Empire and migration overview: Gaining an empire

Last updated: 15/11/2023
Contributor: Teachit Author
Empire and migration overview: Gaining an empire
Main Subject
Key stage
Exam board
Thematic studies: Migration
Includes answers
Resource type
Complete lesson
Concepts and methods
Cause and consequence

This resource is suitable for either introducing or recapping the theme of gaining and expanding empires (with a focus on British colonies and the British Empire). It was designed with AQA’s ‘Migration, empires and the people’ unit in mind, but it could be used for a range of similar units, or for non-examination content at key stage 3.

Students colour-code examples from the Middle Ages to the 19th century according to AQA's seven factors for the growth of empires:

  • War
  • Religion
  • Government
  • Economic resources
  • Science and technology
  • Ideas
  • The role of key individuals.

They then plan their response to the following exam-style question:

‘The work of key individuals was the main factor behind the expansion of empires.’ To what extent do you agree?

They finish by writing a conclusion for the essay that they have planned. 

This resource is part of a mini scheme of work on the Teachit site. The other resources are as follows:

An extract from the colour-coding activity:

The Battle of Plassey (1757) allowed the East India Company to take full control of much of India.

Vikings raided England and Ireland to plunder the rich monasteries.


The Maxim gun was a key weapon used by the British to win many victories during the Scramble for Africa.

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