How do you make a history lesson come to life? How can you help students understand what it was like to live some 500 years ago in Malta, when the Knights of St John “ruled” the islands and have fun in doing so? In 1565, the Ottoman Empire attacked the Knights of St John, in what later would become known as the Great Siege of Malta. There are many anecdotes and legends from this time but what is sure is that this was a most difficult period for everyone involved. Many people lost their lives and while Malta defeated the invading Turks, both sides suffered huge losses.
Ms Gertrude Camilleri, one of our Year 6 teachers, invited the students to dress up as a “character” from the Great Siege, take pictures and then write up “their” story, effectively combing drama, history and creative writing.
The exercise, while fun, helped students understand the “reality” behind the Great Siege. The people who lived through the Great Siege were not that different from us and had they been able to take pictures, they would have probably looked something like this.
The irony of it all is that almost 500 years later, Malta and Turkey are happily participating in this great project and the Great Siege is but a memory from which we can all learn something.