Documentary Challenge Schools

BOOK NOW: London | North | Duxford

What people are saying
‘A thoroughly 21st century learning event which genuinely helps to develop historical and deeper understanding of the past.’

An incredible way for students to learn. The opportunity to explore, be creative, make choices, voice their thoughts…Teachers crave being able to support students in learning this way.’
– Key Stage 3 Teachers

What is it?
Documentary Challenge is a smartphone-based video-making experience for school groups at IWM London, North and Duxford. Made from the ground-up with the KS3 History curriculum in mind, this one-hour session asks students to use historical enquiry skills to make a mini-documentary to question, consider, debate and evaluate sources.

How does it work?
School classes are briefed at IWM via video-call by the TV experts at SMASHtv, and then sent out into the galleries to create their own mini-documentary, in response to the brief:

‘Which things in here are too important to be left in a museum? Which things need to be seen by people, today?’

In teams of three, students are given a smartphone with a messenger app, via which they receive text messages, photos and voicemails from the SMASHtv team, giving them prompts and instructions while they’re out in the gallery. Each crew has to make three short videos, in response to three key questions: ‘1: What happened?’, ‘2: Why did it matter at the time?’ and ‘3: Why should our viewers care today?’ The videos are securely uploaded at the end of the session, and teachers can download them later for use in classroom sessions back at school.

Omar, Reena’s hard-working assistant, is always on hand with tips for how to make your video clear and memorable, while Reena calls in from somewhere in the Indian Ocean (she’s at a conference on Tribal Storytelling) to ask you the Big Questions. After 45 minutes in the gallery, groups are texted to return to base for a short debrief via video-call.

A preview of the App, built by All Seeing Eye with non zero one.

Talk to me about the curriculum!
Documentary Challenge isn’t tied to one particular period in history, so teachers can choose to send students to the gallery at IWM London, North or Duxford that is most closely related to the area of the curriculum they are studying.

As IWM says: ‘This innovative programme allows active exploration of curriculum subjects in relation to real historic artifacts within the museum.’ We couldn’t have put it better ourselves. Through making their mini-documentaries, students will:

  • Use primary sources as evidence to construct, illustrate and present an argument
  • Develop communication and presentation skills through filmmaking
  • Deepen understanding about the impact of conflict on people’s lives in the past and relevance to society today.

Find out more about how Documentary Challenge links to the curriculum on the IWM website.

Documentary Challenge is created by non zero one
Commissioned by IWM
App designed and built by All Seeing Eye / Verb Studio
Reena: Mariam Haque
Omar: Ivan Gonzalez

Special thanks to:
Katharine Alston, Hannah Guthrie, Llewela Selfridge and Susie Thornberry at IWM
Reena Kalsi

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