Information for schools

Becky Knight educating people

The following resources for teachers have been developed as part of the POSTGLACIAL Project at the University of York, based on the Mesolithic site of Star Carr. They are meant as classroom activities that teachers can use for themselves. They have been grouped into three sets of units. Individual units can be taken from any set and taught as stand-alone activities.

These resources are designed to show that Mesolithic people were skilled and sophisticated in using their environment. They also show that archaeologists don't always know the answers, and that there is a lot of room for disagreement about the past. They will encourage children to develop and express their own ideas about the period.

Archaeology skills log

The skills log takes pupils through five steps to becoming an archaeologist:

  • finding out information
  • identifying things
  • recording objects
  • analysing how people lived
  • telling others about Star Carr

As well as 13 classroom activities, this contains sets of information (fact checks) about the period. There are also debating points which highlight disagreements about what we think the period was like or where there is more than one possible interpretation of the archaeological evidence.

Learning outcomes:

These activities support the teaching of historical skills, literacy, numeracy and art.

Go to Archaeology skills log

11,000 Years Ago

This is a set of nine short stories about a Mesolithic family: Neska (a girl, 9 years old), Mutil (a boy, 6 years old), Aita (their father), 31 years old), Ama (their mother, 28 years old), Osaba (Aita's brother, 26 years old). Each story illustrates an aspect of Mesolithic life and is backed up by a short section on what and how archaeologists know about this.

The short stories are: Moving Home, Making Things, Food, Friends and Strangers, A Hint of Winter, Coming of Age, A New Life, The Bad Old Days, Boy or Girl—Animals or Plants?

Classroom activities are suggested for each story, some with associated information or worksheets. There are also links in each story to the Star Carr display at the Rotunda Museum in Scarborough, which can be easily adapted to use at other museums.

Learning outcomes:

The activities are designed to support not only the history curriculum, but also art and design, design & technology, English, geography, and maths.

Go to 11,000 Years Ago

Lessons from the Middle Stone Age

This set of activities shows why the Mesolithic is an important period to study. From it, we can learn useful lessons to help us both live better lives today and understand the world we live in.

There are six lessons, with various activities for the classroom. They are the origins of ourselves, change is inevitable, the living environment, human diversity, healthy eating, what makes us happy.

There is also the great debate: that contrasts the ideas of prehistoric people as either noble savages or nasty and brutish. This will get pupils to think about how we value the past and different ways of life.

Learning outcomes:

These lessons can help to support personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC) as well as history.

Go to Lessons from the Middle Stone Age


This is for teachers and provides summary information about the Mesolithic and Star Carr. It includes a simple location map, two timelines and images that can be used as Powerpoint slides.

More detailed information about the resources can be found here.

Other resources about the Mesolithic can be found listed here.

Learning outcomes:

These lessons can help to support personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC) as well as history.

Go to Background