Become the expert

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Before You Read “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens

Groups of 4 Experts:

1)You will split up the sub-topics listed below.

2)Each member will research the sub-topic enough to become an Expert on the sub-topic. While researching, each Expert should create a T-chart of “Key Ideas” and “Interesting Facts.” Listen to Mrs. Young when she explains the difference between the two.

3)Each Expert will report back to the group members what they have learned. Each group member has an opportunity to ask questions of the Expert so that everyone in the group clearly understands what that sub-topic is about.

4)Each expert will make and give a 3 question quiz to their group members after giving their report. The quiz must include 3 questions that demonstrate that the group members clearly understand what the sub-topic is about, its key ideas and maybe 1 interesting fact.

Schedule of Events:


  • choose the sub-topic.

  • you will read information given by Mrs. Young and if needed, research any of the sources listed to become an expert

  • write your 3 question quiz (refer to #4 above)



1) Victorian Era - Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, the Empire

2) Industrial revolution (Darwin, Bell, Freud), the railway

3) The Great Exhibition

4) Education Reform, Charles Dickens

Source Wiki by students:

1) Victorian Era (1837 - 1901)

The Victorian Era of the United Kingdom was the period of Queen Victoria´s reign from June 1837 to January 1901. She became a queen at eighteen years of age upon the death of her uncle William IV.

Family Tree Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria was born on May 24, 1819. She was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, minor son of the reigning King George III. When George died without issue in 1830, and his brother inherited the throne as the King William IV. But in 1837 William died in infancy and the eighteen-year-old princess became Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland. Her reign as the Queen lasted 63 years and seven months, longer than that of any other British monarch . Victoria was a virgin queen until February 10, 1840, when she took her first vow and married her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Their relationship was one of great love and admiration. Together they bore nine children, among them the future King Edward VII. She arranged marriages for her nine children and forty-two grandchildren across the continent, tying Europe together; this earned her the nickname "the grandmother of Europe".

Queen Victoria Franz Xaver Winterhalter Queen Victoria and her Family

Prince Albert was the dominant male influence in Victoria's life. She was totally devoted to him, and completely submitted to his will. Victoria did nothing without her husband's approval. Albert assisted in her royal duties. The general public, however, was not enamored with the German prince; he was excluded from holding any official political position, was never granted a title of peerage and was named Prince Consort only after seventeen years of marriage. His interests in art, science, and industry spurred him to organize the Crystal Palace Exhibition in 1851, a highly profitable industrial convention. He used the proceeds to buy lands in Kensington for the establishment of several cultural and industrial museums.

On Dec. 14th 1861 Albert died from typhoid fever at Windsor Castle. Victoria remained in self-imposed seclusion for ten years.

Franz Xaver Winterhalter - Prince Albert

The first ten years of her reign were largely uneventful with the exception of a rebellion by individuals known as the Chartists (1842) who claimed to want election reforms to give common people the vote. Queen thought that it was unfortunate that these poor, uneducated people would do this, quite obviously, they really did not know what is in their best interest.

Throughout the middle years of her reign, Victoria presided over Britain's involvement in the Crimean War (1854-56), non-intervention in the Prussia-Austria-Denmark war of 1864-1866, and the aversion of a Franco- German war in 1875. She also presided over major domestic reforms in the British government, including the Second Reform Act of 1867 and the Representation of Peoples Act of 1884, both of which greatly expanded the population of her subjects permitted to vote in parliamentary elections. Victoria also added the title Empress of India to her crown in 1876.

The British Empire lasted through many rulers, gathering more colonies and power with the passage of time. However, the empire was at its peak during the reign of Queen Victoria. As Britain expanded more and more, Queen Victoria found it necessary to have a foreign policy. The Commonwealth of Nations stood as a symbol of how Britain treated their colonies, because to this day the above countries and Britain still have close ties. The possession of colonies gave world-power status to a country and Queen Victoria could boast "the sun never sets on the British Empire". She led Great Britain to its great ages of expansion while keeping Britain almost free of war. The era is often characterized as a long period of peace, known as the Pax Britannica. Before achieving this, she had made a lot of effort in making connections with other European countries, with the help of her children. The Victorian Age brought about great changes in all areas of everyday living. There were great political, economical, religious, and social changes which influenced the attitudes and values of the emerging society along with many writers of that time. Countries were rapidly changing from an agricultural to an industrial society. Around this time Victorian England saw great expansion of wealth, power and culture that influenced not only England but most parts of the world.

