Science KS2: Discovering the work of James Watt

Dick, Dom and Fran Scott from 'Absolute Genius' describe the life and scientific work of James Watt.

He was born in 1736 in Scotland and became a mechanical engineer.

Steam engines had been around for 50 years, but he made them much more efficient.

The presenters show how powerful steam can be by heating up water in a bottle attached to a syringe.

They visit a pumping station in Wiltshire to see the separate condenser that made Watt’s design so revolutionary.

They finish by riding in powerful cars to explain how Watt devised the term horsepower as a unit of power.

The key scientific points are made in a fun and student-friendly way.

This short film is from the CBBC series, Absolute Genius with Dick & Dom.

In this entertaining series Dick and Dom learn about the geniuses whose ideas, creations and discoveries have shaped our world.

Teacher Notes

Pupils could be asked to list and describe the main impacts of James Watt's creativity and genius.

This can provide pupils with an introduction to famous inventors, their application of science and how that created real change on millions of lives.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is suitable for teaching science at Key Stage 2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and Second Level in Scotland.

More from Absolute Genius with Dick & Dom

Discovering the work of Archimedes
Discovering the work of Delia Derbyshire
Discovering the work of Elsie Widdowson
Discovering the work of Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Discovering the work of Joseph Bazalgette
Discovering the work of Leonardo da Vinci
Discovering the work of Michael Faraday
Discovering the work of Sir Isaac Newton
Discovering the work of Wernher von Braun