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16 October 2014
Scotland in the 60s

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Teachers Notes. Written by Neil Scott. Primary 6 Teacher, Glasgow.
IntroductionHow this site worksFurther activities Forward plan

This is a great site to help with the introduction to some of the changes that occurred in Scotland, and the world, during the 1960s . The site demonstrates that Scotland was an integral component in the various social experiments, cultural happenings and various other upheavals that have since become iconic. The sixties were not just fashion, music and protest but were defined by these and more.

Children will find out that in Scotland there were changes in where and how the Scots lived and how they saw themselves – from the increasingly popular independence movement (this could be linked into discussion of the level E target to suggest ways in which society's awareness of its own past can affect its present and futuredevelopment, e.g. devolution in Scotland ) to the new Cities in the sky.

What were the sixties really like? Were they all about young people enjoying themselves, dressed in flowery fashions or was there much more to the decade than that? This site will facilitate children’s research into one of the most vibrant and radical eras in twentieth century history. The site uses archive footage, video interviews with people who grew up in the 6 0s, music clips and photos. For further multi-media sixties experiences-

The BBC has online archives of film from the decade:

Scottish Screen has lots of archived film from the era.

Glasgow’s Evening Times - Past Times Section has lots of archive photos from the sixties.

TopHow this site works

Ham has landed his spacecraft in Scotland in the 1960s. His mission is to bring back artefacts from different aspects of Scottish life during that decade. The children must guide him through different aspects of Scottish life. During the exploration they are finding information that will help them answer the quiz questions. The children should take notes as they explore the site – not all in one sitting as time should be taken to consolidate and discuss. After each section and once the artefacts have been investigated and collected, there is a quiz to be completed. When the correct answers are given, children will be given a certificate with a password and when all four passwords are collected, they can unlock a superb game in which they will steer Ham home!

It is important to point out to the children that, when they are exploring the different areas and characters, they need to read everything and listen well. Pairing up children will help in their understanding. Shared reading can help reluctant readers.

TopFurther Activities

1. Importantly, the children need to find out about the place they are from and what it was like in the 1960s. Photos could be gathered from family members. Local libraries usually have copies of maps and various almanacs. Children could be given the task to find out what relatives did; sang; wore; experienced during the decade. A local history book could be the aim – concentrating on the 1960s.

More information can be found on the web about Scottish characters from the decade and local events.

2. 60s Open Day: As part of the learning process, the children could have an end of topic project to work towards, such as an open day. This could be organised as an enterprise project. Children could be organised to find out about different aspects concerning the 1960s , perhaps using the same categories as on this site. Parents could be invited and money could be collected for school funds or a charity such as Unicef, who promote the Day for Change as a non-uniform day. As well as making displays and showing artefacts, the children could dress in 1960s fashions and prepare 1960s food (e.g. typical school meals).

This can be a project in which PowerPoint, the internet and even spreadsheets (to record income) can be used.

3. Three resource sheets for a project using the Beatles can be found at

The children can plot the history of the Beatles on the timeline provided (John Lennon Timeline), make an entry in an encyclopaedia on the Beatles and write a persuasive letter to a record company.

These tasks could be included in the open day project or as an ongoing frame for your lessons. The Beatles music from each year from 1962 onwards is easy to obtain and music from before they were famous can be found on various recently released albums. The Beatles theme can be incorporated into music lessons, poetry lessons and, of course, their music is a perfect backdrop to various themes, for example protest; the summer of love etc.

Of course, a general 60s music theme can be used here – I have suggested the Beatles because they span the decade. If you are inclined to do a bit of research, a different Scottish artist’s song for each year could be used instead.

4. Children can also create a wall display showing people THEY think were important in Scottish life during the decade. This could also incorporate a section showing other important people and events from the decade, e.g. Yuri Gagarin (first man in space), Valentina Tereshkova (first woman and civilian in space), Neil Armstrong (first man on the moon), Mary Quant (fashion designer), the Berlin Wall (constructed in 1961), the Cuban Missile Crisis, Andrea Dworkin (feminist and anti-Vietnam war protestor), 2001: A Space Odyssey, James Bond, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Hippies, Muhammad Ali, Jim Baxter, Jim Clark, Bobby Moore – to name but a few! These could all come together in a wall display based on the BeatlesSergeant PeppersLonely Hearts Club Band album cover.

The sixties was a very exciting period – hopefully the classroom will become as vibrant and daring as Andy Warhol’s Factory and as innovative as Carl Sagan!

Back Forward Plan

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