Science of the Industrial Revolution Assignment


Between 1750 and 1900, Europe and the United States went through a period of rapid industrialization. This industrialization was a result of improved technologies that made production cheaper and faster. In addition to production, scientists made important discoveries about diseases, genetics, and chemistry. Humans would never view themselves or their world in the same way again.

Who were the people responsible for these technological advances and how did they come up with these new ideas? During this WebQuest, you will uncover the answers to these questions and develop an understanding of how new ideas can lead to the development of a whole new society.



A new museum dedicated to the Industrial Revolution is nearing completion and the museum's Board of Trustees has decided to hold a competition as a way to decide on the name for the museum. The Museum will be called "The 'Winning Name' Museum of the Industrial Revolution" after the person about whom the most convincing presentation is given.

Working with a partner, your job is to create a powerpoint presentation about who you think is the most influential contributor to the changes that were brought about by the industrial revolution.

You will have three classes to prepare your presentation which you will give on Monday May 25th



  1. Get a group of 3 together
  2. Use the internet to find a definition of the industrial revolution. You will use this definition as a way to show why your contributor's name should be used by the museum.
  3. Briefly read about the inventors below then together select the one your team would like to do a presentation about. Make a second choice as well in case your contributor has already been selected and let the teacher know.
    James Hargreaves
    Invented the Spinning Jenny in 1770. It was a machine that could spin 8 threads of wool at once. Hargreaves developed this machine to the extent that it could spin 120 threads at any one time. These machines were small enough to fit into cottages and rapidly increased production (by hand a person can only spin one thread at a time).
    Richard Arkwright
    Patented the Water Frame in 1769. The Water frame was a large wheel that was turned by running water. This was then harnessed to turn cogs inside a factory which then made the machinery work. This invention led to the building of a number of factories and is regarded by some as being the catalyst of the Industrial Revolution.
    Thomas Newcomen
    Developed the first steam powered. This steam powered pump was used to not only pump water from mines but also to blow air into furnaces, and for pumping drinking water into towns.
    Richard Trevithick
    Developed a steam powered carriage that carried passengers on roads, he developed this idea further and in 1804 created the first locomotive to run on rails (i.e. the first train). He then demonstrated an updated version of his locomotive in London in 1808.
    John Wilkinson
    The greatest iron-master of the age, whose work with smelting and manufacture of cast iron made other inventions possible.
    James Watt
    Developed the steam engine which led to a large number of further developments. Using steam to create energy meant that this new form of powering a machine could be used anywhere, rather than just next to a stream/ river as with the Water Frame. The steam engine is best associated with the invention of trains but also was used to power machinery in factories, to power lifts in mines and for many other purposes.
    George Stephenson
    Stephenson was an engineer in the mining industry and had responsibility for the steam engines that pulled wagons up from the pit face. He rapidly developed these engines and built a locomotive in 1814. he then was appointed chief engineer of the first 'railway' between Stockton and Darlington and later built the famous 'Rocket' which ran on the Manchester to Liverpool line which opened in 1830.
    William Sturgeon
    Sturgeon revealed an invention that laid the foundations for a large scale evolution in electronic communications: the electromagnet. Sturgeon displayed the power of the electromagnet by lifting nine pounds with a seven-ounce piece of iron wrapped with wires through which the current of a single cell battery was sent. However, the true power of the electromagnet was its role in the creation of countless inventions to come.
    Nicolaus Otto
    Otto was the German inventor of the first internal-combustion engine to efficiently burn fuel directly in a piston chamber.
  4. For your presentation research and include the following information
    1. A picture of the person you selected
    2. When and where they lived
    3. A picture of their invention or improvement
    4. A basic description of how their invention or improvement of an invention worked
    5. List at least five ways, either direct or indirect, their contribution changed society at the time
    6. Describe an effect that their contribution has today
    7. 1 fun fact about the inventor
    8. 1 reason why each of the other people should not be chosen



You will receive marks for

I suggest you break the task list into into three pieces, with one person doing task 1, 2, 3 &4, the second person doing task 5 & 6 and person 3 doing task 7 & 8. For timing my suggestion is you spend the first two classes putting the information together individually then spend Friday putting together the PowerPoint presentation and familiarising each other with the information.

I will be interupting to ask questions of all the group members, not just the one who is talking, to check everyone knows everything.