National Museum of Ireland

Bronze Age Handling Box

Junior Cycle Curriculum Links

Junior Cycle Curriculum Links

Where does the Bronze Age Handling Box fit within the Junior Cycle?

This Resource is informed by the content of the Junior Cycle History Curriculum. It also fits within a number of other curricular areas. (

Where does the Handling Box fit within the Junior Certificate History Syllabus?

The Guidelines for Teachers (revised 1996) make a number of significant points that underpin the practice of object-based learning and suggest a range of approaches:

  • Examining artefacts from different periods and placing them in chronological order
  • Describing and analysing historical artefacts as historians and archaeologists
  • Underpinning students’ learning in history with an understanding of historical enquiry

The Bronze Age Handling Box provides unique, tactile opportunities for students to engage in enquiry-based learning.

The concept of ‘working as a historian’ provides young people with the opportunity to engage with historical evidence by asking questions, investigating and constructing historical narratives and offering interpretations of what the past was like.

Material culture (objects, buildings, physical infrastructure and human intervention in the environment) and objects in particular, form an important part of the evidence base used in studying history.

What is the value of object-based learning?

The contribution made by artefactual evidence to children’s learning has been identified in the guidelines for teachers that accompany the Junior Cycle History Curriculum as follows:

  • Using objects promotes activity based learning which helps to motivate children.
  • Objects are accessible to all children and not dependent on literacy.
  • Using objects as evidence helps children develop a broad and balanced view of history.
  • Examining objects helps children recognise the ingenuity and creativity of past peoples.
  • Working with objects provides opportunities to develop children’s understanding of historical concepts like causation, change and continuity. This lends to an appreciation of the context in which those objects were created and used.
  • Young people should be encouraged to see that objects demonstrate examples of problem solving and innovative thinking skills of our ancestors. This helps to develop young people's respect for the ancient technology and creativity of our ancestors.
Table 3a: Links to Junior Certificate History Syllabus
Our roots in ancient civilisation A study of: Houses, food and family life / Work, art, crafts and tools / Burial customs in pre-Christian and early Christian Ireland and in one ancient civilisation Study based on archaeological evidence
Table 3b: Junior Certificate History Syllabus
Topic: Introduction The job of the historian/archaeologist All of the activities
Our roots in ancient civilisation A study of: Houses, food and family life / Work, art, crafts, tools / Burial customs in pre-Christian Ireland All of the activities
Objective: Concepts Students should develop an understanding of and the ability to apply procedural and substantive concepts essential to the study of history.

Procedural: Source / Evidence / Chronology

Substantive (General): Change and continuity / Cause and consequence / Comparison and contrast 

Substantive (Specific): Home and family / Work / Technology / Trade
All of the activities
Objective: Skills Students should develop the skills essential to the research and writing of history:

Locate historical information from a variety of sources / Examine critically this information / Synthesise / Present and communicate in a variety of ways
All of the activities
Attitudes The teaching and learning of history should be informed throughout by the procedural values of the historian. Students should therefore develop the disposition:

To be thorough in the collecting and accurate in the recording of historical information / To accept that individuals and events must be understood in their historical context / To ensure that historical narrative is consistent with the evidence while recognising that the available evidence may be open to more than one valid interpretation / To recognise that historical knowledge is tentative and incomplete and therefore subject to revision or reinterpretation in the light of new evidence or insights.
All of the activities

How does the Resource meet the needs of New Junior Cycle National Strategies?

The student activities associated with the Handling Box Project support students’ 'capacity to read, understand and critically appreciate various forms of communication including spoken language, printed text, broadcast media, and digital media'(Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life: The National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy among Children and Young People, Department of Education and Skills, 2011, p.8)

A key element in developing literacy is promoting students’ listening, talking, reading and writing skills, as well as their ability to critically assess visual images and other broadcast material.

The activities set out in this resource are intended to stimulate purposeful discussion between teachers and students and to encourage debate among students themselves.

In addition, the problem solving approach set out in this resource supports the development of the key skills identified as part of the Junior Cycle Students Award (JCSA).

