History KS1 / KS2: Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Isambard Kingdom Brunel tells the story of his life. He shows how he became an engineer and tunneled through Box Hill to build the Great Western Railway.

The story is told in the first person, and brought to life with a mix of drama, movement, music and animation.

We see Brunel as a child being taught by his father, following his dream to become an engineer.

Brunel becomes chief engineer on a brand new railway, one that will for the first time transport people from place to place.

This gives Brunel the chance to prove to the world what he and engineering can achieve.

We see how a tunnel is dug through Box Hill, the two sides meeting in the middle perfectly.

We see the first time passengers board the train from London to Bristol.

Teacher Notes

Pupils could go on to discover more about the life of Brunel, fleshing out the account given in the film.

They could use a range of biographical sources, including a dictionary of biography, books about Brunel and website material.

They could devise and script a play about Brunel, using information they have discovered.

They could and present their play at a school assembly.

To round off their study of Brunel, ask: "Which of Brunel's achievements was the greatest?" The class could debate the question and take a vote.

Curriculum Notes

This clip would be relevant for teaching History at KS1 and KS2 in England and Northern Ireland, Foundation Phase and KS2 in Wales and First and Second Level in Scotland.

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