In 1901 the death of the much-loved Victoria saw the end of this era, and the ascension of her eldest son, Edward, saw the beginning of the Edwardian Era, another time of great change.

Interesting facts

*She wore a white wedding dress and ushered in the world wide trend of brides wearing white.

*It was legal for husbands to beat their wife with a stick provided it was no thicker than a thumb.

*Queen Victoria was the first Royal to go by train.

*In 1888 the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper murdered and mutilated five (and possibly more) prostitutes on the streets of London.


2) Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution is a widespread replacement of manual labor by machines that began in Britain in the 18th century. The Industrial Revolution was the result of mechanization of the textile industries that transformed agricultural economies into industrial ones. The effects of machine tools spread throughout Western Europe and North-America during the 19th century and affected eventually most of the world. It led to the growth of cities, influenced almost every aspect of daily life and was the first step in modern economic growth and development.

The major changes, which made working a lot easier were the improvements in metallurgy, textile production as well as in mining and chemical industry. These agricultural changes made it possible to feed all the people who were attracted to the industrial centers as factory workers. New technology helped to increase production, profits and commerce (both foreign and domestic) alongside all the negative effects of the Industrial Revolution.

Due to the rapidly growing population, industrial towns were crowded, dirty and unregulated. The conditions in such cities were awful and unsanitary. As a result, the outbreaks of diseases, such as typhoid and cholera, were a big problem. Although child labor had existed before the Industrial Revolution, it culminated in the 18th century. Many children were forced to work in terrible conditions for much lower pay than their elders and because of their uneducatedness, working in factories was the only way how to cope with society.

One of the most important innovations is the invention of the first telephone. Alexander Graham Bell never set out to invent the telephone. Initially, he wanted to develop a multiple telegraph. He later studied the concept of sound vibrations and in June 1875 the first telephone was born.

The Industrial Revolution made iron more available and soon it began to be used on building railways. In 1789, an English engineer, William Jessop, designed the first iron railway and his invention became quickly popular. The steam engine that was developed in the late 17th century, changed by a long shot the way trains looked. Richard Trevithick developed a new type of engine which used high-pressure steam, thus making the system more powerful and suitable for transport applications.

In addition to that, Charles Darwin who was an English naturalist came up with the theory of evolution, which says that all species have evolved over time from common ancestors, through the process called natural selection. His theory was accepted quickly in most scientific circles.

Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud became the father of modern psychoanalysis. He concentrated in this works on mental illnesses and came up with the idea of unconscious. He was concerned that dreams are disguised expressions of unconscious wishes. His attempts to understand the relation between the unconscious and conscious, led him to the workings of the id, ego, and superego. In his words the organism acts only to survive and reproduce, and it is guided by its needs.

Timeline of the Industrial Revolution for Students

This Industrial Revolution timeline will give students an overview of some of the most important inventions of the period. These inventions forever changed the way people lived, worked, and relaxed.

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The Industrial Revolution varies from country to country because it is essentially the time when an economy shifted from being agriculturally based to being based on large scale manufacturing. The British Industrial Revolution began towards the end of the 18th century. The early part of the 19th century saw the Industrial Revolution arrive in the United States, France, Belgium, and Germany with other countries advancing throughout the 20th century. This Industrial Revolution timeline will highlight some of the major events and people of the various Industrial Revolutions.

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1712 – The first commercially successful steam engine is invented by Thomas Newcomen.

1752 – The lightning rod is invented by Benjamin Franklin.

1764 – The spinning Jenny is invented by James Hargreaves.

