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HISTORY MYSTERY The Great Fire of London 1666 - Primary evidence detectives!

Grade Levels
4th - 9th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • Zip
13 pages
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  1. Grab a bargain - History Mystery lessons for less! (Over 20% off actually!)This bundle contains lessons to help your students deduce, infer and evaluate arguments and evidence. They are suitable for middle and high school and have been a great success in my and others' classrooms. I will be crea
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This lesson asks the big question 'why did the Great Fire of London Spread so far and so fast in 1666?'. Your students have to evaluate the evidence available to decide what they think was the biggest contributing factor. Students have to infer and reach a reasoned judgement based on the evidence at hand. This includes primary sources and secondary reports.

The class works in pairs or groups to decide why the Great Fire of London was able to spread so far in such a short space of time. They assess the evidence to decide whether the main reason was:

-Human mistakes,

-Weather conditions


-Firefighting equipment.

The evidence is not given to them all at once, instead the teacher drip feeds it throughout the lesson. This is in a bid to challenge preconceived ideas and see if pupils will change their minds when faced with new data or sources.

The lesson also works well as a station activity with the children moving around the room to gather information.

The last task is to write an extended piece (like a DBQ) explaining what the different factors were and what they believe was the biggest contributing factor to the fire spreading in this way.

The video clip that I use when teaching this is from the BBC drama 'Charles II The Power and the Passion' which is available on iPlayer. You can also use this from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acyERCXJF-o

The lesson fits with the common core requirement for students to analyze, evaluate and consider causation. The grade descriptors are skill based ie: identify, then describe then explain then evaluate at the top end of ability.

The zip file contains:

- fully animated and annotated PowerPoint

- Clues from the scene worksheet

- Answer worksheet

- A link to relevant video clips

- Full lesson plan description

This is a fun and memorable lesson that can be taught as a stand alone or as part of a project for example on Stuart housing. I have had teachers tell me that they used this to create a whole day of historical enquiry.

I hope you find this useful and enjoyable. If you do, please check out my other enquiry lessons like this on various topics and I even have a growing bundle of them in my store.

You may also like my other History Mysteries:

Tolland Man Murder Mystery

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And if you are interested in literacy for history:

PEEL paragraph Placemat

Click here




This download (free or purchased) is for your own personal use in your classroom or your home. Please do not share my resources with others unless given explicit consent by me. Please direct them to my store instead. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Ms-Hughes-Teaches

This download MAY NOT be used in whole or in part on any distance learning course platforms including, but not exclusive to, Outschool or Udemy.

You may not share this download. You may not alter any item in this download, resell and claim as your own work. Similarly, you may not sell or share these resources with anyone and you may not use the contents of this download to create anything for commercial purposes or other commercial products. If you are an education board or school and would like to use my resources district wide, please contact me about licensing.

© A. Hughes (MsHughesTeaches), 2014 All rights reserved.



Stuarts Tudors Kings Queens Britain Pepys evidence sources history

Total Pages
13 pages
Answer Key
Does not apply
Teaching Duration
90 minutes
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