Browse Sets

Long live the Queen (Old Curriculum)

Study Victoria - her life, family, portraits and homes. Major inventions lead into the daily life of Victoria’s subjects. Workhouses and child labour are studied through fiction. Use census data, maps, buildings and the advent of railways to develop local history.

Each Topic is written for a particular Key Stage. If you use a Topic for a different Key Stage, you will need to consider how to adapt the outcomes, content, delivery methods, resources and differentiation, as well as the relevant National Curriculum objectives.

This Topic was written for the old National Curriculum of England.  We have left it on the website so that teachers unconstrained by the new National Curriculum can continue to access this material.  Teachers in England would have to adapt this Topic to the new curriculum or use some of the new Topics available on the website. 

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01: A procession of monarchs

How many British monarchs can you name? Create a complete list of the kings and queens of England and work out the family ties that ‘bind’ them. Investigate the reign of each monarch and create a face-mask to wear in the most ‘Royal’ parade of all time!

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01a: Victoria becomes Queen

With so many uncles around, it is surprising that Victoria ever became queen. Explore the life of the young princess and the circumstances that lead to her succession. Travel back to Westminster Abbey in 1838 to “witness” the splendour of the Coronation.

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02: Meet the Royals

Queen Victoria is often called ‘The Grandmother of Europe’. Trace the family tree to discover her royal pedigree and the appearance of her children and grandchildren in royal families all over Europe. Create an interactive family tree on the computer.

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03: The Queen in residence

Victoria and Albert lived in many magnificent royal houses. Take a virtual tour of their favourite country homes and discover how the royal family really lived. Create pamphlets and slideshows to promote the royal residences as “must-see” tourist destinations.

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04: Victoria’s diaries

Historical information comes to us in different forms. Explore the first person accounts of some of the most momentous occasions in the life of Victoria. Read her personal diaries and find out what she really thought of people she met and places she visited.

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04a: The long and short of it

Did you know that Victoria was the first person to appear on a postage stamp? Draw together some interesting and quirky facts about the life of HRH Queen Victoria. Record some of the events, dates and milestones of her reign in a ‘Victorian board game’.

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05: Images of the Queen

What do images of Queen Victoria tell us about her life and times? Children evaluate a range of images and the methods and materials used by their creators and produce a royal collection catalogue and audio guide.

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05a: Portraits up close

Focus on one painting of the royal family to explore what it tells us about Victoria’s life and the methods and materials used by the painter. Children recreate the original in sections and carry out life studies of luxurious fabrics.

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06: Painting portraits

Children create a Golden and Diamond Jubilee portrait of Queen Victoria using acrylic paints on cloth to capture the effects of oil on canvas used by painters of the period. The portrait is given an aged effect and period details.

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06a: Cameos and miniatures

The Queen’s miniaturist is ill and help is needed! Children explore the history, methods and techniques of miniatures and create a portrait of Queen Victoria.

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English Plan 1: Non-fiction - recount and biography

Identify features of recounts. Study an eye witness recount and write own recount of a staged ‘robbery’ they saw. Select success criteria and self-assess their work. Read a short biography. Research a Victorian figure, write their own plan and biography.

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07: The British Empire

Around the Empire in 80 days. Children explore the development of the British Empire and like Phileas Fogg, a Jules Verne hero, take an imaginary trip - identifying places and discovering why they became part of the Empire.

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07a: Empress of India

What was Victoria’s ‘jewel in the crown’? Children explore what life was like in India during the British Raj and discover why India became part of the Empire.

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08: The Crimean War

Glory and honour? Was this really the experience of soldiers in wars of the Victorian period? Focussing on the Crimean War, children imagine they are there at the Charge of the Light Brigade and respond to news reports and poems of the day.

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08a: Lady with the lamp

Who was The Nightingale? Children explore the life and works of Florence Nightingale through research and recreate key events in her life through role-play. What impact did she have on the profession of nursing?

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English Plan 2: Poetry - classic narrative poems

Research the background of 3 poems by well-known Victorian poets: Browning, Tennyson and Longfellow. Explore language, rhyme schemes and features used for imagery. Children write letter of complaint, learn poems and work collaboratively to write own narrative poem.

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09: A book of royal firsts

Queen Victoria was the first monarch to do lots of innovative things. Children explore her encounters with the innovations and inventions of the Victorian era. They create a book of Royal Firsts and a Top 10 quiz.

