KS1 & KS2 Teachers' Notes
Running parallel to this site is a version for students at KS3 and adults, with accompanying notes for teachers.
These notes are designed as a guide to the Gunpowder, Treason
and Plot website and its use in the classroom.
The website is packed with archival material - documents,
journals, engravings, paintings and more, making it the ideal
basis for historical study. Researched and written by historical
and educational experts, the material is trustworthy and authoritative.
The site is particularly suited to use with whiteboards.
Key Stage 1 (or children aged approx
4 to 7 yrs)
Key Stage 2 (or children aged approx
7 to 11 yrs)
Key Stage 1
Gunpowder, Treason and Plot was designed for a KS2 audience,
but nevertheless contains a range of engaging material suitable
for use with younger children. Here are some suggestions to
start you off.
The story in pictures
The website is structured around a set of playing cards from
the late 1600s. Their beautiful illustrations tell the whole
story, from the plotters' huddle in an inn to the firework
displays of the present day.
the playing cards to use as a basis for sequencing activities,
storytelling, writing or artwork. Can children invent a game
based on the cards?
Our interactive version of The
Gunpowder Conspirators engraving by Crispijn van de Passe
lets children zoom into and around the picture to find out
about the plotters and their backgrounds.
Give children an idea of what Parliament is, and place the
buildings in their historical context with the Parliament
then and now drag and drop activity.
Bring the story of the Monteagle letter to life by showing
children the original letter,
along with a transcript and portrait of Monteagle. The letter
makes a wonderful stimulus for drama and literacy work as
well as history, and even PSHE. It raises question such as:
- Why isn't it signed?
- Who could it be from?
- What does an anonymous note conjure up?
- Should you believe what somebody says if they don't sign
- How can you tell it's old?
- Can you read the writing?
One of the surviving artefacts from the time of the Plot
is Guy Fawkes' lantern. Use this drag and drop interactive to get children thinking about the survival of such an item
and the differences between old and new.
Fawkes' capture is portrayed in this amazingly dramatic
painting by Henry Perronet Briggs, dating back to 1823.
The picture could be used as a basis for children's own paintings
and raises interesting questions about the painter's imagined
scenario, 200 years after the fact.
Fireworks and the 'Remember, remember chant'
Make the connection between celebrations in the 1600s with
Bonfire Night as it is now with this selection
of imagery. Children can also listen to the full version
of the famous 'Remember, remember the 5th of November' chant
on this page.
This website can be used to teach the National Curriculum
for England's Programmes of Study for KS1 History 1a and b;
2a; 3; 4a and b; 6d. The site could also be used to support
the teaching of English, Art and ICT.
Key Stage 2
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot website is designed for children
at KS2. Beginning with the religious and political tensions
leading up to the plot, the site goes on to cover the central
characters involved and the dramatic events of 1605. The site
ends by making the connection between firework celebrations
in 1605 and Bonfire Night as we celebrate it now.
The Gunpowder Plot is fraught with obvious parallels to religious
divides and terrorism in the 21st century. We have deliberately
avoided making those connections in the text of the website
so that teachers and parents retain control over whether or
not to address the issues with children.
Many of the events of 1605, and the wars leading up to them,
were gruesome, bloody and violent. The contemporary illustrations
and narratives reflect that horror.
The website includes descriptions and pictures of religions
massacres, torture, and executions but does so in a sensitive
and straightforward way. It acknowledges children's fascination
with such subjects but places them in a respectful and educational
Archives and source material
The Gunpowder, Treason and Plot website contains a wide range
of original archival material, treated in a variety of ways.
Children can discover the meanings of symbols in paintings,
read and interpret surviving documentation and explore contemporary
illustrations to discover all sorts of fascinating facts.
The website contains a timeline enabling children to place the Gunpowder Plot into its historical context. Key dates from the Tudor and Victorian eras are included and the timeline extends to the present day.
We’ve created a timeline poster incorporating the information held in the interactive version. This can be downloaded and printed out at either A3 or A4 size, for use in lessons or classroom display.
In addition to the poster you can download a timeline factsheet. This presents the information in a Word document, allowing you to adapt it for your use in the classroom.
The site is structured around a set of 12 playing cards,
illustrated with scenes from the story. The cards are held
in The British Museum and date back to the late 1600s. Their
simple and evocative pictures make an easily accessible and
engaging way into the content. Children can read the cards
in order to read the story.
the cards to use as a basis for literacy, art, history
or drama work.
- Children could research and write biographies of Catesby,
Fawkes and the gang.
- Discuss what might have happened had the plotters succeeded.
- Find out as much as possible about the Monteagle letter
- was there a conspiracy?
- Imagine they were going to warn Monteagle - how might
they have done it differently?
- Use the artworks as a basis for art lessons - the picture
of fireworks on Card 12
is a particularly good stimulus for Bonfire Night art.
- Introduce the idea of propaganda using the two pictures
on the Wars, Massacres
and Murder page.
version of this site contains more detailed information
and a wider range of archival material, which may be suitable
for strong readers at the top end of KS2.
This website can be used to support the National Curriculum
for England's Programmes of Study for KS2 History 2a, b and
c and d; 3; 4a and b. The site would also make a rich resource
to support the teaching of Art, English and ICT.