It is often difficult for students to imagine the physical reality of the early Industrial Revolution, so this lecture strategy is intended to help students conceptualize and visualize the new world of machines. It is possible to approach this lecture strategy using images or literature, or a combination of the two. Its objectives are:
• to help students picture the course of the Industrial Revolution—its major inventions and how they were employed
A good place to start is with a literary figure who will probably be familiar to most students—Bob Cratchit, the lowly clerk in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol (you might care to show a clip from one of the movie versions of the novel). Explore with students this depiction of a member of the lower middle class in the 1840s—the difficult conditions of his life, his utter dependence on a skinflint tyrant, and the novelty of jobs like Cratchit’s in the early Industrial Revolution. Go on to consider what had changed in British life by the 1840s, at the time Dickens wrote his novel. From there, you could take a variety of approaches, including the following.
Consider the physical presence of machines, a handy point at which to introduce students to important early industrial inventions and how they affected patterns of work. Some machines to include are:
• the Watt steam engine (How big was it? How loud was it? How hot was it?)