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09a: The Great Exhibition

‘The grandest spectacle in the world!’ What was The Great Exhibition and why was it created? Through research of a range of sources children create posters and an exhibition catalogue, carefully considering layout and presentation.

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10: Introducing the inventors

A royal invitation – the top 10 inventors of the Victorian age are invited to present their work to Queen Victoria. Children carry out research to explore the impact these inventions had on the lives of everyday Victorians.

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11: Brimming with bright ideas

Through careful consideration of sources, children create a class book: ‘Encyclopaedia of Victorian Inventors’. Children use computing tools to carry out research and present their results in a clear and effective way.

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12: All change

How did the lives of people change during the 64 years Victoria was on the throne? Children use a range of historical sources to write a description of the impact inventions and innovations had on Victoria’s subjects.

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12a: Timeline of a memorable monarch

Time to summarise the life of Queen Victoria. Children present what they have learned about her life, its key events and changes as a large scale-timeline incorporating pictures and captions.

Victorian family life (Old Curriculum)

Study Victoria - her life, family, portraits and homes. Major inventions lead into the daily life of Victoria’s subjects. Workhouses and child labour are studied through fiction. Use census data, maps, buildings and the advent of railways to develop local history.

Each Topic is written for a particular Key Stage. If you use a Topic for a different Key Stage, you will need to consider how to adapt the outcomes, content, delivery methods, resources and differentiation, as well as the relevant National Curriculum objectives.

This Topic was written for the old National Curriculum of England.  We have left it on the website so that teachers unconstrained by the new National Curriculum can continue to access this material.  Teachers in England would have to adapt this Topic to the new curriculum or use some of the new Topics available on the website. 

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01: A peek in the dolls’ house

To start this theme children investigate the Victorian world in miniature. They find out that Dolls Houses are more than toys - they are excellent historical artefacts. They find out more, before thinking about building their own.

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01a: Touring the 1900 house

'Welcome to Linley Sambourne House!' Children take a virtual tour of a wealthy Victorian home and discover what each room was used for. Using this inspiration, children create ideas boards in ‘Changing Rooms’ style for their own Victorian room.

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02: Period details

In this session children find out more about how wealthy Victorians would have wanted their house decorated, before creating artistic impressions. Then it’s into groups and action as they begin work on their room for the class house. Computer resources for wallpaper.

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02a: Building in miniature

Making miniatures is the focus of this session. Children use images of real Victorian Houses and Miniature Dolls' House versions to find inspiration for their own furniture to complement their room in the class house.

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English Plan 3: Poetry - finding a voice

Research and experiment with different poetic formats. Read a range of poems on Victorian themes; express and justify preferences. Use pictures for poetic inspiration. Express own hopes, fears and desires by writing poems on child labour-Victorian and modern.

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03: Victorian artefacts

What is it? What does it do? Why don’t we use them today? These are all key questions as children get their hands on some real Victorian objects. They find out a little bit of the history behind them before making miniature replicas.

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03a: Below stairs

In this session it’s ‘speak when spoken to’ for the children, as they experience the life of a servant through role-play. They read the real life account of Jessie Stephens before using what they have experienced to write their own.

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04: A look in the larder

With 6 courses often being served, getting the food for each meal was an important job. Children discover that some shops and foods for sale are very familiar, before creating shopping lists and calculating the totals using old money.

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04a: Cooking with Mrs Beeton

The table is set just as Mrs Beeton suggested and now it’s time for afternoon tea. Children create some Victorian favourites and learn how to set the table with "A place for everything and everything in its place!"

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05: Washday

It’s Victorian washday in the classroom and children find out how exhausting it was - the hard way! They look at the equipment used, the process and compare their methods to the way we wash clothes today.

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05a: Victorian dress code

It was Mark Twain that said "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society" and so fashion became an important part of Victorian life for the wealthy. Children research, and then create dressed figures for the house.

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English Plan 4: Poetry - Victorian poetic style

Children read limericks and imitate the form and read, discuss, analyse and imitate nonsense poems by Lear and Carroll. They write for younger children. Children discuss Victorian moral poetry for children and parodies by Carroll, Lear and Belloc, and attempt own moral story in verse.

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06: Time for school

So, you have to go to school? Blame the Victorians! In 1870, the Education Act was passed to make education compulsory for all children. Consider the importance of this reform. Write an ‘Education Act’ and debate its worth to the members of the Parliament.