1770 – The automobile is invented by Nicolas Joseph Cugnot.

1776 – The submarine is invented by David Bushnell.

1784 – The threshing machine is invented by Andrew Meikle.

1785 – The power loom is invented by Edmund Cartwright.

1786 - The steamboat is invented by John Fitch.

1791 – The gas turbine is invented by John Barber.

1793 – The cotton gin is invented by Eli Whitney.

1796 – The smallpox vaccination is invented by Edward Jenner.

1798 – Interchangeable parts are invented for guns by Eli Whitney.

1799 – The fourdrinier machine, which manufactured rolls of paper, was invented by Louis Robert.

1800 – The electric battery was created by Count Alessandro Volta.

1804 – The solid fuel rocket is invented by William Congreve.

1810 – Preserving food by using sterilization and removal of air is invented by Francois Appert.

1814 – The locomotive is invented by George Stephenson.

1821 – The electric motor is invented by Michael Faraday.

1823 – The electromagnet is invented by William Sturgeon.

1830 – The sewing machine is invented by Barthelemy Thimonnier.

1831 – The reaper is invented by Cyrus Hall McCormick.

1835 – The revolver is invented by Samuel Colt.

1837 – The telegraph is invented by Samuel Morse and Charles Wheatstone.

1840 – The bicycle is invented by Kirkpatrick MacMillan.

1849 – The water turbine is invented by James Francis.

1851 – The breech loading rifle is invented by Edward Maynard.

1861 – The electric furnace is invented by Wilhelm Siemens.

1861 – The machine gun is invented by Richard Jordan Gatling.

1868 – The typewriter is invented by Christopher Sholes and Carlos Glidden.

1876 – The telephone is invented by Alexander Graham Bell.

1877 – The phonograph is invented by Thomas Edison.

1879 – The incandescent light bulb is invented by Thomas Edison.

1884 – The multi-wheel steam turbine is invented by Sir Charles Algernon Parsons.

1893 – The diesel engine is invented by Rudolf Diesel.

1893 – The gasoline automobile is invented by Charles and Frank Duryea.

1903 - The airplane is invented by Wilbur and Orville Wright.

1908 – The assembly line is famously implemented by Henry Ford.

Child Labor And the Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution is acclaimed for the profound changes it created in society. However, Industrial Revolution era child labor is one of the often forgotten tragedies of the period.

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How Was Child Labor Introduced?

The industrial revolution provided numerous new inventions that allowed for the creation of factories. Within these factories were new machines that increased the production of consumer goods. The increased number of machines that needed workers created a labor shortage.

Prior to the industrial revolution children often began working with their families in the farm or as an apprentice to a trade at a very young age. This was a common practice and the continuation of that practice into the arena of factory work seemed natural.

Children were considered an excellent source of cheap labor. In addition to being inexpensive, they were also much smaller than adults and were able to get into spaces which would be much too small for an adult. Unfortunately, most of these small spaces were also quite dangerous and the mortality rate of children working in factories was quite high.

Extreme poverty was another deciding factor in the popularity of child labor during the Industrial Revolution. Most families in England were exceedingly poor and every family member, from the youngest to the oldest, had to work if starvation or eviction was to be avoided. Even after tentative measures were put into place to protect children they would often begin working as soon as the mandatory school time was completed at around age eleven.

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Where Did They Work?

A great many children worked in factories, however, there were other jobs during the Industrial Revolution that utilized child labor. Children were frequently employed as chimney sweeps during this time because they were small and agile and easily able to fit inside the chimney to clean it.

Coal mines employed children because they were small enough to fit into tunnels that grown men were unable to traverse. They would often begin working in the mines as young as age five and because of the hazards of the working conditions few lived to be thirty.

Other jobs were less dangerous and included selling wears on the streets, street sweepers, domestic servants, errand boys, and construction workers.

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What Were the Working Conditions Like?

Working conditions were miserable across the board. Factories required workers to stand long hours in poorly ventilated rooms. In the summer temperatures would be stifling and in the winter they would be freezing. Before child labor laws were put into effect children would often work sixteen hours per day.

