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Here are some suggestions for further work...
HOST YOUR OWN “GREAT EXHIBITION”…
Either individually or in groups, get the children to imagine a product/invention that would be useful today.
Get the children to draw their idea, with notes on how it would work.
Get the children to work out a brief presentation of the idea for the rest of the class.
Arrange your room/hall with different “exhibits” where the children can display their ideas and drawings.
Travel round the exhibits in turn and let each child/group present their idea to the rest of the “audience”.
How is this similar to the Great Exhibition of 1851?
How is it different?
What sort of people would have visited the Exhibition in 1851?
EXPLOITATION OF THE POOR…
Are there any situations today that involve people living in poverty being exploited for someone else’s gain?
In groups of 4 or 5 create 2 tableaux: one of a Victorian era situation and one of a modern situation.
Think of a title for each scene.
Think of “thought bubbles” for each of the people in the scenes.
Why do these situations still exist?
What can we do to help?
LONDON—A WORKING CITY…
Discuss the different jobs that were available for people to do in and around London. These should include manual, skilled and unskilled labour, service industry, trades and those jobs that the homeless found to support themselves.
In small groups create a series of still images depicting scenes in the lives of these different workers. Think about the differences in working conditions, clothing, safety and the attitudes/satisfaction of those doing the work.
Think of a title for each scene.
Now write a job description/advert for the job you have depicted. This should include the skills you are looking for, as well as “selling” the job to prospective candidates.
Each person research a character from a workhouse. This could be adult/child and they can be the Master or an inmate.
Invent a scenario for your character. How did they end up in the workhouse etc?
Take it in turns to “hot seat” in front of the class, fielding any questions they have about your character.
Working in pairs, one an inmate, one a master.
Take 5 minutes to think about how you feel about the workhouse. Is it a good thing? Try to think of for and against arguments.
Now debate with your partner about the validity of the workhouse.
Formalise your debate into a “script” and present to the class.
Discuss as a class the issues raised.
THE SERVICE INDUSTRY
In a group of 10, number 10 pieces of paper in ascending order.
Each person takes a number and looks at it. Do not tell anyone your number. This is your status (1 is low, 10 is high).
In a given scenario (eg dinner party) the participants interact according to their own number and their perceptions of other peoples status.
Can those watching order the participants in ascending order accurately…?
How did you act according to what your number was?
Did you speak to people differently? Hold yourself differently?
How did it make you feel acting/being treated in this way?
ABUSE OF POWER
In pairs, one is in charge, the other is “slave”.
The master can tell the slave to do anything (within teachers discretion of course) for 1 minute. Eg “Tie my shoelaces for me, give me a piggy back etc”.
How did it make you feel being in charge of another person?
How do you think the real masters felt, being in charge of many people? Try the exercise with more “slaves”.
Here are some ways to further explore the themes we've discussed...