How did building the canal affect where and how people lived in the Victorian period?

Lesson Plan

By Lois Francis

Enquiry Question

How did the building of a canal affect where and how people lived in the Victorian period? (Change and continuity)

Learning Outcome

The children are learnign to give some reasons for, and results of, the main events and changes in history. (Level 4)

Primary Resource

Company of Proprietors of the Stroudwater Navigation archive D1180/2/72 (pages which relate to the building of the Stroudwater Navigation) and 1730 Act for making the River Stroudwater Navigable


Activities for the Children

Knowledge, skills and understanding from the National Curriculum

Using magnifying glasses, the children need to read through the document in stages.
Give copies of the document to groups of children.  Ask them to skim read the document with the following questions in mind:
  • what type of document is it?
  • who produced it?
  • do you know anything about the authors?
  • why was it written?
  • when was it written?

  • look at the evidence available
  • begin to evauluate the usefulness of different sources

Use of text book + historical knowledge


Let the children now read through slowly and thoroughly.  This time ask them to underline words and phrases which they think they understand -

  • Are there any words that they can substitute for modern words?

  • Can the children make any drawings to help them understand what the document is?

Class discussion or ENVOYS
So that frustration can be avoided, it might be useful at this point to, either come together and talk about the document, or to employ the idea of envoys.


  • use evidence to reconstruct life in time studied
  • identify key features + events
  • look for links and effects in time studied
  • offer a reasonable explanation for some events













A discussion needs to be held now to introduce the idea of finding words from the text and assigning them to categories such as the following:
  • Names of people and/or companies
  • Names of places
  • Measurements
  • Dates
  • Jobs



Within each category, there are investigations that could be pursued using other documents from the archive. But it is also essential for children to raise their own questions about the document, which could be done on separate pieces of paper and displayed so that they indicate a learning journey through the topic.
1.    Names of places and/or companies.
This is a great place to start as the Stroudwater Navigation came about through the interest of a number  of local businessmen, who could see the advantages of transporting heavy loads by water, from the River Severn.
This is a crucial activity because the children need to be clear about the need for canals in the early 18th Century.
Children need copies of  a sketch map which shows the topography of the area and the location of major industries of the 18th century. They then need to work in groups and to imagine themselves as  engineers with the brief of transporting coal from  the Forest of Dean or the Staffordshire coalfields to the town of Stroud. Each group would have to argue their ideas, perhaps using an overhead projector . A crucial link with science would be that children would have to understand the upthrust forces in water .
Finding reasons for a canal could also be achieved by using the thinking skill activity of  mystery for the groups to solve.

•    use evidence to reconstruct life in time studied
•    identify key features +
events
•    look for links and effects in
time studied
•    offer a reasonable
explanation for some events









The children could become a company of directors and issue shares. To ensure that they were clear about their mission statement it would be necessary to  investigate the 1730 Act for making the River Stroudwater Navigable.
The children could then use  diagrams of tunnels, locks, aqueducts and embankments to enable them to design
A) the least expensive route
B) The quickest route

Measurements

Can the children make a scale model, using card, of the lock pit from the measurements given? What is the significance of a lock? What job does it do?
Can they convert the measurements to metric?
Can the children estimate the cost of building the Stroudwater canal per mile?

Jobs

All the tasks mentioned on this document indicate a system for building canals.
Rampering
Cutting
Wheeling clods
Pumping water
Wheeling to make up bank
Puddling in the above works.

Children can research what these jobs entailed.
From the description of these jobs, can the children deduce how a canal was constructed?


•    use evidence to reconstruct life in time studied
•    identify key features +
events
•    look for links and effects in
time studied
•    offer a reasonable
explanation for some events
•    find out about everyday lives of people in time studied
•    compare with our life today

•    study different aspects of life of different people - differences between men + women
•    examine causes + results of great events + the impact on people

•    identify reasons for and results of people's actions
understand why people may have wanted to do something





This page was added by Iris Capps on 23/06/2009.

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