The Battle of Waterloo

Teachers' notes, activities and linked resources

Curriculum links:

KS3 English
Reading – Understand increasingly challenging texts;
Writing - Summarising and organising material, and supporting ideas and arguments with any necessary factual detail

KS3 History
Ideas, political power, industry and empire: Britain, 1745-1901 - Consequences of the Industrial Revolution

Aims of resource:

To provide an overview of the Battle of Waterloo using museum objects.

Learning objectives:

Knowledge of the Battle of Waterloo and related sources 
Understanding of how the Battle of Waterloo fits into the 1745-1901 period and wider British history
Skills to construct an argument using historical facts

Discussion ideas:

  • Why do you think the Battle of Waterloo was an important moment in British history?
  • How important is it compared to other historical events? Choose an event you think might be more important and explain why.
  • Why do you think other European countries wanted to stop Napoleon from expanding French territory?
  • In what sort of ways might the Napoleonic Wars have affected ordinary people?
  • What do you know about the Industrial Revolution in Britain?
  • Why do you think many British people wanted to remember the Battle of Waterloo?
  • How accurately do you think the battle is presented in the children's book published in 1890 (see images of the book)?
  • How is history presented in some of the fiction books you have read?

Activity ideas:

  • Compare sources: Look at the illustrations of the Battle of Waterloo from the 1891 picture book and Cruikshank engravings. Contrast these with other representations of the battle, like the 1913 film clip ( see link at bottom of page).

    - How reliable are these as sources about the battle and why?
    - What do they say about the different armies?
    - Do they miss out any information?
    - What devices do these sources use to persuade people of a certain opinion?

  • Write and illustrate a children's history book on an event in history pupils have studied.
    - Are there differing views about what happened?
    - Which point of view will you take? 
    - Which sections of the story are most important?
    - How will your images show the events/people involved?

  • Construct an argument: Dividing the class into around five groups, assign a different reason why the Battle of Waterloo was important to Britain to each group, for example:

    - Military - ending war in Europe for 99 years
    - Economic – allowing Britain to recover from high taxation during wartime
    - Politically – preventing revolution from occurring in Britain
    - Historically – as a significant moment in British history

    The groups must gather supporting information, using this resource and exploring other sources. 

View other relevant My Learning resources or scroll down for a list of links and resources on this topic.

Document icon Learning article provided by: Leeds Museum Discovery Centre |  Royal Armouries Museum | 
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