How did the Industrial Revolution affect children’s lives?


Project Overview

Our project this term started with an immersive day where the children travelled back in time to work as the servants in a big house. Guided by the novel ‘The Street Child’ the children learned all about life before, during and after the Industrial Revolution in England. We visited the science museum to explore the advances in technology from the time first hand, and again went back in time for a day in the Ragged School. After the initial weeks of investigatory learning, the children began to apply their knowledge and understanding to compose original musical scores using the GarageBand app. They then worked in teams of 12 or 13 to develop dance moves that represented different themes from the Industrial Revolution; agriculture, education, holidays, work and cities. The children then took their performance to central London to perform, busking for money which was donated to the Barnardo’s children's’ charity.

What the student says

“I’ve liked this project because I’ve learned a lot about how life was different for children in the past and how some of them suffered. If I were alive in the Victorian times I wouldn’t like my life because you might have been paid enough to feed yourself, but if you were in a bad job you could get hurt seriously. Doing our performance has been good because many children are still unfortunate and don’t have a home. Barnardo’s is helping children to have a roof over their head and have better lives. I’m glad we get to help kids who need those things now with this project."

What skills were developed?

​Children worked as historians throughout the project, practicing investigating sources and looking at the continuity and change between life in England before the Industrial Revolution and after. They looked at cause and effect in many different areas such as child labour, holidays, education and investigated how the invention of the locomotive and the railway system changed not only England, but the world. 

What the teacher says

“This project has developed a depth of understanding in our pupils and has vastly developed their analytical skills. They are able to engage with high-level subject matter and have honed their exploratory skills when dealing with historical sources. On the creative side, it has been very interesting to watch the different applications and interpretations of the learning through the medium of dance. The children have really taken on the challenge of creating their movement sequences and have designed a very interesting creative piece.”