One of our favourite KS3 resources has to be the Oxford University Press History series by Aaron Wilkes. We are still busy working through the second book in the series but my daughter loves reading these books in her own time so just before Christmas OUP kindly sent her the third book in the series and she is already on page 180 of 223 pages. The series consists of three student books – we are covering 1 book an academic year (what I mean by this is my daughter and I read through the book together, discuss the events, she answers the questions and I check her answers – but she also reads the books independently just because she enjoys History).
This post is about the third book (year 9) – Technology, War and Independence from 1901 to the present day.
So, what does it cover? It is split into 9 chapters.
- A new Century
- The First World War – a Depth Study
- Between the wars
- Power in the early twentieth century
- The Second World War – a Depth Study
- The post war world
- From Empire to Commonwealth
- Into the Modern world
- The Modern world what has changed.
The layout of the book is much the same as the first two. Double page spreads, with lots of informative pictures (both illustrations and photographs), lots of source evidence (which I really like because the kids need to think about what the source is telling them, if it is accurate, biased and they often need to “read between the lines”), maps, cartoons information in key boxes. They really manage to include a lot in these pages.
And yes, the pages do look busy. And in the past both of my kids have complained about other books being too crowded or overwhelming. But never with this series. I think it is because the pages are set out with blocks of information and they include lots of illustrations and pictures to support the information. Whatever it is, it works. This is the most comprehensive History series that I could find, and they cover a lot in each book but they do it well. Both of my kids have enjoyed reading these books and they have understood and followed everything in the books. So even though the pages may look busy we have not found them confusing or overwhelming.
And then there are the questions. I am a massive fan of the questions in this book. At the end of each double page you get a few questions relating to what you have just read, which is kind of what you would expect. But then at the end of each chapter they have 4 or 6 pages of extra questions and these are what have really impressed me. They include 1 page of multiple-choice questions about the whole chapter and then they include a longer, more complex question. Something that makes the kids apply their knowledge and practice writing a properly structured answer. Plus, they give the kids step by step guidance on how to structure their answers. It is these longer questions and the guidance on how to answer them that makes this series stand out for me. This is excellent practice for kids. I honestly wish more of my daughter’s other books had these types of questions and guidance on how to structure her answers like this series does.
As for my daughter – the first thing that my daughter excitedly informed me after she started reading this book was – there are two Depth Studies and both are on the World Wars. She loves the depth studies in all the books because they go into a lot of background detail and she always discovers fascinating facts in the pages.
Without a doubt the depth study chapters are always her favourite chapters.
We are not planning on working through this book just yet, but my daughter has read most of it and I have quickly gone through it and it is without a doubt this is going to be our main History book for her Year 9. We Highly Recommend this series.
You can buy these books directly from Oxford University Press site – KS3 History series by Aaron Wilkes or you can buy them from Amazon (links below)
Admin Bits – I do include Affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product, I will be paid a very small commission, however your cost will remain the same. I only include affiliate links for products that we use and love.
Oxford University Press knows that my daughter loves this series and they kindly sent her the third book. All opinions expressed in this post are mine and my daughter’s.