SDR 200 Why invent a railway? Teacher guide

For most teachers, the starting point is the main video. Although relatively short, it contains a lot of information and time to reflect, revisit sections and ask questions can form the basis of a class discussion. The comprehension can further be used to review understanding of some of the key points.

Artefact Activities

The video is based on a petition that was lodged with Parliament opposing the railway. There were many landowners who objected. To help with comprehension there is the original text, a simplified text and a sound supported text with answer sections. Although the text is a challenge it offers a springboard to discussion around pros and cons of the railway. These are themes that matter today with projects such as HS2. A link to their website below can be used to find out more.

Original artefact – petition

Retyped original artefact text

Retyped original text with ‘simple speak’

Pages version for children to write in comments

HS2 educational programme website

Pages version with text read and space for comments

Digital Skills Task

Using information from the video, the artefact resources and possibly even the link to a current live project (HS2) the children can take the opposing sides of the argument head on. Provided below is a starter project in GarageBand ‘Live from Westminster…’ the children can then write a short piece either for or against a new railway. This can be done either as a modern project maybe focussed on HS2 a railway local to you, or set back in 1821 using information from the artefacts. Once written, the children can record themselves directly into the Garageband project as if they are a guest on the ‘show’. You could have multiple points of view in one piece of work or something one sided, up to you.

Of course this can be adapted to a simple writing task or a short ‘news report’ in something like iMovie if preferred. Links to all app help guides are below (click on the image).

Garageband project starter file

Sound file starter for any software

How to open a Gband project file

Other Curriculum – D&T Building Bridges

There were two bridges that had to be built for the original Stockton and Darlington Railway. The Gaunless Bridge was a truss bridge and was used mainly by horses to pull a few wagons over at a time. Locomotives could use it though if not too heavy.

The Skerne Bridge is still standing (the oldest ‘in use’ railway bridge in the world) and is an arch design. The activity is led by the video below and focuses on shape and strength of materials requiring just pieces of paper to resource. It is anticipated that teachers will use their own ‘in school’ science report formats to ask children to record what they find out.

Resource and lesson plan

Info about the Gaunless Bridge

Info about the Skerne Bridge

Story of the first suspension bridge (linked to video task)

Original image of the suspension bridge at Stockton