Implementation of “Girl power – historical figures” (SOI-MT-338)

Author: Sacha-Marie Pace, Primary Teacher

School/Organization: St Thomas More College Tarxien Primary, Malta

The LS I selected focuses on female historical figures from different areas, such as science and the arts. This scenario can be accessed through the following link: Girl power – historical figures (LS-PT-702) – Teaching With Europeana (

I chose this LS since we had recently discussed the work of Marie Curie during a science lesson. The argument that there are not many female scientists was brought up, and a student mentioned that when we study figures, these are predominantly men. I felt that this scenario gave the opportunity for the learners to develop 21st century skills, whilst learning about female, historical figures, i.e., Marie Curie, Anna Pavlova, Amelia Earhart, and Florence Nightingale. 

The learners worked in four groups and researched the figure that was assigned. They then created a biography of the female figure along with a drawing. Once this phase was completed, they were taught how to use PowerPoint and they created a presentation on one of the historical figures. This was then presented to the rest of the class.

Adopting an Interdisciplinary Approach in the Primary Classroom

The LS was implemented with a Year 5 class in a state school. This is the class that I am responsible for. There were 18 learners present that were divided into four mixed-ability groups; groups of 5, 5, 4 & 4. Their ages range from 9-10 years. 

Prior to this lesson, the learners were only familiar with Marie Curie. They have conducted research using their LearnPads before and knew how to use the past tense. They also knew what a biography entailed. 

They had no previous experience using PowerPoint. Through this LS, the learners were given the opportunity to work together, to conduct research and select relevant information, to find images on Europeana, to practice writing using the past tense, to create a PowerPoint presentation and ultimately to speak in front of the class and present their work.

Lesson Structure

Lesson + Activity


Time Allocated
GuidelinesGuidelines were given to the learners to explain what the learning intention is and what they will be doing.10 minutes
English: KWL chartRather than telling the learners who the female historical figures were, they were shown a PPT slide with four pictures. They were asked to fill the KWL chart with what they know and what they wonder. 5 minutes
Padlet Activity& Discussion
The learners were then asked who these women are, what they did, etc. and they discussed this in pairs. Using Padlet, they wrote what they think and posted it. 
We then looked at their posts; these were displayed on the IWB, and we discussed them.
10 minutes
English:PowerPoint & Discussion I created a PPT presentation with their names and with links to different photographs of the women.
They described the photos, what they think these women did, why they think they are important etc. This helped the learners think critically and discuss using Think-Pair-Share. 
Explanation of the second phase: Research. 
20 minutes
Research Work & Planning In groups, learners researched information on their historical figure and found photos and images on the Europeana platform. 20 minutes 
Biography WritingLearners were reminded that they should use the past simple tense. These were revised and they were given time to write a short biography on the persona.30 minutes
Editing and Organising their Biography; DrawingLearners edited their work and presented it on a sheet of paper. They drew something related to the female figure being researched.20 minutes
STEM: Familiarity with PowerPoint & Execution An explanation of the functions in PPT was given.
The learners learned how to create different slides, how to change the font, size, and colour. They were also shown how to create text boxes, save their work, and edit the way items are displayed on their slides.
They were given time to create their PPT presentation in their group.
45 minutes
English: Oral Presentation In groups, learners presented the persona’s biography to the class.
Learners asked questions and commented on the groups’ work.
30 minutes

Differences between the LS and the lessons carried out 

Rather than pair work, mixed-ability groups were used so that the learners could take on different roles and work together. The Mentimeter activity was not done. Another aspect that differs is that a poster was not created. Instead, the learners wrote their biography and included a drawing of something that they felt was adequate for their persona. The biodata table was not part of the research; instead, the main points of a biography were elicited by the learners and were written as guidelines on the whiteboard. 

A Padlet activity was carried out at the beginning of the lesson after the learners filled in the KWL chart. 

A PPT presentation was also used as an additional resource before the learners conducted research to get them thinking critically, discussing their ideas, and sharing with the rest of the class.  

The other parts of the lessons were similar. If implementing this lesson scenario within a group setting, I would change the time allocated. These are indicated in the table created above. Since the learners were split into 4 groups, this meant there were less presentations to be delivered. Thus, it did not require 90 minutes. 


RV 6.4.3 I can search online and read texts of different genres and select and use specific information for a defined purpose and reproduce it in my own words.

WR 6.9.2 I can organise the information gathered under different sub-headings and add details and illustrations.

LAP 6.3 I can consistently use the correct form of the past and present tenses as well as to refer to the future most of the time.


5.8.3 I can find out about Marie Curie and other scientists who worked on x-ray machines used to show pictures of the skeleton.

Desired Learning Intentions

I wanted to give the learners the opportunity to be creators and develop 21st century skills. Rather than finding information and merely sharing what they found, I wanted them to create a PPT presentation and to present it to the rest of the class so that they too can also teach and learn. I also wanted them to work within a group, to divide their work, and to communicate with one another.  

Participants’ Comments and Attitude

The learners’ comments were extremely positive. They all contributed to the work, and they were very eager to present their findings to the rest of the class. They really enjoyed working together, researching information, searching for photographs, and discussing with their peers. After they concluded the PPTs, they asked for more projects of this kind.  

The learners were very enthusiastic. I think that this LS is extremely suitable for learners aged 8 upwards so that they can truly understand and conceptualise the importance of these women and why it is that they may not have heard of these women before.  

This experience has taught me new ways to incorporate collaborative learning. I especially enjoyed watching the learners be enthusiastic, especially whilst searching for photographs and discovering new information, e.g., when looking at the photographs, there was one of Anna Pavlova with Charlie Chaplin. 

Charlie Chaplin et Anna Pavlova, Keystone : [photographie de presse] / [Agence Rol] by Agence Rol. Agence photographique – 1922 – National Library of France, France – No Copyright – Other Known Legal Restrictions.

The learners were very intrigued as to who this person was; they asked several questions and after they really enjoyed watching a clip from 1928 –  Charlie Chaplin – The Lion Cage – Full Scene (The Circus, 1928) – YouTube

Rather than teaching the subjects and the content only, this experience has shown me ways to be innovative and incorporate the teaching and learning of other skills, e.g., how to create a PowerPoint presentation. The way the learners were grouped helped a lot; they could help each other since the groups were mixed-ability and there was an educator with each group. 

I would strongly recommend that educators use arts and science digital heritage in the classroom. In this way, the learners are not only acquiring the LOs from the syllabus, but they are also learning information that is part of our heritage, information that otherwise would be lost, if as educators we do not creatively incorporate this with the syllabus. 

Another resource that can be used when implementing this LS is the following exhibition on women who pioneered in Europe – Pioneers | Europeana. There was also another tool that could be implemented as a post-activity, a quiz created using Pocket Code.  Through preparing materials and delivering these lessons, I have also become aware of new tools that can be used by the learners in the classroom. 

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? Girl power – historical figures (LS-PT-702) created by Sonia Mendes

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Do you want to discover more stories of implementation? Click here.

CC BY 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Virumaa Muuseumid.

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