"An excellent, exciting workshop that fitted the objectives of the 2014 curriculum topic of  ‘Roman Britain’ perfectly. "

y4 teacher, Liverpool


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Roman britain 2014 national curriculum

scheme of work: lesson 5 - Hadrian’s wall

Resources for this lesson (click to download)

Relevance to Roman section of 2014 National Curriculum for History:

Hadrian’s Wall

‘Romanisation’ of Britain in general

Pupils will learn ..

Why the Romans built Hadrian’s wall

It’s location and dimension

How it was built

Lesson notes:

The introduction to this Romans teaching plan suggests that you introduce the wall as a series of facts but it works much better if you have the time and resources to set it as a research task for the pupils – you could use an adapted version of lesson 2’s ‘timeline research sheet.pdf’ for this.

Main lesson activity: a letter from Hadrian’s wall

Tell pupils they are going to write a letter either from a Roman Legionary stationed near the wall, or an auxiliary soldier stationed actually on the wall. Use the ‘roman soldier letter planner.pdf’ and also the ‘roman soldier word list’ to aid the writing.  


Read out the letters to the rest of the class.

Possible extensions and other activities:

This Romans teaching plan is only an introduction to the lives of Legionaries and Auxilliaries, so it would be helped if pupils were allowed time to do more research on the life of a Roman or auxiliary soldier for the letter task or to research the differences between an auxillary soldier and a legionary

Lesson introduction: Where and what is Hadrian’s wall?

Discuss the location and construction of Hadrian’s wall along with the following facts and with the aid of the ‘Hadrian’s wall photopack.pdf’:


- Construction ordered by Emperor Hadrian to defend southern Britain against the Northern tribes (NOTE: including the biggest, the Caledonians, but not Scottish at this point)

- Built in 122AD

- It took six years to build

- Is 73 miles long (or 80 Roman miles)

- Was made mostly of stone, but sometimes of wood and earth

- It had ‘milecastles’ (literally a small turret/castle positioned at every Roman mile

- 8,000 troops were stationed on it

- It was manned by Auxiliaries (troops from conquered lands), not Roman Legionaries

- It was supplemented in 142AD by another, earth built wall 99 miles north, called the Antonine wall (after Antoninus Pius, the emperor who ordered its construction)

- It was abandoned towards the end of the Roman occupation

hadrians wall photopack roman soldier letter planner roman soldier word list