The Great Fire of London Game
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Original article published on 29th October 2009
This game, for two players, uses time connectives to give a sequenced account of events related to the spreading of the Great Fire of London of 1666. The events are presented as simple diary entries so the poster could also be used as an information text, linked to work in history.
The time connectives are a key focus for learning while playing the game and the connectives listed on the activity sheet below are to be used with the game, and can also be used afterwards to reinforce this learning.
- Make a copy of the activity sheet below and colour it in two different colours, one colour for each player. Cut up the connectives so you have ten playing cards for each player. Not all the cards will be used in any one round of the game but can be used in subsequent games and can also be used to practise the sequencing language.
- You will also need one dice and a counter for each player to move around the board.
- If the children have been learning about the Great Fire of London, talk about the things they know. If not, explain briefly about what happened to set the context for playing the game. You could use the recount of the fire in On-screen resource 2, I was there… or the information about the same event in the interactive timeline (On-screen resource 1).
‘The Fire of London’ – This 17th century poem about the Great Fire, by contemporary poet John Dryden, is available here. The Great Fire of London Stewart Ross (Evans Start-up History series, 978 02375 24111). Read our Stewart Ross author profile here. How do we know about… The Great Fire of London Deborah Fox (Heinemann Library, 978 04311 23370).
Playing the game
- The aim of the game is to ‘claim’ the most diary entries while moving round the board.
- Each player should take six cards from the ten connectives cards in their colour pile. They could choose the connectives or select from cards that have been placed face down. Both players should place their counters on the Start space.
- The first player rolls the dice and moves the correct number of spaces. However, when they reach a diary entry, they must stop – even if they have rolled a higher number and have not completed their move at this point.
- When a player stops on a diary entry, they should read it out, with support if needed. They should then look at the connectives cards they have chosen to see if they have one that matches the time connective used there.
- If they have a matching connective on a card, they can place it over the diary entry to claim it as theirs (indicated by their own particular colour).
- If they do not have this card, they do not claim this diary entry. If the other player subsequently lands on this space, and has the correct time connective card, they can claim it instead. If they have already moved past this space, or if neither player has the matching connective card, then the space remains unclaimed.
- Players take turns to move, whether or not a diary entry has been claimed.
- Play ends when both players reach the Finish space. At this point, each player counts up the number of diary entries they have claimed. The winner is the player who has the most connective cards on the game board in their colour.
- After finishing the game, each player could take turns to tell the story of the Great Fire of London, using the connectives cards and pictures on the poster as prompts.
- Use the connectives cards to support other sequenced oral and written recounts, or in storytelling to develop the children’ use of connective phrases.
- Use the poster to talk about the Great Fire of London, recalling facts but also using questions to encourage children to reflect on people’s feelings and actions at various stages during the event.