After 1833 that was reduced to twelve hours per day for children ages eleven to eighteen and eight hours per day for children ages nine to eleven. Children younger than age eleven were no longer allowed to work in textile factories, although other industries were not mentioned. Unfortunately, the new regulations were difficult to enforce and often had little effect.


3) The Great Exhibition

The Great Exhibition, also known as The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations was an international exhibition held in the Victorian era. From this event the World Fairs grew out, which are held in different places of the world until this day. However, the idea of an industrial exhibition actually originates from France, where the French Industrial Exposition was held in 1844. After the tremendous success of the exhibition in France, proposals to hold such an event in Britain were put to Parliament, explaining the commercial and economical benefits. These did not find any support at all until Prince Albert got involved.

Having received the permit from Parliament, Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert and innovator Sir Henry Cole became the main organizers of the exhibition. Prince Albert wanted to use free trade to create communication between nations and help achieve world peace. All countries were invited to display their industrial and cultural achievements at the exhibition, though Britain, being one of the leading industrial countries, put great emphasis on showing the greatness of its own inventions.

There were more than 100,000 exhibits. Items on display included Britain's steam engine, new industrial machines and industry's raw materials as well as works of craftsmanship, the precursor to today's fax machine, the world's first voting machine, the biggest known diamond of the time and many water-powered expositions, including fountains.

Perhaps the most remarkable exhibit, the building in which the The Great Exhibition was held, was built in Hyde Park from cast-iron and glass. Because of its appearance it was called the Crystal Palace. The 564 meter-long building, which at the time was unusual and resembled a greenhouse, was designed by gardener and architect Sir Joseph Paxton.

The exhibition was opened by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on 1st May 1851. The queen was very proud of being able to host such an event. The hidden aim of holding the exhibition, to raise the popularity of the monarchy, was achieved. The queen herself visited the exhibition several times.

Over the five months that the exhibition was held, the Crystal Palace had over 6 million visitors. Everyone from schoolboy to Queen came to partake in the big event. This was another thing that made the event so special. The initial entrance fee, £4 per person, was dropped to 5 shillings a week after the grand opening. This allowed the middle-classes to visit. On 29th May the entrance price was further reduced to 1 shilling so that also lower classes could afford tickets. Visitors poured in from all around, but especially from Britain thanks to the sudden growth of railways in the Victorian era.

During the time of the exhibition, the Crystal Palace had its own fire brigade consisting of twelve fire engines and teams of trained firemen. On 30 November 1936, after the Crystal Palace had been saved many times from deterioration and destruction, it burnt down and could not be rebuilt. Despite this, it will always be remembered not by the British alone, but by the whole world in connection with the Great Exhibition.

Inventions of the 17th Century

What were some inventions in the 17th century? Learn more about the inventions and discoveries of this period.

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The 17th century, or the time between 1601 and 1700, was revolutionary. This was the time period when science, math, and reason all began to emerge from the shadow of mysticism and superstition. It was during this period that the great thinkers who would inspire the industrial revolution began making themselves known. This was the time of Galileo, Blaise Pascal, and Isaac Newton. These are names that are often mentioned during lectures on math and astronomy, but most people think they were isolated in a period of scientific darkness. This is completely untrue. There were numerous inventions and discoveries made during the 17th century.

What were some of the inventions of the 17th century?

