School children taking part in the Documentary Challenge session
Suitability Age 11-14 (KS3), Age 14-16 (KS4), Age 9-11 (KS2)
Subjects Citizenship, English, History, Politics
Session Type

Booking Information

Monday to Friday, 10.30am, 10.50am and 12.30pm
60 minutes
30 students

What is Documentary Challenge?

non zero one

What is Documentary Challenge?

Documentary Challenge takes students out of the classroom and into IWM’s galleries to explore objects and tell those stories in their own words. Briefed by Reena, a filmmaker for SMASH TV, students are given smart-cameras and tasked with making mini documentaries on the people and objects they feel the world needs to know about.

About this session

Through this digitally–led experience, students develop historical inquiry skills to question, consider, debate and evaluate primary sources, while also gaining a deeper understanding about the impact of war and conflict on people’s lives in the past, and its relevance in society today. 

Choose to send your students to any of these galleries:

  • First World War Galleries
  • Atrium and balconies (Second World War to the present day)
Gallery Notice

IWM is currently in the second phase of Transforming IWM London, a £30.5 million project to develop new Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries and a digitally-enabled learning suite set across two levels of the Museum, opening in 2021.  As part of the preparation work for this development, there will be closures on the Level 1 and Level 2 terraces from May until September 2020, reducing the Second World War content on display. We apologise for any inconvenience that these works may cause to your visit. For further information, please contact customer services.

Learning Objectives

Documentary Challenge allows active exploration of the History curriculum in relation to real historic artefacts within IWM. Through making their mini-documentaries, students will:

  • Use primary sources as evidence to construct, illustrate and present an argument
  • Develop communication and presentation skills through filmmaking
  • Deepen understanding about the impact of conflict on people’s lives in the past and relevance to society today.

National Curriculum Links

  • Key Stage 2 History: A study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066

  • Key Stage 3 History: Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day


An incredible way for students to learn. The opportunity to explore, be creative, make choices, voice their thoughts and do so with the rigidness of having to know an examiners mark scheme. Teachers crave being able to support students in learning this way. A wonderful experience!’ – Key Stage 3 Teacher

A thoroughly 21st century learning event which genuinely helps to develop historical and deeper understanding of the past.’ – Key Stage 3 Teacher

Created by digital theatre-makers Non Zero One | Commissioned by Imperial War Museums

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  • Teacher's Notes

    Please ensure you read the Teacher's Notes for Documentary Challenge ahead of your visit.

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