Junior Cycle

Skill Element Learning Outcomes: Students can...
Managing Myself Being able to reflect on my learning Assess my own learning and suggest ways that it can be improved
Communicating Listening & expressing myself Listen actively / Express what I think clearly and in an appropriate tone / Agree or disagree respectively
Communicating Using language Understand and use a wide vocabulary / Speak and write in well-constructed sentences / Edit, correct and improve written work
Communicating Discussing and debating Participate confidently in class discussion / Present my point of view and be able to explain and support it / Respond to opposite arguments constructively
Working with others Learning with others Work in pairs and larger groups to help each other when we are learning Help other students to understand and solve problems
Working with others Respecting difference Show openness to learning from different people
Working with others Co-operating Contribute to decisions as part of a group
Being Creative Learning creatively Participate in learning in creative ways / Use a variety of learning tools that help me to be creative
Being Creative Imagining Use different ways of learning to help develop my imagination / Take inspiration from the imagination of others
Being Creative Exploring options and alternatives Try out different approaches when working on a task and evaluate what works best / Seek out different viewpoints and perspectives and consider them carefully
Staying Well Being positive about learning Find enjoyment and fun in learning
Staying Well Being confident Communicate my opinions and beliefs with confidence in a variety of ways / Contribute to decision-making within the class and group
Managing Information and Thinking Gathering, recording, organising and evaluating information and data Recognise what I already know and the wide range of information available to me / Analyse information and data presented in a variety of forms / Evaluate the quality of that information and data and their sources / Make judgements about how valid and reliable that information is / Prepare and organise information and data so that it makes sense to me and others
Managing Information and Thinking Being curious Look for new and different ways of answering questions and solving problems
Managing Information and Thinking Thinking creatively and critically Question ideas and assumptions, both my own and other peoples’ / Make connections between what I already know and new information / Adjust my thinking in light of new information
Managing Information and Thinking Reflecting on and evaluating my learning Reflect on and review their own progress
Managing Information and Thinking Using digital technology to access, manage and share content. Use digital tools to expand my thinking and source information


How Does the Bronze Age Handling Box Resource Meet the Criteria for School Self-Evaluation?

Teaching and Learning

The following table sets out the relevant evaluation criteria for the use of the Handling Box as a teaching and learning resource for each of the evaluation themes and sub-themes set out in the School Self-Evaluation Guidelines for Post-Primary Schools, 2012.

Theme Sub-Theme Evaluation Criteria Quality Statement(s)
Learner outcomes Attainment Attitudes and dispositions

Attainment of subject and programme objectives
Students enjoy their learning of the subject and are motivated to learn.

Students competently and confidently use and apply the literacy and numeracy skills that are necessary to develop their learning.
Learner Experience Learning Environment Resources (including ICT) Individual students and groups of students have access to ICT to support their learning and to enable them to become active learners
Learner Experience Student’s engagement in learning Active learning The students are enabled to engage actively in their learning. There is a balance between teacher input and students participation
Learner Experience Student’s engagement in learning Collaborative and independent learning Students are given purposeful and frequent opportunities to engage in collaborative and independent learning
Learner Experience Student’s engagement in learning Challenge and support The students are adequately challenged and supported in their learning
Learner Experience Student’s engagement in learning Attitudes Students enjoy their learning and are motivated to learn.
Learner Experience Learning to Learn Assessment for Learning The students are taught to reflect constructively on their work
Learner Experience Learning to Learn ICT skills in learning Students are provided with frequent, well-guided access to ICT and are enabled to use it to present and illustrate their work, access, assess and retrieve information (research), organise, express ideas and develop, support and extend their learning.
Teacher’s Practice Preparation for Teaching Resources Necessary and relevant resources, materials and equipment are identified and sourced in advance of lessons.
Teacher’s Practice Teaching Approaches Focus of Learning Attention is given to the consolidation of student learning during and at the end of the lesson, and to the development and application of knowledge and skills, including the students’ literacy, numeracy and ICT skills and to the development of positive dispositions and attitudes towards learning.
Teacher’s Practice Teaching Approaches Approaches Teaching approaches support students in engaging with the literacy and numeracy demands of the subject.

Subject-appropriate teaching and learning methodologies with a focus on active learning are used.

Opportunities for collaborative and independent work are provided.
Teacher’s Practice Teaching Approaches Differentiation Teachers vary content, activities, methodologies and resources to take into account the range of interests, needs and experiences of the students.

There is effective differentiation to cater for the range of students’ abilities.
Teacher’s Practice Teaching Approaches Resources Students are enabled to use relevant and necessary resources (including ICT) to support their learning

*(SSE Guidelines, 2012)

The Bronze Age Handling Box Resource Project was developed by: