KS3 curriculum linked visits to St Paul’s Cathedral

Date Posted: 13/08/2015

Pictured: St Paul's Cathedral. Photo credit: Graham Lacdao.

St Paul’s Cathedral’s dedicated schools and families department provides a selection of themed and guided visits linked to the National Curriculum in Religious Studies, Art, History, Maths and Science.

The Cathedral provides tours and visits for all Key Stages but here we take a look at what’s on offer for Key Stage 3 pupils across the subjects.

History: The Cathedral at War

The National Curriculum stipulates that Key Stages 3 students should be taught the about: ‘the challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world from 1901 to the present day’.

A popular example of this is World War Two and the leadership of Winston Churchill during this period, and teachers are able to use St Paul’s Cathedral as a point of focus for this History study.

During a guided visit, lasting 60 minutes, pupils will be able to discover where two bombs fell in the cathedral and will see the Churchill Gates, offering an insight into the life and leadership of the wartime Prime Minister.

Students can also hear stories of the bravery, sacrifice and survival of the St Paul’s Watch, set up to protect the cathedral during both World War One and Two, and may be asked to examine how historical sources represent the period. 

Religious Studies: St Paul’s as a place of Christian worship

As part of a Religious Studies visit to the cathedral, Key Stage 3 students will take part in a guided trail to look at the furnishings of the building – such as the altar, pulpit, lectern and font – and explore how and what they are used for during Christian prayer and worship.

Students may also consider how sculpture, art, statues and mosaics are used in the cathedral to depict religious festivals, including Christmas, Easter and Pentecost.

Pictured: the dome ceiling in St Paul's Cathedral. Photo credit: Graham Lacdao.

Art: Sacred Art

A visit to the cathedral with its impressive architecture, sculptures, paintings and mosaics can be used to inspire Art students. Using the artwork around the building, students will be able to practice their analysis and evaluation skills to benefit their work back in the classroom.

An art visit to the cathedral focuses on the connection between art and religion. Students will get the chance to look at William Holman Hunt’s painting Light of the World, the mosaics depicting Bible stories and Henry Moore’s sculpture Mother and Child.

Part of the visit will include a supervised sketching session on the Cathedral floor. 

Maths and Science: Building a Cathedral

A visit to one’s of Britain’s most famous buildings and places of worship is perhaps not the first place you would think of for a school trip focusing on Maths or Science. However, links to the curriculum, including forces, materials, geometry and shapes mean there is plenty for students to learn about during a visit to the building designed by Sir Christopher Wren.

A 60-minute tour around the crypt and cathedral will give students the opportunity to build an arch by taking into consideration the forces involved with the design.

Other activities which may be included during the tour involve identifying and examining the properties of materials used in the cathedral, such as stone, wood and metal; visiting the geometric staircase and the Great Model; and learning about Sir Christopher Wren’s use of geometry to design the building after the Great Fire of London destroyed the old cathedral.

Self-guided visits are also possible, with downloadable trails and resources available on the St Paul’s Cathedral website.

For more information visit www.stpauls.co.uk/learning-faith/schools-families.

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