Students participating in the Shadow of the Future school session on gallery
Suitability Age 14-16 (KS4)
Subjects Citizenship, History, Politics
Topics Source Analysis
Session Type

Booking Information

Monday to Friday, 10.30am, 11.50am and 13.15pm
60 minutes
30 students

About this session

Could your students lead America or the Soviet Union to survival through the Cuban Missile Crisis during the Cold War?

Using video, game theory and roleplay students are recruited by American scientists to explore decision-making in the context of The Cold War. In the shadow of the Imperial War Museum's historic collection, students play ‘The Prisoner’s Dilemma’, a real-life thought experiment employed by the global think-tank the RAND Corporation in 1950, which will allow them to uniquely examine the challenges facing both sides in an age of potential nuclear Armageddon.

Learning Objectives

  • This session allows active exploration of curriculum subjects in relation to real historic artefacts within the museum.
  • Deepen understanding about the consequences of the Cold War using primary sources.
  • Encourages students to consider the consequences of decisions made during the course of the Cold War, and how they continue to impact society today.

National Curriculum Links

Key Stage 4 History:

  • Edexcel: Period Study: Superpower relations and the Cold War 1941-1991
  • OCR: Period Study: International Relations: the changing international order 1918-2001: The Cold War


“A great way to gain an understanding of the difficult decisions the leaders of the USA and USSR had to make during the Cold War and the level of trust and mistrust that they had.” – Key Stage 4 Teacher

Created by theatre-makers Coney | Commissioned by Imperial War Museums

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  • Teacher's Notes

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