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Workshop Activity details

  • These are all the activities from the Key Stage Two version while the Key Stage One workshop version is a half day morning with the steam train and photography (due to the tasks' complexity) for 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 in a shared 'learning outside of the classroom' experience 

  • Covers the 2014 National Curriculum objective of “a study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066 but also touches on science objectives for light, sound, electricity and forces

Watch our short trailer!

“All fantastic hands-on activities looking at artefacts.  Steam train racing was excellent and the children loved competing against each other” Mrs Foster, y6 teacher, Oldham


Brief summary

1) The telegraph (Morse Code)

Our fully working 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.

morse code in our victorians history workshop for key stage 1 and key stage 2

3) The steam train

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.   

boys using a steam train in our key stage 1 and 2 victorians primary school workshop

2) The phonograph

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, 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.

boy listening to a phonograph in our key stage two victorians history workshop

4) Photography

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.

boys using a camera in our key stage 1 and 2 victorian primary school workshop
dressing up as victorians in our victorian school workshop
cameras in our primary school victorians history workshop
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