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Key Stage 2

Discovery Sessions: KS2

Discovery Sessions – Victorian era or the coming of the railways

Brunel and the GWR – The Impact of Steam

KS2: Victorian Britain/How did life change in our locality in Victorian times?
 
Focus: Why was the coming of the railways important? How did the development of the railways change the everyday lives of people in Britain and how did people react to the changes?
 
Overview: Investigate the lives and achievements of the inspirational engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Find out about his significance in the building of the railways. Using artefacts and other source materials, pupils explore the lives and views of real Victorian people. They take on the roles of characters who were affected in different ways by the coming of the railways e.g. blacksmiths, farmers, landowners, travellers, coal miners, canal owners, unemployed people, engineers, navvies, hoteliers, school teachers, doctors and Queen Victoria. The session culminates in a role-play debate arguing for and against the railways presided over by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.  
 
Curriculum Links 2014:
• A study of an aspect of British History beyond 1066: A significant turning
   point in British history.
• A local history study
 

Inside the Works – Life in the GWR Factory

KS2: Victorian Britain/How did life change in our locality in Victorian times?
 
KS3: Britain 1750 – 1900
 
Focus: Conditions in a Victorian factory and what it was like to be a Great Western Railway worker or apprentice building locomotives in Swindon.
 
Overview: Pupils step into the shoes of young GWR apprentices and experience the long hours, strict timekeeping, ruthless discipline, harsh rules and hot, dangerous, dirty surroundings of the locomotive factory. Handling original tools and other unique GWR and factory artefacts, pupils explore the different jobs, materials and physical processes involved in the construction of a colossal loco.
 
Curriculum Links 2014:
• A study of an aspect of British History beyond 1066: A significant turning
   point in British history.
• A local history study
 

Life in a Victorian New Town – The Railway comes to Swindon

KS2: Victorian Britain/How did life change in our locality in Victorian times?
 
Focus: the impact that the coming of the railway had on the small Victorian market town of Swindon and domestic and working life in the New Town of Swindon.
 
Overview: Pupils are introduced to a family who, along with many others, moved to New Swindon to work on the Great Western Railway. Using role-play, costume, original artefacts and photographs, pupils find out what life would have been like for the family in the community and how it differed from today. Themes include health and disease, church and school, shops and recreation, housing and police, the Mechanics’ Institute, domestic duties at home and factory conditions at work.
 
Curriculum Links 2014:
• A study of an aspect of British History beyond 1066: A significant turning
   point in British history.
• A local history study.
 

Discovery Sessions – World War Two

Air Raid Experience

KS2: Britain since 1930
 
Focus: what it was like for children living through the Blitz in the Second World War.
 
Overview: The ARP Warden sounds our original siren to signal an imminent air raid. Inside and outside our meticulously researched reconstruction of a public shelter, pupils interpret a superb collection of original WW2 objects and ephemera relating to the Blitz and bombing, air raid shelters, air raid precautions and the role of the ARP Warden. Pupils experience first-hand the conditions inside a shelter including sleeping and personal ablutions. The class consider questions such as how did people pass the time and how did they keep their morale high? After the anxiety of the raid, the Warden sounds the All Clear and pupils emerge from the shelter to reflect on their experience.
 
Curriculum Links 2014:
• A study of an aspect of British History beyond 1066: A significant turning
   point in British history.
 

Evacuation Experience

KS2: Britain since 1930
 
Focus: what it was like for children who were evacuated in the Second World War.
 
Overview: Share the anxiety and excitement as your pupils simulate the experience of leaving, travelling and arriving at destination as evacuees. On our station platform and inside our meticulously researched reconstruction of a wartime carriage, the pupils pack an evacuee’s suitcase, school satchel and lunchbox and handle original WW2 objects relating in particular to gas and blackout. The session finishes with a role-play as pupils are chosen or rejected by host families on arrival in the countryside.
 
Curriculum Links 2014:
• A study of an aspect of British History beyond 1066: A significant turning
   point in British history.
 

World War Two event for schools - We'll Meet Again

(Early October and early March only)

Experience our popular immersive wartime festival for schools.
 
This includes Air Raid Experience and Evacuation Experience, as well as interactive workshops covering wartime memories, wartime childhood, the Home Front and the changing role of women.
 
Please click here for full details about We'll Meet Again. This event is very popular, so please book early.
 
Curriculum Links 2014:
• A study of an aspect of British History beyond 1066: A significant turning
   point in British history.
 

Self-Guided Visits

STEAM features fantastic historic and interactive displays exploring the history of Swindon and the Great Western Railway. It is ideal for visits linked to the history of transport, the impact of the railways, industrialisation, local history, art, engineering and figures of historical significance, including Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
 
School bookings for self-guided visits are available for any Key Stage.
 

Original Gas Masks

Please note that children should under no circumstances bring original or vintage gas masks to the Museum as part of their World War Two visit. Templates for making replicas are provided in STEAM’s additional learning Resources for World War Two.
 

Making a Booking

Take a look at our Planning Your School Visit page to find out more about booking your visit or to download learning resources to use before, during or after your visit.
 
To make a booking call 01793 466640 or email steameducation@swindon.gov.uk
 
Alternatively, click on the following link for our: Learning Enquiry Form

STEAM - Museum of the
Great Western Railway

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