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Hampshire Museums

Home Front Christmas session plan

The session is linked to Unit 9 of the QCA Scheme of Work for History at KS2, “What was it like for children in the Second World War?”

Organisation

  • During the session you will need to divide into 5 groups and these will rotate around the activities.
  • When doing group work the Interpreter-Demonstrator will oversee the session but adult helpers will lead each individual group.
  • It is useful for the Interpreter-Demonstrator if your pupils are wearing name stickers.

Session objectives

  • To give pupils the opportunity to explore aspects of Christmas on the Home Front through visual, audio and kinaesthetic means.
  • To use a range of resources – objects, photographs, sounds and smells to find out about life on the Home Front during WW2.
  • To give pupils the opportunity to handle objects from the period.
  • To enable pupils to ask and answer questions and to select and interpret information.

Session outline

Introduction

  • Welcome to Aldershot Military Museum and the session.
  • Explanation of the session objective - to find about what Christmas was like for people during WW2, and by extension look at what life was like on the Home Front.
  • Introduction to the activities the pupils will be engaged in.
  • Run through of health and safety, facilities and the handling rules for our collection.

Activities

Pupils will then divide into their five groups and rotate around the following activities. As the groups are moving from activity to activity they have the chance to spot highlighted relevant items from the museum collection.

  1. Make Do and Mend Decorations
    As well as making do and mending old clothes, people had to do the same when it came to decorations. In this activity the group will make Christmas decorations using card, old material and ribbon.
  2. A Long Way from Home
    As well as men being away fighting and children and teachers being evacuated, lots of other people were away from home helping on the home front in other ways, especially women. In this activity the children will be given 4 information cards about peoples away from home at Christmas. They will need to match the people to a smell, a sound and a picture.
  3. Just What I Wanted
    Christmas shopping must have been very difficult during the war: food was rationed, clothes were rationed and there weren’t many luxury items for sale. In this activity the children will be given 5 information cards about family members. They can choose a present for each person from objects in the museum collection.
  4. Best Wishes
    In this activity the children imagine that they have been evacuated. Their Dad is away in the Army, fighting in France. The people that they are staying with have given them 9d (nine pence) to send a telegram to him. The group need to work out how many words they can send him and then write a telegram on one of the telegram forms.
  5. Can we make some Fairy Cakes?
    There are so many people in your street with family members away in the war. Several of you have decided to have a Christmas Party. In this activity the pupils work out how they can pool their rationing cards to get enough ingredients together to make the food, whilst ensuring that everyone has enough food left for the rest of the week.

Conclusion and Hampton Pie

The class will then come back together with the Interpreter-Demonstrator for a plenary. In 1942 the Ministry of Food published a leaflet recommending Hampton Pie as an evening meal to make for Christmas Eve. Mrs Cox is planning her Christmas menus and is making sure she buys all she needs, including the ingredients for Hampton Pie. She has some of the ingredients but she would like some help to find the other ingredients hidden in the Local History Gallery. The class must find these and then come back together to discuss what they have learned about Christmas on the Home Front.

 

You will shortly be visiting Aldershot Military Museum for two hours to support the delivery of a session called Home Front Christmas. This session has been devised and developed especially for Key Stage 2 pupils.

will be leading a small group of pupils as they try a range of activities in the museum; an Interpreter-Demonstrator will oversee the session and support you.

On arrival the Interpreter-Demonstrator will meet you and introduce you to the museum and give you a brief introduction to the activities you will be involved in.

Your group of pupils will rotate around the following activities in any order. Each activity has a brief instruction sheet with it. The Interpreter-Demonstrator will be on hand to offer support.

Best Wishes

Pupils are asked to write a telegram to someone fighting in France. They have 9d to spend, which limits their words.

  • Can we make some fairy cakes?
    An activity looking at pooling ration cards together to make sure there is enough of all the ingredients to make cakes for the whole street.
  • Make Do and Mend
    Using the materials provided, have a go at a make do and mend decoration.
  • Just What I Wanted!
    Match 5 people with 5 presents (objects from our museum collections).
  • A Long Way from Home
    Information cards about 4 people will match up to a sound, smell and picture for each one. Can you get each one correct?

Conclusion and Hampton Pie

This will be done as a whole class plenary at the end. This was a recommended wartime recipe for Christmas. Pupils will need to find the missing ingredients for the recipe from the museum collection. The group will then have the chance to briefly discuss what they have learned about Christmas on the Home Front.

 

Pre-visit

Aldershot has been the home of the British Army for a long time; discuss this with your pupils and see if they think people were evacuated to the area or away from it.

Ask your pupils to imagine that you are going to be evacuated as a class, as many children were. How could that help you in your new life in a new area? Do they think it was a good idea for classes to be evacuated together? Why/why not?

If they were evacuated, how could they keep in touch with their families – list all the different ways. Which of these methods of communication were available during WWII?

Post-visit

Make Do and Mend is a famous wartime slogan – you can discuss what it means and whether you think it was a good idea during the war. Is it similar to Reduce Reuse Recycle today? You can look at www.recycling-guide.org.uk/rrr.html to compare the two ideas.

 
 

Important information

This is a two hour session for one class (up to 35 pupils) of KS2 children.

We request 5 adult helpers for this session.

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