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06a: Poor attendance

Schooling was compulsory, but attendance was poor. Explore original school logbooks and discover reasons for the high rate of absentees. You’d better have a good excuse for not attending school when you respond to an official letter from the School Council.

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07: The Victorian schoolroom

Classes of 50, maybe more. Uncomfortable wooden desks and scratchy old slates. Poor ventilation, lighting and heating. The life of a Victorian pupil was far from easy. View images of typical conditions and recreate the layout of the schoolroom on an aerial map.

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07a: Behaviour and punishments

Teachers in Victorian times were rarely trained and relied on fear and gruesome punishments to maintain control in overcrowded schoolrooms. Find out about some of the expectations of children at this time and the punishments for breaking the school rules.

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08: Lessons and learning

Use personal reflections and photographic images of Victorian classrooms to look at the lessons taught each day. Did boys and girls learn the same lessons? What style of teaching was preferred? How did children learn about the world before TV and computers?

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08a: A schoolroom experience

Time to recreate the past. All evidence of a modern day classroom is to be banished as the Victorian schoolroom comes alive. Dress in period costume and experience a day as a Victorian pupil. Prepare for inspection and don’t speak unless spoken to.

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09: School logbooks

History is recorded in many forms. Victorian school logbooks provide a ‘window’ to the conditions experienced by teachers and students of the era. Read extracts and respond by writing a poem to express feelings about the issues. Enjoy a poetry recital.

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09a: Your school, my school

Compare the experiences of a Victorian pupil with those of pupils in your own school. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of both systems. Prepare a storyboard and create a slideshow to compare and contrast the school experience - past and present.

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10: Are these toys Victorian?

It’s time for play! Compare the toys, games and sports played by children in Victorian times with those of today. Look closely at toys being 'sold in an auction' - are they authentic? Create labels for toys in museum.

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English Plan 5: Non-fiction - instructions and wisdom

Explore oral instructions; compare verbal and pictorial instructions; investigate common errors in content, style and approach. Write an instructional article for a good party. Match proverb parts and know meanings and explore their dramatic interpretations.

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11: Optical toys

Optical toys were very popular in Victorian times. Discover how 'persistence of vision' means that the brain merges together images that the eye has seen to create 'moving' pictures. Make a simple zoetrope.

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11a: Cam mechanisms

Another popular toy in Victorian times was the 'automata' or moving toys, which include a cam mechanism. Study how cam mechanisms work. Children then take up the Cam Challenge to produce their own toy.

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12: Punch and Judy

Discover how seaside holidays became very popular in Victorian times because it became much easier to reach the coast by train. Investigate one of the most popular entertainments at the seaside - the Punch and Judy Show.

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12a: Putting on a puppet show

Children have fun creating their own Punch and Judy puppets and a playscript to put on their own show. Reflect on the progress and success of the construction of their puppets. Finish the theme by watching each other's shows.

My life is hard (Old Curriculum)

Study Victoria - her life, family, portraits and homes. Major inventions lead into the daily life of Victoria’s subjects. Workhouses and child labour are studied through fiction. Use census data, maps, buildings and the advent of railways to develop local history.

Each Topic is written for a particular Key Stage. If you use a Topic for a different Key Stage, you will need to consider how to adapt the outcomes, content, delivery methods, resources and differentiation, as well as the relevant National Curriculum objectives.

This Topic was written for the old National Curriculum of England.  We have left it on the website so that teachers unconstrained by the new National Curriculum can continue to access this material.  Teachers in England would have to adapt this Topic to the new curriculum or use some of the new Topics available on the website. 

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English Plan 6: Narrative - genres

Recap on narrative genres and their features. Read extracts from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Wilde’s The Happy Prince and children’s version of Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles. Read for deduction and inference; role-play; write found poetry and mystery story.

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01: Meeting Dickens

You are invited to witness a murder. Children are introduced to the work of Charles Dickens and the issues of child poverty he raises. Includes the opportunity to read aloud a dramatic Dickensian scene at a Public Reading.

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01a: Struggle to survive

Through extracts from Oliver Twist, children explore themes of child poverty in Victorian England and compare to handling of similar themes in works of modern authors, Berlie Doherty and Jacqueline Wilson.

