War! What is it good for?

How has conflict shaped our world?

In Autumn 2017 the Class of 22 expedition was called War! What is it good for? This was a joint expedition between the Humanities and STEM team, covering History, English, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Statistics.

The learning targets were :

  • I can develop an informed personal response on a literary text.
  • I can explain the key events of World War One and empathise with a soldier’s perspective.
  • I can analyse the ways meaning is shaped in a selection of poems studied
  • I can analyse sources to show my understanding of historical interpretation
  • I can explore the impact of the scientific and technological advances of warfare.
  • I can utilise statistics and charts to determine the impact of a conflict


The immersion for this expedition was fieldwork to the War Museum in Leeds to study WW1 specifically and generate some enquiry questions for further engagement with the topic. Alongside this, students watched War Horse, considering what impact WW1 had on those who suffered it. Students also completed a gallery walk of a range of images connected to war and conflict, considering key notices and wonders.

The first case study was titled the “Great War” and focused on the events, figures and history of WW1. Areas covered were: the context of the times; the causes of the war; significant events that occurred in the conflict; how the war ended and the consequences of the conflict. This enabled students to develop their historical enquiry and research skills in readiness for Case Study Two. In addition, students studied The War of The Worlds by HG Wells which has a strong contextual link to the period. The text underpinned both case studies as students analysed this literary text in terms of its context and themes and how they related to the changing world at the beginning of the twentieth century, linking directly to the guiding question. Students also studied a range of war poems from the English Eduqas Anthology and they developed their skills with both poetry comparison, alongside how to apply inference and deduction to a text. The first case study culminated with the students creating 50 Poppies made with their war poetry, and installing them in the building for remembrance day.

Science interrogated the living conditions of WW1 soldiers in the trenches, by analysing text from soldiers diaries, newspapers and watching videos. They were able to identify how this affected the health of soldiers by listening to stories of giant rats, constant bombardment of artillery, trench foot from being unable to keep feet dry and Wiel’s Disease from the lice carried by the rats. Students compared the developments in medical technology from field hospitals, triage, sterile treatment of wounds, treatment for PTSD and the first facial plastic surgeries necessary because of the horrendous facial injuries suffered by the soldiers.

The third case study focused on refugees and immigrants, as the students had focused more on modern conflicts throughout the second case-study, creating a presentation about what the conflict involved and the impact that it had on the people that had to flee. Students interviewed refugees from the local centre, and from listening to their stories they recreated an article and a piece of artwork influenced by the refugees living in Doncaster. Students very sensitively linked science (homeostasis) with the refugee experiences and the effects on their bodies from not eating a balanced diet or going without food and water, living and travelling in extremes of temperatures and the emotional impact of stress on the body. Which they included in their article. Students shared and presented these stories during a final celebration of learning event which involved invited guests from the wider community, including some of the refugees and volunteers they had worked with to create their work. They worked closely with a number of experts, including real newspaper journalists, to support students in writing their articles.

For the discrete Maths case study (called Mostly Number) the students developed further their skill in number operations. There was a specific focus on fractions, decimals and percentages and their applications in problem solving.

All resources relating to this expedition can be found below:

Expedition Posts

C22 Final Product 1 – Poppies Display

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C22 Final Product 2 – Article

This expedition also took place in 2016/17 with different products…

C21 Gums, Germs and Steel final products – Infographics

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