.
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