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02: Setting the scene

Take a tour through Dickens’ London. Children explore the grimy, crime-ridden streets of Victorian London and discover how important setting is when creating a story and the impact it has on how characters behave.

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02a: Good, bad and ugly

Explore the world of Dickens’ imagination and the incredible characters he creates. Children explore how Dickens uses creative vocabulary to create grotesque villains and angelic heroines and have a go at creating some characters of their own.

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03: If they could speak

What a character says is as important as what he does. How does Dickens use dialogue to create his amazing characters? After identifying how to set out and punctuate dialogue correctly, children begin to draft their own Dickensian murder scenes.

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03a: Final instalment

Disaster! Dickens has been in a train crash and the children need to take his place as a writer for the Victorian newspaper ‘The Morning Chronicle’. They put all they have learnt into practice and write the final instalment of a Dickensian novel.

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04: Poverty and poor laws

Through detailed reading children explore the lives of poor people in Victorian England, the impact of the Poor Law and the introduction of the workhouse.

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04a: Workhouse woes

Using a range of sources children explore what happened inside workhouses, including making gruel! What jobs did children do? What did they wear? Where did they sleep? Would being in a workhouse be a pleasant experience?

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05: A world of work

Life was hard for a Victorian child. Children explore the horrible jobs children had to do in Victorian England through contemporary literature, court transcripts and newspaper reports of the day.

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05a: Signing your life away

Through drama children explore the lives of child apprentices in Victorian England. They recreate a scene from Oliver Twist where Oliver encounters a magistrate and pleads not to be apprenticed to a chimney sweep.

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06: The campaigners

It wasn’t all doom and gloom. Using a range of computer based reference sources children research the lives of Victorian reformers such as Lord Shaftesbury and the impact they had on the lives of the poor.

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06a: Is life any better?

Using a class timeline children compare the lives of Victorian children with those of today and imagine how children’s lives might change in the future.

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English Plan 7: Narrative - street child

Read Street Child by Berlie Doherty and explore characters, plot and themes using a range of dramatic and written techniques. Empathise with the characters; analyse the use of language; read for deduction and inference. Develop complex sentence writing skills.

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07: The history of Barnardo’s

In the novel Street Child, the main character meets Dr. Barnardo. Children use computer sources to find out about this famous reformer, what he achieved and his impact on the lives of the poor.

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07a: Barnardo’s today

Through exploration of the Barnardo’s website, children consider how the charity has developed since Victorian times and how attitudes towards children have changed.

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08: Children’s charities

Children compare the methods used by Barnardo in the 1870s to raise awareness about child poverty and the new medias used by charities today. Children draft ideas for their own promotional materials advertising a fair trade event.

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08a: Raising awareness

What grabs our attention? Children create posters, using computing tools, advertising their fair trade event. They consider design choices and effective use of text, images, etc. Children evaluate their own work and aim to make improvements.

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English Plan 8: Narrative - dramatic conventions

Read pieces from three Victorian children’s novels and compare them with screen adaptations. Analyse and emulate Lewis Carroll’s humorous techniques. Invent characters and dialogue. Analyse film makers’ techniques. Write storyboards and film scripts set out correctly.

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09: Lionel Bart’s Oliver

Take your seats for the premiere of Lionel Bart’s Oliver! Children travel back to 1968 and attend a film showing, in the company of HRH Princess Margaret. They consider how Dickens’ story was made musical and write a critic’s review for a Music Magazine.

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10: Where is love?

Time to pull on those heartstrings. Children appraise sad songs from musicals sung by children in extreme hardship. They consider how musical elements are used to create appropriate mood and effect and attempt sad songwriting themselves to reflect a scene from Street Child.

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11: Food glorious food

Is it worth the waiting for, if we live til 84?! Children explore dramatic opening number to Oliver, ‘Food Glorious Food’! They consider contrasts in the visual picture, musical score and movements before working on a whole class dance to recreate the number.

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12: Consider yourself

Join in, get moving and consider yourself one of us! Children explore the big dance number from the film, apply what they’ve seen and develop synchronised group dances of market workers – bringing the Victorian market to life.

Turn back the clock (Old Curriculum)

Study Victoria - her life, family, portraits and homes. Major inventions lead into the daily life of Victoria’s subjects. Workhouses and child labour are studied through fiction. Use census data, maps, buildings and the advent of railways to develop local history.

