KS2: Queen Victoria – The ultimate Victorian

Queen Victoria was the monarch who gave her name to an era of discovery, invention and change in Britain.

In this short film, we learn a little about her personal history as we delve into Queen Vic’s diaries.

Narrator Scherrikar Bell highlights some of the amazing things to have come from Queen Victoria’s reign, as well as some of the inventions that were created during her time as queen, for example photography.

This short film explains how Queen Victoria was the longest reigning monarch until our current queen, Queen Elizabeth II.

Throughout the film we touch on history and geography while we talk about the British Empire, art and society as we talk about the invention of photography and how queen victoria used it, and creative writing and English as we explore Queen Victoria’s diary entries.

This short film is from the BBC series, The Victorians.

Teacher Notes

These films introduce a character that can be used as a jumping off point for cross-curricular learning. This can be applied to a variety of subjects across the Key Stage 2 curriculum.

This series of films is designed to introduce real historical figures in an engaging context that can be explored by both students and teachers to help understand a variety of subjects.

The format runs through a few key stories or elements from the lives of the historical figures and applies them to a subject that can be discussed or explored in the classroom. The films act as a catalyst to kick-start ideas and introduce students to a world that can cover all kinds of subjects.

Each film should offer you lots of opportunities to create activities and schemes of work that take an element of the film and expand on it in the classroom with a curriculum based learning objective in mind.

The films should leave the students feeling like they have both a basic knowledge of the Victorian character and that they are engaged with the fun personalities that the film portrays.

The aim is give students a context to understand a variety of subjects that co-exist in real scenarios.

Before Watching

Before getting started with the film, you could introduce your students to the Victorian era. Roughly when it took place historically, what it was like to live in that time and how it’s different from today.

Another useful approach would be to give the students a short introduction to the character, just sticking to the key points to peak their interest.

Before playing the film you should ask the children to keep an eye out for the different subjects, ideas, and objects that are spoken about in the film. At the end of the film you could ask the class to speak about what they’ve seen. This should bring up plenty of jumping off points for you to expand on.

To really bring the history to life you could set a themed day and ask students to wear costumes or adopt a special timetable to reflect the Victorian classroom.

You could ask the students what they already know about the character that features in the film to get a feel for their understanding. Then if the film mentions something they know and have mentioned they’ll feel affirmed in their knowledge and engaged with the film, but also any new information will help them to feel like their understanding has improved.

After watching

Following the film there should be activities lined up to take the learning in the film further. Introducing more detail to the stories and developing the understanding of the elements that have been touched up in the film.

These could be based around a subject. For example as the film talks about the British Empire, there is an opportunity to create other work that looks and the geographical location of other empires, or the historical reason that empires existed and the other leaders that drove them.

Also a lot of the history that is explored in these films still exists today in one form or another. It could be an idea to explore how different subjects have changed between the Victorian era and now.

Next Steps

The next step should be to take the understanding of the subject that is in the Victorian context in the film and develop it into a deeper understanding of the subject that is required by the curriculum.

Curriculum Notes

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

More from The Victorians:

Charles Darwin – The biggest name in Victorian science
Isambard Kingdom Brunel – A total genius of engineering
Pablo Fanque – The greatest Victorian showman
Florence Nightingale – The founder of modern nursing