KS2 Tudor round-up: background resources to help you teach Henry VIII and the Tudors

By Rachel Hayward | 17 June 2009 | Updated: 01 November 2010
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Picture courtesy Historic Royal Palaces

Feature: A KS2 Tudor round-up of all the great museum and heritage site online resources in the UK.

2009 was the 500th anniversary of King Henry VIII's accession to the throne - and as well as the many amazing Henry-related opportunities for school visits to museums, galleries and heritage sites around the UK, there were also great new online resources created to add to those already available for your Tudor topic.

Showing costumed interpreter as Henry VIII in front of building

A Henry VIII costumed interpreter in front of Hampton Court Palace. Picture courtesy HISTORY Channel

There were wonderful events going on during 2009 at the Historic Royal Palaces to celebrate the 500th anniversary and its website Historic Royal Palaces’ website remains a one-stop shop for all things Henry VIII. Definitely worth a look are the teachers’ resources, including a family tree of the Tudor royal family.

King Henry VIII & his six wives' factsheet is a colourful, quick reference guide about the King, his six wives and their relationships.

For a very useful overview of Henry VIII, have a look at the Historic Royal Palaces’ Frequently asked questions. They could form the basis of a fun class quiz.

Discover more about the early years of Henry’s reign with Historic Royal Palaces’ virtual tour of Young Henry VIII exhibition tour.

How about a quick and fun visual record of Henry VIII in portraits?

We really enjoyed watching Henry morph from a young man into an older one courtesy of Historic Royal Palaces and we suspect your pupils might too.

The Tudors have taken over YouTube! Historic Royal Palaces have placed video clips on the site including, Henry VIII’s kitchens at Hampton Court palace: an introduction to food archaeology and The King is coming…Henry VIII: heads and hearts at Hampton Court Palace.

The latter video provides an introduction to Historic Royal Palaces’ series of events to mark Henry’s anniversary under the banner Henry VIII: heads and hearts, and the heads and hearts game is still available to play.

If you’re looking for more resources for the key stage 2 History Unit 8: What were the differences between the lives of rich and poor in Tudor times? then Henry VIII’s Kitchens page on the Historic Royal Palaces’ website is a fantastic basis for topic work.

Just scroll down their page and click on the link to Video: watch the cooks.

The films might be more suitable as background information for your lesson planning but Kitchens: lighting a Tudor fire, What the cooks wore and why and Turning the spit are interesting video clips to watch with the class.

There are resources on the page too including, downloadable fact sheets and Tudor recipes.

Henry VIII had need of a doctor several times in his life and Tyne & Wear Museums' website has a game for kids called Kill or Cure in their Tudor section of Guess What? where you have to help the Tudor doctor to save some patients.

Showing screenshot of Museum of London Tudor page

Target the Tudors from the Museum of London. Screenshot courtesy Museum of London

Museum of London has Target the Tudors. It covers a wide Tudor base with everything from family life to court life, religion and education. Pupils will find source material which can be enlarged, background detail and a quiz. There are teachers’ notes too.

Showing image on website of King Henry VIII in armour

Screenshot courtesy Historic Royal Palaces

The Tower of London had its amazing Henry VIII: Dressed to kill exhibition in 2009 and you can still make use of the online fun. There is a Video: Arming the knight and if your pupils get inspired, why not get them creative Tudor style with a make and do knight's helmet?

For more creativity, especially if you or a pupil's parent are handy with a sewing machine, Historic Royal Palaces even have a stunning pattern for a girl’s kirtle or boy’s Tudor gown for you to run up.

Showing logo of HISTORY Channel with the letter H in gold

Logo courtesy HISTORY

To celebrate the anniversary of history heavyweight Henry VIII,

HISTORY (TM) lined up a series of programmes delving beneath the well-known stories and uncovering the secret world of Henry's life.

A spokesperson for HISTORY said: "HISTORY is proud to support Henry VIII Dressed to Kill at the Tower of London and HISTORY have produced great programme with Historic Royal Palace: Inside the World of Henry VIII - which recaptures the splendour, excitement and drama of the Tudor king’s court, in a unique behind the scenes view of his beloved home - Hampton Court Palace."

Showing coloured image of King Henry VIII seated

Screenshot courtesy the British Library

For some audio on Henry VIII, try the British Library podcasts which are linked to their Henry VIII: man and Monarch exhibition (April 23 – September 6, 2009).

They focus on Henry’s music, maps and a key Henry painting, the Field of Cloth of Gold. For a child’s introduction to the painting, why not use the Royal Collection's zoomable The Field of the Cloth of Gold, 1520?

The British Library also has a zoomable Henry VIII’s psalter. This personal copy of the psalms with a portrait of Henry as the biblical King David playing the harp is great example of Henry’s power to show the class.

Showing head of King Henry VIII

Screenshot courtesy the Royal Collection

The Royal Collection has an online Henry VIII A 500th Anniversary Exhibition. With exemplary images and clear text, you could either use this resource in class or suggest the link for project work.

Showing screenshot of Henry VIII Twitter page

Screenshot courtesy Twitter

Did you know that Henry VIII joined Twitter? Read the Culture24 article, I am Henry VIII online - the King joins Twitter and see how his Tweets are a fun way for your class to learn more about the monarch.

The King is also on Facebook where you’ll find images and video clips too.

Showing a seated Henry VIII surrounded by courtiers

Learning Curve screenshot courtesy of the National Archives

The National Archives is a superlative resource. Its Learning Curve, has a whole selection of Tudor Snapshots. These are lesson activities that use original sources.

Henry’s even got his own activity, How did Henry VIII get up in the morning? If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, there are great Tudor links and teachers’ notes.

Showing screenshot of Tudor games and other resources

Screenshot of Show Me's Tudor Topic page for teachers.

We've collected together great KS2 Tudor interactives and games for your pupils to play in our Online games and interactives round-up: Henry VIII and the Tudors' feature.

Finally, here’s a plug for Show Me, our kids’ site which brings together all the fantastic wealth of museum, gallery and heritage resources.

Its Tudors’ topic page for teachers is full of games, interactives and make and dos for classroom activities and homework.

There are also Tudor-related news stories such as Tudor portraits and Meet The Young Henry VIII At Hampton Court Palace which would make good literacy activities.

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