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How much did life in Britain change during the years 1750-1900?

The Fighting TemeraireThis classic enquiry offers an overview introduction to the major changes wrought by the Industrial Revolution in Britain.

An engaging hook asks students to draw inferences from paintings by the great 19th-century artist J.M.W. Turner, and this serves to introduce the big theme of the enquiry to students: change. At this point, a card sort helps to familiarise students with the key changes of the period, and students are asked to describe the nature of the changes.

Next, they consider the extent to which these changes represented examples of ‘progress’ or ‘regress’.

Finally, students are in a position to decide whether a number of statements about the Industrial Revolution are true or false – and to comment on the extent to which Turner’s paintings might be considered to represent an optimistic representation of this tumultuous period in British history. A great way of getting students to appreciate the magnitude of the Industrial Revolution, encouraging them to do some really useful ‘change and continuity’ work. 

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