This downloadable PDF sitemap will give you a visual overview and understanding of all the sections of The Victorians website. Download the sitemap (135KB)
This unit provides pupils with a chronological overview of the Victorian era, through some of the key events of Victoria’s reign.
The task is to investigate various sources that give us clues about Queen Victoria’s life, and place them on a timeline.
At the end of the unit, pupils will have gathered information that can be used to write a biography of Queen Victoria.
Before attempting this unit, pupils should have completed Start here. This will ensure that they are familiar with the enquiry-based method, LACE, which underpins their learning. LACE gives pupils four steps to help them to think and work like a historian using sources. These are:
Describe what you can see.
What questions do you need to ask, and answer, to make sense of what you have seen?
What have you learned about Queen Victoria’s life from this source?
What more would you like to know about? How can you find out?
On completing this unit, pupils will have tackled a variety of different types of source. As a follow up to the on-screen work, you might like to lead a discussion on the nature of the different types of sources pupils have used in their investigation. What are the strengths and weaknesses of different types of source? What kind of information does each source provide? Why are some sources more difficult to use? Why do some objects survive? How do the four steps of LACE help us find out about the past by examining objects?
With a written source we can learn both from what is being said, and how it is being said. Ask pupils to think about the different types of document they have seen, and how these differ in terms of tone of voice. There is a huge range of different types of document included in the resource – letters, newspapers, government reports, advertisements, plans and maps. Encourage pupils to think about the different ways in which these provide insight.
It is helpful to discuss the idea that the artist or photographer has chosen to depict a scene in a particular way. Both paintings and photographs may have been made to convey a particular message.
Finally teachers can explore with their pupils the on-line collection of Queen Victoria's journals from the Royal Archives. These diaries cover the period from Queen Victoria's childhood to her accession to the throne, her marriage to Prince Albert, and later, her Golden and Diamond Jubilees. The journals are fully searchable, have transcripts and can be downloaded for free.
In this unit, pupils will:
Pupils who complete an extension activity to write a biography of Queen Victoria will understand:
This unit is relevant to teachers following the National Curriculum History - Breadth Study: Unit 11a: Victorian Britain.
Pupils should be taught: to identify and describe reasons for, and results of, historical events, situations, and changes in the periods studied.
Extension work can link to the National Literacy Strategy Year 6 Non-fiction Unit 1 – Biography and autobiography.
This unit is designed for use online. Children’s engagement with the historical sources is augmented by full and simplified transcripts of documents, audio transcripts, the ability to zoom into images to explore them in detail. Every step features support and guidance designed to help pupils to answer the key historical question - What can we learn about Queen Victoria's life?
The unit also features an electronic notebook where pupils can record their ideas about each source they evaluate. The notes that pupils complete during this unit can be printed and used as the basis for a further piece of work.
Pupils are presented with two images of Queen Victoria. One image is from her early 20s and the other from near the end of her life. Pupils should use the four steps of LACE to consider what we can learn from these images.
Pupils study a series of sources relating to key events in Victoria’s life and date them for inclusion on a timeline of Queen Victoria’s life.
What else can we learn about the life of Queen Victoria using sources?
As an extension of the online activity, ask pupils to use their notes to write a short biography for Queen Victoria. The format should resemble an entry in an online encyclopaedia, such as Wikipedia.
Teachers may like to discuss the content and format of biographies prior to starting this unit.
Pupils should include information such as:
Pupils should consider other details too, such as, what did Victoria look like? Was she always popular?
Pupils should use the sources they have studied to illustrate their biography and back up any assertions they make.
Other useful tips for pupils, include:
Interactive Whiteboard packs: A collection of pdfs containing hi-resolution images, gallery sources and software for Smart & Promethean whiteboards have been put together for use with this unit. Select which version to download below. Please note you will require an appropriate internet connection as these files are large to download.
File size: 194 MB
Download Smart Notebook software
File size: 114 MB
Download Promethean ActivInspire Software