D iscussion 1 Why is writing important? National Curriculum: Key Stage 2: Programme of Study Knowledge and understanding of events, people and changes in the past



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iscussion 1


Why is writing important?

National Curriculum: Key Stage 2: Programme of Study

Knowledge and understanding of events, people and changes in the past:

2d) to describe and make links between the main events, situations and changes within and across the different periods and societies studied.


National Curriculum: Key Stage 3: Programme of Study

Knowledge and understanding of events, people and changes in the past:

2d) to identify trends, both within and across different periods, and links between local, British, European and world history.



Objectives: To encourage pupils to think about why writing is important and how it is used. To introduce basic ideas about why the people of ancient civilizations developed writing systems.

Materials: Photographs, books and/or illustrations of ancient writing.

Class Set-up: Whole group discussion

Vocabulary: Script



Discussion: Discuss why writing is important, emphasizing that writing is a way to communicate information over distance and time, and that writing is a way to record information about business, beliefs and ideas. Why is writing important? How is writing used?

Ask pupils how they use writing in their daily lives, and to imagine what life would be like if they did not write things down. How could you communicate information if you did not have a writing system?

Discuss different types of information recording systems. Ask pupils to consider how information could be communicated if you did not use a writing system. Explain that one of the first systems used by the ancient Egyptians was a picture- based system. Discuss what the benefits and/or difficulties of a system like that might be. Compare and contrast a picture-based and a writing system. What kind of information could you convey using a picture-based system? What kind of information would it be difficult to convey using a picture-based system?

Introduce and define the word script. Explain how a script is different from a language. Give an example of how the same script can be used to record different languages, such as how the Roman script is used to record English, French, Spanish, etc.. Ask pupils to think of other scripts used around the world. Discuss how scripts are different. What is a script? What is the difference between a script and a language? What other kinds of scripts can you think of that are used around the world today?

Ask pupils to consider other ways that information can be conveyed and ‘recorded’ such as through stories passed down through generations. How are the details of your own life preserved? How does writing something down change the accuracy and longevity of the information you want to preserve? What are the benefits and problems with communicating and keeping track of important information through an oral tradition?

Wrap up the discussion by showing photographs of writing





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