Whilst starting to plan for our newest Silk Road unit in late 2019, I admit I was a little stuck on where to start. Aside from reading Peter Frankopan’s epic tome itself, I was unsure exactly what substantive content to include, what my EQ would be and of any real issues or misconceptions around teaching the topic.

I relied heavily on Tom Pattison’s (@mrpattisonteach) advice throughout my planning of our Silk Road Enquiry, and the idea came to be about having a useful crib sheet to those teachers like me who were new to a topic and had no idea where to start, and “An intro to…” came about during a sleepless night.

I hoped to create a simple point of reference for teachers to use when seeking to plan and delve into a new enquiry.

It would be great if we could pool the expertise of the history teaching community to create these.
Think about the topics you have studied in depth, know the big picture, the historiography and the misconceptions, possibilities and potential enquiries

There are a huge amount of topics that available from KS3-5, from large macro units to smaller focussed units, from the Russian Revolution, to the Black Tudors and the Black Death. Larger units can be broken down into smaller ‘Intro to…’ sections, for example the British Empire into British India, Ireland or even the East India Company itself.

Completed Intro To… sheets


I would emphasise the time these take to create and get these ‘right’, they are certainly not a rush job. I spent a good 2 evenings creating this Norman example, which I already want to amend. I scoured Teaching History, re-listened to the Marc Morris talk about “Why did the Norman Conquest matter? at the Historical Association Conference, re-looked at Hugh Richards piece about enquiries on One Big History Department and made notes on the core information students need. The hardest part, by far, was looking for historiography on the Norman Conquest aside from what I’ve read myself (which is not everything). A good place to start is obviously the Historical Association’s Polychronicon page, which in essential contains “What historians have been arguing about…” and recent scholarship on a range of topics. There are also a great selection of reading lists on the HA website and the OBHD blog has an excellent section which provides reviews from history teachers – great if you want to include these in your guide, or keep it up date with recent historiography.

Another idea is to collaborate with others to create these guides especially if you are not 100% confident in every part of the topic, twitter is full of knowledgeable teachers and a pair produced guide sounds great.

Please do take your time to do them justice 🙂

Getting involved

If you would like to get involved, please have at look at this Drive.
Feel free to edit the template and add/amend any sections accordingly
This is the Google Doc sign up sheet: LINK

This Google Drive folder contains all the of existing An Intro to sheets created so far. If you would like to add the ones you can have, you can drag and drop them into this folder
Importantly, I don’t have the expertise to check these over, so please double/triple check them before you share

An Intro To – Student Edition

Andrew Sweet (@AndrewSweet4) has remixed the original An Intro To sheet to create a brilliant student version to complete as a summary at the end of an enquiry. A clever idea to get the key takeaways from a unit, certainly a good idea for a lagged piece of homework. Thank you Andrew!

Download the example sheets below