History KS3: Industrialisation

An animation for KS3 history students about industrialisation: Britain's role in the Industrial Revolution and how industrialisation has spread across the globe.

After defining what is meant by the term ‘industrialisation’, the film describes some of the processes involved in industrialisation and how it changes people’s working lives. It talks about increased food production as a prerequisite for industrialisation, and about urbanisation which usually happens alongside industrialisation. The film then looks at the Industrial Revolution in Britain: how the steam engine was one key technological breakthrough leading to mass production, increased trade, better transport infrastructure and the birth of modern capitalism.

The film then touches on how industrialisation happens at different times in different parts of the world, using the countries of East Asia as an example of industrialisation due to the high tech and service industries, and countries like Brazil, Mexico and South Africa which are emerging as countries of mass production, selling to other countries.

The film ends by saying industrialisation usually leads to higher wages and better living standards, but it has also been charged with causing social problems like pollution and wealth inequality.

Illustrative examples are chosen from popular schemes of learning so that learners can confidently apply their knowledge and appreciate the dynamic nature of the concept being explained. This short film could be used to support learners investigating:

  • Ideas, political power, industry and empire: Britain, 1745-1901
  • Britain as the first industrial nation – the impact on society
  • A local history study
  • A depth study linked to one of the British areas of study listed
  • A study over time, testing how far sites in their locality reflect aspects of national history
  • At least one study of a significant society or issue in world history and its interconnections with other world developments

Teacher Notes

This short film can be used for whole class direct instruction or with smaller groups and individuals.

Since the film is designed to clarify the process of industrialisation, primarily with reference to Britain, it can be used as a flexible tool to help learners make connections and think about cause and effect, leadering to similarity and difference at different times in various parts of the world.

The film can be revisited at a later key stage, depending upon learners’ differing needs and starting points, to help reinforce the umbrella term, consolidation knowledge and understanding and aid progression

Points for discussion
Students could be helped to understand how we know what we know about the process of industrialisation, exploring the types of sources used to reach conclusions.

The film provides initial stimulus material and provides an opportunity to consider the views of those who may have been marginalised during the industrialisation process.

Accompanying animations from this series on Capitalism, Empire, Migration and Revolution might also be helpful to students wishing to extend their knowledge.

Suggested activities
Individually or in groups, students could predict what they think will come up in the film, drawing up a list of key words, and whilst watching, cross-check what they thought they would hear with what they learned. This could help to correct preconceptions, assumptions or misconceptions. This could be a national or global perspective.

Students could watch and then ‘write the script’, teach others or provide a voice over, recalling information from memory by way of retrieval practice in a ‘storyboard’ style.

Students could actively watch whilst completing a ‘Plus, Minus and Interesting’ (PMI) table to assess the positive and negative impacts of industrialisation on different groups of people in society.

This could be widened out to examine the rate, pace of change and differing experiences of industrialisation in different parts of the world.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is relevant for teaching history at KS3 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 3rd Level in Scotland.

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