August: Starting the IB history programme, site update and interesting articles

Sunday 11 August 2019

Some teaching ideas for your new IB history students, site update and some interesting articles!

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Introducing the IB History programme

Many of us are starting the new school year this month and will be teaching one or more new classes of IB history students.

We have some suggestions on this site for activities that you might consider doing with your new classes to introduce them to this subject:

Several of the themes under our TOK pages would also work well as an introduction to the study of history and we have just added two pages which students might find interesting to get them thinking about wider historical issues – one on the moon landings and one on the role of historians and the issue of what history they should learn at school:

Another topic that might be worth discussing with students at the start of this course is the issue of where they get their information from online and how they verify this information; this is of course key for all of their studies – and for life in general!

This is a good video by John Green to introduce this topic. He highlights many points which might encourage students to question their internet sources. This is the first video of a series and the other ones are just as good.

Site update

In addition to the TOK pages above, we have started a new topic for Paper 3 European region: Topic 18: Post war Central and Eastern Europe, 1945 to 2000:

We have also added more on the end of the Cold War to Topic 12:

Interesting articles this month

In March, we highlighted interesting articles on women who have played a key role in science and maths, including those who worked at NASA. The anniversary of the moon landings has led to more articles being published about the women behind the moon landings, and also the fight for women to get equality in the space race.

Without these women, man would not have walked on the moon (the Guardian)

Numerous unsung women, from computer engineers and mathematicians to secretaries and seamstresses, helped put a man on the moon. Here are the stories of some of those women.

A Woman on the Moon and Equality on Earth (Council on Foreign Relations)

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and push toward a new frontier in space exploration, it is time to ensure women are equal partners in STEM and space.

With the anniversary of the Versailles Treaty this year, this is an article setting out the historical debate regarding the impact of its 'harsh' terms:

What if the Allies had been more generous in 1919? (The Economist)

In 1919, the world spent six months talking about peace. Did the resulting treaty really make another war inevitable?

This is an interesting article for students covering Empires in their studies; also interesting for students thinking about studying History at university and looking for thought provoking articles and books to help them with applications and/or interviews:

Are Empires Always Bad? | History Today (

Stereotyping ‘empire’ as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is not only deeply flawed and ahistorical, but also misses the fact that a wide range of types of state are bundled under this heading. The ‘Aztec empire’, for example, wasn’t really an empire in the sense that is often imagined: it was a cluster of allied and subject states, bound together in a network of power and tribute relationships. When Cortés arrived in Mexico in 1519, he believed that the Aztecs of Tenochtitlan ruled an ‘empire’. The reality was much more unstable and complex.




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