A recent trip to London’s impressive Imperial War Museum helped bring World War I and II to life for Harrow Way Year 8 History students. The Museum, with its incredible collection of objects, gave students a unique insight into the wars as they explored human stories of the time, discovering how the conflicts shaped today’s world.

Commenting on why she places high value on such field trips, Curriculum Leader for History Christina Brown said: “Nothing we can do in the classrooms here at Harrow Way can ever demonstrate so effectively what life would have been like for those men fighting in these dreadful wars and for the families they left behind living in conditions unimaginable to the average 12-13 year old of today. However, having immersed themselves in the exhibitions and artefacts at the Museum the students definitely have a greater sense of the war, as they were able to see it through the eyes of those who lived it.

“Despite the very serious nature of the visit we do like to keep things interesting and to avoid the students wandering around all day clutching clipboards and worksheets; we decided to give them a series of challenges such as photograph the spitfire, find the ‘Baghdad car’ and find the weirdest item they can. What this encouraged the students to do is look beyond the obvious and use their investigative skills to identify the not-so-ordinary and the unusual.”

The students took the opportunity to investigate the First World War galleries, where they were also able to walk through a trench system and investigate uniform and equipment worn by the soldiers. Other floors of the museum offered the opportunity to look at more recent conflict and the victims, both young and old and in the Lord Ashcroft gallery they discovered the stories of people that have been awarded medals for bravery; both the Victoria and George Cross.

Ben Purser, a Year 8 student said: “It was a fantastic day as it’s a different way of learning about History than just being in a classroom.’ Emily Humphrey Year 8 said: “It made the realities of war very clear to me. I’m so glad I wasn’t alive then to witness it.”

While up in London the History students also had a quick peak at the London Dungeon. Something to consider ahead of them starting crime and punishment when they go on to complete GCSE History and a fun and engaging way to investigate the history of London.