These activities are suitable for students aged 9 – 16+, you can download a free, printable PDF version here.
For use with our unique Age of Revolution Top Trumps. Order a FREE pack for your school here.
Our unique set of Top Trumps features 30 radical and revolutionary figures from the Age of Revolution (1775 – 1848). Many have been selected to highlight people who have often been overlooked by history.
The pack features:
|Maximilien Robespierre||Joan Derk van der Capellen||Mary Wollstonecraft|
|Henry Hunt||Simón Bolívar||Jean-Jacques Dessaline|
|Toussaint Louverture||Arthur Wellesley||Francisco de Miranda|
|Theobald Wolfe Tone||Mary Shelley||Napoleon Bonaparte|
|Germaine de Staël||Karl Marx||Túpac Amaru II|
|Phillis Wheatley||Benjamin Franklin||Olympe de Gouges|
|Tadeusz Kosciuszko||Hannah More||George Washington|
|Thomas Paine||Thomas Jefferson||William Wilberforce|
|Olaudah Equiano||Jean-Paul Marat||Alphonse de Lamartine|
|William Cuffay||Marquis de Lafayette||Uthman dan Fodio|
Try these activities to help students familiarise themselves with some of the extraordinary people and events of the Age of Revolution.
Students can enjoy playing a game of Top Trumps, in pairs, threes or fives, in the traditional way.
- Shuffle and deal the whole pack of cards, dividing them equally between each player.
- Hold your cards face up so you can see the top card only. The player to the dealer’s left starts.
- Read out a stat from the top card (e.g. Legacy 84). The other players then read out the same stat from their top card.
- If you have the best or highest value, you win that round. Take all the top cards, including your own, and put them at the bottom of your deck.
- It’s your turn to choose a stat from the next card.
- If two or more cards share the best value, or data is not available, then all the cards are placed in the middle and you read out the same stat from your next card. The winner of this round takes the cards in the middle as well.
- The person with all the cards at the end wins the game.
- If you need to finish a game quickly, you can play the ‘discard’ rule, which means any losing card is simply removed from the game. The last person left with cards in their hands wins.
Discuss the categories with the students – what do you think they mean? Younger students may need some help with the category meanings and descriptions:
Age: at the time of their death (the average life span in Europe at this time was around 40 years).
Political prowess: (out of a possible 100) this represents the figure’s skills in putting forward their ideas and negotiating with others, with those having the most influence and gaining the most support and agreement scoring highest.
Radicalism: this represents the extent to which their ideas led to change and how strongly the figures pushed for their beliefs or discoveries to be accepted and adopted.
Legacy: this represents how much influence the figure had at the time and on future generations.
Social Status: this represents the figure’s status at birth, which may differ substantially from their status at the end of their life, with low numbers indicating poorer beginnings. This can be played as a highest or lowest number winning.
Top trump themes
Our online Revolutionary Collection is divided into four themes:
- Political revolution
- Social and cultural revolution
- Economic and technological revolution
- War and the international order
How would students group the 30 revolutionary Top Trump figures?
Younger students could begin by simply grouping them into men and women; rich and poor; European and non-European. Students can choose their own categories or be given those reflecting the focus of classroom work. Do any of the figures belong in more than one category? Students could literally place them in two, three, or four different hoops, arranged like a Venn diagram to accommodate any overlaps.
Deciding who to include and who to leave out of our Top Trumps pack was very difficult – so we included a blank card. Who would students nominate to add to the pack? They can use our Revolutionary Collection and other sources to research radical characters from the Age of Revolution (1775 – 1848) and then make their choice. They could make their case to the rest of the class, who then vote to decide on which person to add to the blank card. They could consider adding a figure from the present day that they consider to be revolutionary. How would they fare against our historical radicals?
The Age of Revolution spanned just over 70 years – from 1775 – 1848. Can students create their own Revolutionary Top Trumps spanning the last 70 years – from the latter half of the 20th century to the beginning of the 21st? What have been the biggest changes, discoveries and revolutions in living memory? Which innovators, artists, writers and political leaders would they include? Barack Obama? Steve Jobs? Maya Angelou? Mark Zuckerberg? Margaret Thatcher? Indira Gandhi? Stormzy? They could talk to their families and other members of the school community for their nominations and draw up a longlist for a class or school vote…
The most revolutionary revolutionary
Working in pairs, students choose which of the 30 revolutionary figures in the Top Trumps pack was the most revolutionary of all. They begin by selecting ten, then five figures. They must justify their answers. They then whittle these down to two. They then join up with another pair and debate and choose a final figure from their collective four. Different groups could then present their choices as a class debate, with a final class vote to decide who is the most revolutionary revolutionary of all! Was this a democratic way to decide? Could the process have been made fairer? Perhaps students think none of these figures should win and that their own selection from the period (e.g. another figure from our Revolutionary Collection) would be the best choice.
Working in pairs or groups, students can research the figures and place them on a world map, according to where they were born, where they spent the most revolutionary part of their lives, or where they were when they died. What does this reveal about world events at the time?
Degrees of separation
Like most periods in history, the key people, events and places of the Age of Revolution are often connected, with one action or idea having widespread influence and consequences. Students can choose two or more figures to connect – what do they have in common? How did one influence, impact or relate to another? Students could try these examples, using our Revolutionary Collection to help with their research. They could choose their own to try and connect or challenge their fellow students to make connections. Does everyone come up with the same answer?
- Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley
- Napoleon Bonaparte and Arthur Wellesley
- Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin
- Hannah More and Olaudah Equiano
- Henry Hunt and William Cuffay
- Phillis Wheatley and George Washington
How many of the figures can students include on a class diagram of connections? Who is the most connected revolutionary?