Benin c. CE 900 - 1300
Evidence

How do we know about Benin? What evidence survives from a thousand years ago to tell us about this civilisation on the west coast of Africa? In this block you will find out about different types of evidence and how reliable they are.

Session 1 Introduction to sources

Objectives

History

  • Study a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history – Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300.
  • Understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.

English

  • Participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role-play, improvisations and debates.

Teaching and Activities

Work out what different types of sources exist to help us understand the past. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To evaluate different sources of evidence about the past.
  • To communicate opinions about the usefulness of different sources of evidence.

Children will:

  • Evaluate the reliability of different types of historical evidence.
  • Back up their arguments about the reliability of the evidence with informed opinions.
  • Take part in class discussions.

Provided Resources

  • Sources of evidence about Benin
  • Questions about the evidence
  • Voting cards

You Will Need

You do not need any particular resources for this session.

Session 2 Oral history

Objectives

History

  • Study a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history – Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300.
  • Understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources; Children should regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance.

English

  • Participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role-play, improvisations and debates.

Teaching and Activities

Re-enact some of the myths of the Edo people about how the kingdoms of Ife and Benin had come into being and discuss how reliable these stories are.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To investigate how true some of the oral histories are.
  • To role play some of the oral histories of the Edo speaking people.

Children will:

  • Assess the reliability of oral histories.
  • Act out a story from another culture.

Provided Resources

  • Oral histories of Benin
  • Other evidence related to the stories

You Will Need

You do not need any particular resources for this session.

Session 3 Written evidence

Objectives

History

  • Study a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history – Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300.
  • Understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.
  • Regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance.

English

  • Participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role-play, improvisations and debates.

Teaching and Activities

Learn how the earliest written evidence about Benin comes from the period when Europeans came. Before that there were no written records, so how useful are they in helping our understanding the earlier period?

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To explore the earliest European writing about Benin.
  • To act out the events in the sources.

Children will:

  • Answer questions about historical sources.
  • Assess the reliability of sources.
  • Take part in role-plays.

Provided Resources

  • What Europeans wrote about Benin
  • Questions about the sources
  • Quotes from the oral histories to contrast with European quotes

You Will Need

You do not need any particular resources for this session.

Session 4 Archaeology

Objectives

History

  • Study a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history – Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300.
  • Understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.
  • Regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance.

English

  • Identify the audience for and purpose of writing, selecting the appropriate form and using other similar writing as models for their own.

Teaching and Activities

Find out what archaeologists have discovered about Benin and how it compares to the oral and written evidence. Is archaeology more or less reliable than other forms of evidence?

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To find out what archaeologists have found in Benin.
  • To write a poster, letter, blog post or other text comparing the sources of evidence about Benin.

Children will:

  • Understand how archaeology works.
  • Assess what the archaeological sites and objects tell us about Benin.
  • Write effectively for a specific audience and purpose.

You Will Need

You do not need any particular resources for this session.

Session 5 Benin City

Objectives

History

  • Study a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history – Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300.
  • Understand how knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.
  • Construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information.

D&T

  • Generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through discussion, annotated sketches, cross-sectional and exploded diagrams, prototypes, pattern pieces and computer-aided design.
  • Select from and use a wider range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their functional properties and aesthetic qualities.

Teaching and Activities

Make models of the city of Benin, based on all the sources they have come across so far.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To make a model of Benin City based on various sources of evidence.
  • To design and make a model of Benin City.

Children will:

  • Use evidence from sources to make a reconstruction model.
  • Generate and develop ideas for a model from discussion.

You Will Need

  • Modelling clay/FiMo™/Modroc™
  • Mosaic tiles
  • Wooden dowels/pencils
  • Masking tape
  • Video or audio enabled devices

Weblinks

There are no weblinks needed for this session.