1608 The refracting telescope is invented by Hans Lippershey.

1609 Galileo Galilei was the first person to observe the skies with a telescope.

1620 First submarine invented by Cornelis Drebbel.

1624 The slide rule is invented by William Oughtred.

1626 St. Peter’s Basilica completed.

1629 The steam turbine is invented by Giovanni Branca.

1642 The adding machine is invented by Blasie Pascal.

1643 The barometer is invented by Evangelista Torricelli.

1650 The air pump is invented by Otto von Guericke.

1656 The pendulum clock is invented by Christian Huygens.

1663 The reflecting telescope is invented by James Gregory.

1668 A reflecting telescope is invented by Isaac Newton.

1670 Champagne is invented by Dom Perignon.

1671 A calculating machine is invented by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.

1674 Bacteria is first seen and described in a microscope by Anton Van Leeuwenhoek.

1675 The pocket watch is invented by Christian Huygens.

1676 The universal joint is created by Robert Hooke.

1679 The pressure cooker is created by Denis Papin.

1684 Newton completes calculations on gravity.

1684 Gottfried Leibniz published his theories and work on calculus.

1693 Isaac Newton published his work on calculus.

1698 The steam pump is invented by Thomas Savery.

Many of the greatest inventions of the 17th century were theoretical in nature. Understanding gravity, creating a form of math to understand physics, and having the ability to study the stars and planets are all advances future scientists and mathematicians would build upon. Without these advances, the industrial revolution would not have been possible. Advances in medicine such as the microscope, identification of bacteria, and the ability to transfuse blood all revolutionized the medical field and made true medicine possible.

While the Industrial Revolution gets much of the credit for altering everyday life, without some of the inventions of the 17th century the famous advances of later centuries in science, math, and medicine would not have been possible.

The Victorian era became notorious for the employment of young children in factories and mines and as chimney sweeps. Child labor, often brought about by economic hardship, played an important role in the Industrial Revolution from its outset. In 1840 only about 20 percent of the children in London had any schooling.

For many children in the 18th century, going to school each day was not an option. There was no such thing as free education for everyone. From the 18th century onwards there had been some ragged schools, however they were few and far between. They had been started in areas where someone had been concerned enough to want to help disadvantaged children towards a better life.

The schools were given this name because the children who attended had only very ragged clothes to wear and they rarely had shoes. In other words, they did not own clothing suitable to attend any other kind of school.

Many of the schools were started by the Churches and were staffed by volunteers. But due to the growing number of children it soon became necessary to have paid members of staff. Many petitions to Parliament were made.

Charles Dickens, the famous British writer, was concerned about the education form, public health and the reform of the legal system. His articles covered social issues.

Although Dickens was a very successful novelist, he continued to be interested in social reform. Dickens decided to invest some of his royalties in a new radical newspaper, The Daily News. Dickens became editor and in the first edition published he wrote: "The principles advocated in The Daily News will be principles of progress and improvement; of education, civil and religious liberty, and equal legislation."

Charles Dickens helped the process of the education act coming to power. His point of view was the foundation of the Education Act of 1870, which was drafted by William Forster.

The Education Act of 1870

With the Education Act of 1870, the modern system of education in England was formed. The act required the establishment of elementary schools nationwide. The country was divided into school districts and in those areas where there was inadequate provision school boards were to be elected. The schools were often called "board schools". Elementary education became effectively free with the passing of the 1891 Education Act.

Effects of the act

Between 1870 and 1880, 3000-4000 schools were taken over by school boards. Rural boards, run by parishes had only one or two schools to manage, but industrial town and city boards had very many. Rural boards favored economy and the release of children for agricultural labor. Town boards tended to be more rigorous in their provisions and by 1890 had some special facilities for gymnastics, art and crafts, and domestic science.

Following continued campaigning by the National Education League, in 1880, attendance to age ten became compulsory everywhere in England and Wales.

Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870)

Teacher Questions to keep the Research on Task; If needed.


1.) How long lasted the reign of Victoria?

2.) How many children did Victoria and Albert have?

3.) What is the Pax Britannica?


1. ) About 63 years.

2. ) 9

3. ) A long period of peace during the reign of Queen Victoria.


1) What were the aims of the Great Exhibition?

2) Where was the Great Exhibition held?

3) Which social classes were able to visit the Great Exhibition?


1) To create communication between nations, achieve world peace, make money and for the monarchy to gain popularity amongst the people

2) In London, Hyde Park, the Crystal Palace

3) All of them.


1) Where did the name "ragged schools" derive from?

2) Who were the founders of the first schools for poor children?

3) Who helped the process of the education act come to power?

4) When did the elementary education become effectively free?

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