Each Topic is written for a particular Key Stage. If you use a Topic for a different Key Stage, you will need to consider how to adapt the outcomes, content, delivery methods, resources and differentiation, as well as the relevant National Curriculum objectives.

This Topic was written for the old National Curriculum of England.  We have left it on the website so that teachers unconstrained by the new National Curriculum can continue to access this material.  Teachers in England would have to adapt this Topic to the new curriculum or use some of the new Topics available on the website. 

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01: Victorian census detectives

Children are introduced to the notion of a census in order to ‘turn back the clock’ and find out about people who lived in their local area back in 1841. They become ‘historical detectives’ and use extracts to build visual pictures of families living at that time.

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01a: Census collating and counting

Extracts from the 1891 Census are used to compare with the previous session’s findings and to look for trends. The children then use the data to produce block graphs and pie charts that enable them to read the data more precisely.

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02: Garbage in, garbage out

Children consider the role of the Victorian Enumerator whose job it was to collect the data from the census. They compare this to modern day databases and use the internet to assess several databases for their search capabilities.

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03: The power of the database

This session focuses on a basic spreadsheet database with imaginary Victorian data. The children consider how inaccurate data entry will affect the totals and patterns. They use the database to correct and add data and filter and sort.

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04: The cartographer’s challenge

Children take up the Cartographer’s Challenge and compare maps of their local area from the Victorian period with maps of today. They work out what has changed, been added or no longer exists and consider reasons why.

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04a: The historian explains

In this session we get out and about with old photos, maps, a camera and notebook and focus on how the local area has changed on the ground. Children collect evidence then complete a guide for a Victorian travelling forward in time to re-visit his ‘old’ street.

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05: Population explosion

Children learn of the huge population explosion that took place in the 19th century with the advent of industrialisation and the rural decline. Children use a map of the area showing a wider region than before and colour code it to show growth in the towns/cities.

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05a: When I was a lad

Children consider the effects of the exodus from country to town and how for some, it was the start of a better life and for others, a road to poverty. They write articles/dialogues centred on a grandfather looking back on the changes in his lifetime.

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06: Railways and the changing landscape

The next set of 6 sessions focus on the coming of the railways. We begin by looking at how the railway system came about, how it affected the landscape and what was good or bad about it. The children undertake their own research using books and internet.

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06a: The railways – just the ticket

Time to focus on support or opposition to the railways. Children hear and discuss points of view of real Victorian people then produce a set of railway ticket opinion cards to reflect these views. Will the railways be a ‘First Class Idea’ or a ‘Destination No Go’?

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07: The railways are coming - to us

The railway debate now focuses more locally: children look at censuses and maps and discover movement, job development and town growth. They prepare an unbiased report for a local Mayor of the facts behind their area becoming a railway town.

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English Plan 9: Non-fiction - persuasion

Identify persuasive features in letters and write own persuasive letter. Investigate passive sentences, topic sentences, paragraphs, emotive vocabulary and spelling strategies. Analyse and write a persuasive speech and give at a debate. Write and perform an advert.

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08: The railways: good or bad?

Children analyse reports from yesterday and vote as to which ones are the most unbiased and accurate. After listening to the Town Meeting, children then produce a poster that states whether the railway in their area is a good or bad thing in the 19th Century.

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09: A railway in our town

Children consider occupations of the people in their local area and how the arrival of the railways could affect them individually. They research some of these jobs and get in role as a local character to take part in the debate tomorrow.

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09a: A chance to let off steam

The teacher takes the role of the Town Mayor and chairs a meeting in which local people express their views about the railways coming to their town. Each child takes the role of a townsperson and fully engages in the debate.

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10: Victorian legacy: architecture

Children discuss what they think is the legacy of the Victorians and home in on the style of architecture the Victorians developed. They do some research and collate a guide as to the main features from this period.

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11: Victorian legacy in our local area

Children venture out into their local area and record examples (drawing and camera) of the Victorian architecture still visible – they use guide from yesterday as well as images of how the area used to look and record both detail an large scale.

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12: Our own great exhibition 1

Children use their sketches from the previous session and using line and tone generate a series of art works that will form the start of a class display or exhibition of their local area during the Victorian era.

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12a: Our own great exhibition 2

The Exhibition is now planned fully with each child taking a role - be it design, marketing, research, etc. – the children engage in high-level collaborative work to produce a large display to which the rest of the school is invited.