History KS3: Government

An animated film for KS3 students outlining what government is, and different styles of government.

After defining the term ‘government’, the film explains how governments manage a country and how they raise and spend taxes. It describes three different forms of government – monarchy, democracy and dictatorship. It also outlines the differences in the responsibilities of local and federal governments compared to central governments. It reminds students to think about the term 'government' and what it means in the context of the period of history they are studying.

Illustrative examples are chosen from popular schemes of learning so that learners can confidently apply their knowledge and appreciate the dynamic nature of the concept being explained. This film could be used to support learners investigating:

  • The development of Church, state and society in Medieval Britain 1066-1509
  • The development of Church, state and society in Britain 1509-1745
  • Ideas, political power, industry and empire: Britain, 1745-1901
  • Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day

Teacher Notes

This short film can be used for whole class instruction or with smaller groups and individuals.

Since the film is designed to help clarify the different forms that government can take, it can be used as a tool to help learners make connections and think about changes and causation leading to similarity and difference across time periods.

The film can be revisited throughout the key stage, depending upon learners’ differing needs and starting points, to help reinforce the umbrella term, consolidate knowledge and understanding, and to aid progression.

Accompanying films from this series on Parliament and Suffrage might be helpful for students wishing to broaden their knowledge.

Suggested activities
Individually or in groups, students could try to predict the film content in advance, drawing up a key word list and, whilst watching, cross check what they thought would come up with what they learned. This could help to correct false preconceptions, assumptions or misconceptions.

The film could be preparatory work, with students encouraged to watch and generate questions before a sequence of learning.

Students could watch the film and then later ‘write the script’ or provide a voice over, recalling information from memory by way of retrieval practice.

Students could actively watch the film whilst answering a series of questions generated by the teacher which have been tailored to the period under study.

Students could be encouraged to draw a diagram to represent the different systems of government and their associated machinery.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is relevant for teaching history at KS3 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 3rd Level in Scotland.

More from this series: