(basic for all time periods)
All presentations commence with the farm, with an “everyday story of country folk” approach. The ox-yoke and the selection of a team of “oxen” to demonstrate its use acts as an ice breaker and helps the pupils to start thinking of how life was different in the past. The session is led by question and answer so the direction and order of discussion depends on the sequence of answers from the pupils. For example, the oxen start by leading into consideration of arable crops and their uses and can then follow into beef and the uses of the hide and horns. Cows lead into dairy work. Sheep lead into fleeces, spinning and clothing. Geese have feathers for pillows and quill pens. The pupils are encouraged to think of the various trees needed to make some of the artefacts and the artisan who makes objects like the sheep shears. The idea of the division of labour, or boys’ jobs and girls’ jobs, is established.
Large and pointed artefacts are only for demonstration only. Samples of crops and small, robust artefacts are handed round the class at the appropriate points. A digression into the feather game can be made for geese and snorie bones for pigs.
The spade connects with the garden, the range of vegetables grown and the concept of seasonality. Question and answer establishes which modern fruits and vegetables were unknown for the time period under consideration. Bees can initiate the concept of lighting without electricity and then peeling rushes for rush lights.
Having established the foodstuffs available, thought can be given to cooking and eating as lunchtime approaches, and the utensils that were available in the past.
Giving thanks for food can lead into religion while condiments can spark discussion of trade, money and luxury items.
Another session of period toys and games is wrapped up with a final question and answer session on topics or objects not already discussed.