Primary Primary History Primary PSHE

Lesson ideas to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday

In April, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 90th birthday and whilst many who reach that age like to reminisce about their lives, the whole country did just that on the queen’s special day with plenty of documentaries showing the life of our monarch in detail. The celebrations are sure to continue right the way through the year and especially on the Queen’s official birthday on the 11th of June. In this series of activities we look at the changing times through the Queen’s reign and how we can celebrate the Queen’s 90th year in school.

 

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Activity One – Queen’s Birthday Party

Suitable for Years 3 to 6

Learning Objectives: 

  • To recognise the school’s place in the local community and help it become an active member
  • To plan and deliver a birthday party for the Queen’s birthday

There’s nothing better than a party to celebrate a birthday and no party is fun without special guests. In this activity, the school and your class gets a chance to reach out to the community of which it is a part and find out more about life there during the reign of the Queen.

The class are going to organise a party with tea, sandwiches and cakes and invite people who are 90 years old or more from the community. You could find these from local care homes or through Age UK at www.ageuk.org.uk/

You can arrange some entertainment for them in the form of the school choir or recorders group or make the visitors perform for their tea by getting them to tell groups of pupils about their memories of the queen over the 90 years. Don’t forget to photograph the event for the school records!

The activity can involve maths in calculating how much food is required and what it’s going to cost. Science can be involved in healthy eating as well as irreversible changes in cooking. English and art get a look in with menus and invitations and speaking and listening skills can be practised in phoning the care homes to make arrangements and in welcoming the guests to the party.

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Activity Two – Queen’s Birthday Mural in School

Suitable for Years 3 to 6

Learning Objective:

  • To understand why we mark important occasions
  • To help produce a school-wide recognition of the Queen’s 90th year

Ask the pupils if they can remember a big event in the life of the school. It could be an anniversary since it opened or the opening of a new building. How was it celebrated? Sometimes a tree is planted, sometimes a plaque is put up. Why do we do this? Now ask them what they think might be appropriate to mark the queen’s 90th birthday. One of the most common answers is likely to be to make a cake or to send her a gift. Both of these can be done neatly, and metaphorically, with a pebble mural that each child in the school contributes to.

For this, you’ll need to find a flat area which can be elevated slightly or even vertical. You’ll need a bag of cement or tile adhesive and lots of small pebbles which can be collected from the beach (if one nearby) or from a builders’ merchant. Ask each pupil to decorate a pebble and to add their name. Once they are all completed, draw a design of a birthday cake where the installation will be situated and layer the pebbles in band of colours like a cake. Once completed, the installation will need to be sprayed with sealer or exterior varnish to preserve it. Make sure you annotate it with a plaque, photograph it and send a copy to the queen!

Activity Three – Decade Wheel

Suitable for Years 3 to 6

Learning Objective:

  • To identify important events in the decades of the queen’s life
  • To create a collage of photographs of events over the last 90 years to help celebrate the Queen’s life

This is a great visual activity and involves creating a large circle of card, as big as you think necessary, perhaps with a picture of the queen in the middle. Divide the circle into nine sectors and label each with the decade of the queen’s life. Now either by finding pictures on the internet or drawing and colouring their own, make a collage of pictures of events from those decades, accompanied by a picture of the queen in that decade. The finished article could be displayed in the school entrance or hall.

 

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Activity Four – The Next Decade

Suitable for Years 3 to 6

Learning Objective:

To be able to write using the future tense

To be able to identify possible events that may happen in the next decade and how the Queen may be involved in them

Look at recent news articles about what the Queen has been doing. Where has she visited, what has she done? From this, ask the pupils to think about what the Queen might do in the next ten years. Are there anniversaries of events she will be involved in? Perhaps the 30th anniversary of the invasion of the Falkland Islands in 2017 or 100 years since the end of the First World War in 2018 or, further ahead, the Queen’s 75th year on the throne.

How will the Queen be involved? What might she do? Imagine you are a news reporter there on the day, describing the event and what the Queen did, how she was dressed and even refer to how she coped with the events given her age. The pupils can do this as a ‘to camera’ report, a written report or by piecing together pictures from a similar event or the original event to make a ‘newsreel’ which they can narrate.

As an extension or alternative activity, they could simply imagine the event in the future and write it in the future tense.shutterstock_106047695

Activity Four – History With A Royal Touch

Suitable for Years 4 to 6

Learning Objective: To look at historical events from a different perspective

To recognise the importance of the queen’s role in events of the last 90 years

The Queen is often seen marking the anniversaries of historical events but, given her longevity, many of the events were ones that she experienced herself. Recently we have heard of what the Queen did during the Second World War as a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service but what were her experiences of other events in the history of the 20th and 21st centuries?

What did she do in the sixties during Beatlemania and the hippy era? Where was she when the Berlin Wall fell or when the Gulf War started? We can use the Queen’s experiences to help pupils look at historical events from a different perspective.

Choose a major event from the last 90 years. Find out what the queen and the royal family were doing at the time. How did the events affect them? Did any of her children join the armed forces in a war? Did the Queen do anything to impact on the effects of the event? As an example, you could use the Second World War. The queen was 13 years old at the start of the Second World War; how was she affected in those early days or during the Blitz? Did she stay in London or was she an evacuee?

The tasks will require some research and, when writing about the events, some empathy from the pupils as to how the Queen might have been feeling.

London during World War II

 

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