History's HEROES?

Teachers' section

About this site

This site asks the question, ‘What is a hero?'. It provides background information about a group of selected heroes, and it allows pupils to enter their own heroes. All of the resources and information are copyright cleared for non-commercial, educational use, to allow them to be downloaded, edited and used for teaching purposes. The site has been developed from material produced by schools and museums across the East of England region.

The site is divided into a number of sections:

Section 1: Heroes?

Here your pupils will find information on the life of 15 different people from different periods of history (from Roman times to WW2) who have been labelled as "heroes". The selection includes both men and women, from the UK and beyond. Some of those included may seem more heroic than others, and some are controversial. This is to encourage debate and consideration of exactly what it means to be a hero.

For each hero there is:

  • Who was he/she?: a brief overview of the ‘hero' 
  • His/her story: with audio reading, text and pictures 
  • His/her timeline: illustrating the main events in their life (including major historical events of the time) 
  • What he/she did: a section on what they achieved 
  • His/her world: background information on the world at the time in which they lived 
  • Views and opinions: comments from contemporaries or later historians about the ‘hero'
  • Was he/she a hero?: a chance to assess and vote on how heroic you think they were 
  • Your work: an area where pupils can put up their own work about this hero

Section 2: What is a Hero?

This section contains information and activities to help pupils explore some of the ideas related to heroism, such as: are heroes always strong and tough? Who are our personal heroes, and why? Did well-known heroes sometimes do things which people thought were bad? What is the difference between a celebrity and a hero?

The aim of this section is to encourage pupils to ask searching questions about heroism, and by extension, about their own values. The section is divided into the following areas:

What is a Hero Like?: asks pupils to think about and describe a "typical" hero, and to compare them with some of the 'heroes' on this site.
What Makes a Hero?: pupils think about what situations create heroes and ask the question, are there any characteristics that some people have that lead them to act in a heroic way?
Just how heroic?: encourages pupils to consider the actions, motivations and consequences of the heroes on the site, and their significance.
Who's your hero?: pupils think about their own heroes, and ask, are they really heroes, or just celebrities?
Hero or villain?: helps pupils understand that the significance of individuals can be interpreted in different ways.

Section 3: Your Hero

This section allows pupils to add their own heroes into the site. Their entries end up looking a bit like those in section 1. Pupils are given the opportunity to write about their hero's life, his or her world, what they achieved, reasons why they are a hero, and some quotations about them. Finally they can add some images, or other type of attachments, to their entry. 

Section 4: Tools

This section links to a number of Tools which are already on the E2BN site, including:

Make a speech: this offers pupils the chance to write and record a speech. It offers hints and tips along the way about how they can put their views across effectively.

A common characteristic of many people who are regarded as heroes is the ability to gain the support of others to a cause. This involves presenting arguments clearly and persuasively, which is a useful skill to have (and one that appears at least twice in the National Curriculum, in Citizenship and Literacy). This activity encourages pupils to think about the techniques and issues involved.

Picture Teller: this enables pupils to create simple movie clips.

Presenting information and arguments is a key element of using ICT. Using the tool Picture Teller in conjunction with this site offers a great opportunity for pupils to plan, write and create a visual narrative in favour of one of their "heroes". This will fit in with several strands within the National Curriculum: in Citizenship and Literacy, as well as in English and History.

Enigma Machine: this allows pupils to create codes. It is based on the German Enigma Machine which created codes, thought to be unbreakable. One of our heroes, Alan Turing, and his colleagues managed to break the codes during the Second World War. This activity is based on the use of logic.

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