Our Victorian Incredible Inventions workshop is packed with learning about four of the major inventions of the Victorian age in fun and memorable activities that apply to both the history and science National Curriculum.
One of our most popular activities, our fully working electric telegraph set provides pupils with a truly unique opportunity to learn about morse code and to actually message their friends at the other side of the room using the genuine morse code alphabet. Prompt cards allow the pupils to quickly learn the basics of what is now called "The Victorian Internet" due to the way that it connected people around the globe. This activity also has links to learning about electricity, conductors and insulators and electro magnets.
Perhaps the greatest technological development from just before, and throughout, Victoria's reign was steam power and this is best shown by the key event of the Rainhill trials, held near Liverpool in 1829, which set in motion the incredible age of steam power throughout the rest of the 19th century and beyond.
In this mini reenactment of the trials, pupils power an air powered replica of Stephenson's 'Rocket' around a 25ft track using a stirrup pump, learning all about the transference of energy and how steam pistons work in the process. This is a real highlight of our workshop for many children.
The development of photography signalled a new age of information sharing throughout the Victorian period that still continues today. For the first time in history, people were able to preserve images that were exact records of the moment the image was taken. We explore this by looking at a range of Victorian cameras, before taking black and white photos through our converted brass 1888 Lancaster camera lens. Pupils dress up in Victorian clothes, and, using natural light, learn about shutter speeds and apertures while taking photos of their friends.
(SAFEGUARDING NOTE: all digital photo files are left behind with the school at the end of the day for your own use in displays etc. and nothing is kept stored on our digital camera.
"My favourite part of the workshop was the Victorian photos where you got dressed up. You had your own photo taken with a victorian lens but a new camera. It was awesome!"
"I liked the train track because it was fun - we powered it ourselves and we won the race!"
"I enjoyed learning the morse code".
WORKSHOP AT A GLANCE
Either a full day for one class, with 4 activities, or a shared day for up to four classes with one or two activities per class.
Features four fun inventions with associated activities designed to allow pupils to not just learn about the inventions, but also to handle them and experience how they were used.
Covers the 2014 National Curriculum objective of “a study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066.
Includes a general overview of the Victorian age, including Victoria's ascent to the throne, many other inventions and other historical events from the time.
It is hard to believe in our modern age of downloaded music that there was a time when we weren't able to record sounds, but this changed in 1877, when an incredible american inventor called Thomas Edison created the cylinder phonograph.
In this unique activity, pupils get to hear a genuine 1898 Edison phonograph which was made in the same Menlow park factory where it was originally invented, teaching pupils not only about the science and history behind recorded sound but also giving them a unique time machine back into a bygone age as they hear the crackling, recorded voices singing songs from well over 100 years ago.
This is then followed by a music box activity, which allows pupils to create their own songs that can be played on our machines before they get to keep them as souvenirs for their topic books.
"It was amazing to listen to the old music and I really liked it when we marched on the spot to the songs."