World War 2

Workshops for Schools
1940's Investigations

A sensitive, creative and questioning approach to the teaching of World War Two.

Wise buy for the Home Front

The workshops are run by Mr. Whitehead (circa 1940), who can answer appropriate questions and set out rules, facts etc from a 1940s viewpoint. However if addressed as 'Stephen', I can give different perspectives, offer currently relevant questioning and more information than the 1940s general public would have access to.

Mr. Whitehead is dressed as a 1940s civilian, including pockets full of money, paperwork, and small artefacts, (mostly original but some reproduction).

I can be questioned at any point as Mr.Whitehead or Stephen.

Mr. Whitehead (artist)- as a 1940s character, has a secret civilian job as a 'camoufleur'.

Specific Workshops based around his job

  • Hide and seek - Hide a factory: learning how to disguise a factory and painting plaster models to be hidden in school.
  • "What I have learned from Nature." - Why naturalists and 100s of artists were used to make things disappear, and why this is a key strategy in nature.
  • Construction of a 1:1 scale decoy Spitfire. - Please ask for details, as this is a large undertaking.

More general role play

  • 'Operation Pied piper' - What to pack, leaving home and writing your first letter home after evacuation, (on facsimile official evacuee postcard).
  • Fire Watch - Putting out a incendiary bombs as part of a fire watch team, with a stirrup pump. Participants use original equipment to tackle a simulated air raid. (background information and props re bombs, blackouts, shelters, the ARP and information on the bravery of a 14 yr. old girl, etc).

Stephen can also run workshops based on design and technology, citizenship, creative writing, research, scientific lab. and field testing of natural camouflage phenomena.

  • Making a gas mask and box
  • Activities based around looking at original magazines, photos and artefacts (German and British)
    • Propaganda
    • What story does an object tell?
    • 'The letters of Angelica and Peter'.
    • Compare and contrast 1940s and current artefacts
  • The end of WW2 and the Iron Curtain. What we have learned, the European Greenbelt - result of 'green diplomacy'.
  • Making 'room boxes' to tell stories and explain events
  • Reduce,reuse,recycle. 1940 and now
    • Make do and mend
    • COG salvage scheme
    • Is your journey really necessary
    • Spades not ships/ dig for victory

Supporting work

Additional documents, images, artefacts and ideas can be brought in to extend and integrate the teaching beyond the Day(s) work with Mr.Whitehead.

Teacher resources from a kit to make a cardboard based 1930s radio shell, film footage. and copies of documents and ideas on developing a working 'Victory Garden' and similar sustainable projects.