“Powdered Eggs and Camp Coffee: Practical Engagements with WW2”

Project lead: Dr Victoria Carolan

The Make Do and Learn project was set up to add a practical element to the level 5 course ‘The People’s War’. The reasons behind this were, first to improve student engagement, second for me as a tutor to work more collaboratively with the students and third to use primary sources in a more imaginative way in the classroom. Students were required to choose an aspect of the Homefront that interested them and devise a practical project such as living on war time rations or knitting comforters for the troops. The work was assessed through a critical reflection on their experience and on the use of practical history experiences on television or in museums. This all led to a huge effort on behalf of the students and they had a highly successful presentation day to which other staff members were invited. A small group also joined me to give a Lunch and Learn talk about the project. The next step is hoped to be a symposium with other institutions who have also used practical elements in their history programmes.

Range of activities

  • Clay sculpting
  • Attending a re-enactment
  • Living on rations for a week
  • Making toys from ordinary/ left over materials
  • Writing poetry
  • Attending re-enactment
  • Baking from wartime recipes/ substitutes
  • Using wartime recipe film
  • Making a siren suit Knitting (comforters for the troops and cardigan)
  • Making a utility apron
  • Making a magazine spread
  • Animated propaganda film proposal
  • Theatre installation proposal