Open accessibilty tools

Exploring identity through local heritage

The following activities can be used as described or adapted to suit the needs of your students. You can complete them in any order or select those that are most suitable for you.

These activities are also detailed in the ‘notes’ accompanying each slide of the Powerpoint should that be an easier way to access them.

Teachers notes are to be used in conjunction with the Powerpoint: Exploring identity through local heritage, both documents can be downloaded below.

(Please note: Activity tabs are just a sample of the downloadable content)

Slides 2 – 13


Slide 3

Working individually, in pairs on in groups, ask students to jot down words that describe each person’s identity – just based on what they can see.

If you have time, students could jot down their different words on post-it notes and pool them together under three headings (eg) Person 1, Person 2, Person 3.


Slide 4

Now ask students to repeat the exercise using these fuller images.

Discuss: have their responses changed? In what way?


Ask students to work with someone they don’t usually work with.

Give each pair one minute to discover some things that they don’t have in common.

Go around the class (no repetition allowed) until students run out of examples, or until you have highlighted that there are lots of things that make us different or unique.


Ask students to talk again for one minute, this time finding things that they have in common. Go around the class again asking for examples. Ask the rest of the group to raise their hand if they also share this characteristic.


Talk about:

  • Even when people’s identities are different, we can always find characteristics in common.
  • Even when we share similar identities, we will always have something which makes us individual.


Slide 5

Can students guess the connection between the three individuals on Slides 3 and 4?

Clue: it’s something that they not only have in common with each other, but with also all the students.


Slides 6 – 12

These slides reveal the answers and tell students more about the three individuals. Find out more:

Alice Schofield Coates


Dr Nicholas Patrick mission photograph


Otegoowgoow by Sydney Parkinson


Slide 13

Students can either simply spend some time thinking about the questions, or the questions can be used as the basis for a group or class discussion.



Slides 14 – 16


Slide 15

Working in pairs, give students just two minutes to list as many characteristics as they can that make up our identities. They can use these images from the Tees Valley Museums resource as prompts.


Then go around the class, and ask each pair to suggest a characteristic without repetition.

If needed, use questioning and prompting to create a list that includes all the categories on the next slide (Slide 16).


Find out more about the images here:

Activity 3: Identity, tattooing in the Tees Valley


Slides 17 – 28


Slide 18 – 22

Show students these slides.

(Slide 19 is a repetition of some earlier information, repeated here as a reminder or so that the activity can be used in isolation.)


Slide 23

Ask students to discuss the images in pairs or small groups, then feed their answers back to the whole class.


There are no right or wrong answers to this – it is all about the students’ interpretation. Did they come up with similar or different answers?


Talking points could include:

  • The symbols on the wrists are a bass cleff and treble cleff which are used in music notation
  • The bird cage and bird tattoos belong to two different people –what do they think the relationship is between them?
  • The shoulder tattoo is the gender symbol for female (sometimes associated with feminism or lesbianism) and the Chinese character for female.
  • The arm tattoo is request from a client of local tattoo artist Alex Williamson




Slide 24

(When discussing this and the following two slides, be aware of potential sensitivities that may arise).

Do students know what these images represent?



Slide 25

Find out more at:


Slide 26

Find out more at:


Slide 27

Students could simply reflect on this or take turns to google an image of a famous figure with a tattoo and display it on the class whiteboard for discussion


Slide 28

Thinking about tattoos and the fact that they are permanent…


Ask students to write down all the characteristics that reflect their identity (you could use Slide 16 as a prompt). Tell them this is a private task and that they won’t be asked to share any of their answers.

Then, ask students to think about which characteristics are public and which are private.

Ask them to decide which of the public and private characteristics are the most important to them and their identity.


Finally ask them to sketch two designs. One which reflects their public identity (they will be asked to share this one) and one which reflects their personal or private identity (they will not be asked to share this one). Their design could be simple or complex, include symbols, a picture, letters and/or numbers. It must be something that students think will remain a permanent part of their identity – as if they were having it tattooed.


Students can share their public identity designs with the class – are anyone’s designs the same or similar?


Or, collect in the students’ public identity designs. Show them to the class and ask them to guess which member of the class it belongs to (be aware of sensitivities here – this may not be an appropriate activity for your group).


Slides 29 – 33


Slide 30

Introduce students to Alex Williamson.


Slide 31

This is a true scenario and typical of the kind of situation tattoo artists often find themselves in. It is an issue strongly debated within the tattooing community.


Working in small groups, ask the students to discuss the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ options on the next slide.

If there is time, students could research this further and debate the issue of whether a tattoo artist should refuse a customer.


Can they think of another solution to the dilemma?


They could vote (anonymously or publicly) on the outcome.



Slide 33

What do students think of the real outcome?


Slides 34 – 43


The Tees Valley has an extraordinary history. Use these slides to show students just some of the things their amazing local area is famous for.


Slides 42, 43 and 44 are a repetition of earlier facts – they can be used to reinforce earlier learning or as new learning if the earlier activity relating to these images has not been undertaken.


Find out more: