New
New
Year 1

Brunel's race to cross the Atlantic

I can describe Brunel's attempts to win the 'race across the Atlantic'.

New
New
Year 1

Brunel's race to cross the Atlantic

I can describe Brunel's attempts to win the 'race across the Atlantic'.

Lesson details

Key learning points

  1. Just under 200 years ago, a race was underway to see which would be the first steamship to cross the Atlantic.
  2. A British engineer called Isambard Kingdom Brunel designed the SS Great Western to try and achieve this.
  3. It was a wooden hulled steamship with masts, sails and a paddle wheel.
  4. The SS Great Western was narrowly beaten by the SS Sirius, which became the first steamship to cross the Atlantic.
  5. Brunel then designed and built the SS Great Britain, the first iron steamship with a propeller to cross the Atlantic.

Common misconception

Pupils may think that the 'race across the Atlantic' was an actual race, like on school sports day.

At around the same time, people in different places were trying to achieve the same thing, so whoever achieved it first won the 'race'.

Keywords

  • Steamship - a steamship is a ship that uses a steam engine to help it move

  • Paddle wheel - a paddle wheel is a large wheel, turned by a steam engine, used to move a boat

  • Propeller - a propeller is something that spins to move a ship forward

Brunel designed many ships, railways and bridges. Explore some of his other designs with the class, you could show them photographs of the amazing Clifton Suspension Bridge for example.
Teacher tip

Licence

This content is © Oak National Academy Limited (2024), licensed on Open Government Licence version 3.0 except where otherwise stated. See Oak's terms & conditions (Collection 2).

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6 Questions

Q1.
What is steam made from?
ice
Correct answer: water
oil
Q2.
What does a sextant measure?
Correct answer: distance
time
speed
Q3.
Which device on a ship is very similar to a clock or watch?
sextant
compass
Correct answer: chronometer
Q4.
What new feature helped steamships move through the water?
sails
Correct answer: propeller
rudder
Q5.
What else did steamships have that was useful on long journeys?
Correct answer: heating system
extra rooms
spare sails
Q6.
Put the ships in the order in which they were invented, starting with the earliest.
1 - canoes
2 - longboats
3 - junks
4 - steamships

6 Questions

Q1.
What was Isambard Kingdom Brunel's job?
Correct answer: engineer
sailor
teacher
Q2.
Which two of these ships were designed by Brunel?
Correct answer: SS Great Britain
SS Sirius
Correct answer: SS Great Western
Q3.
What was the hull of the SS Great Western made from?
Correct answer: wood
tree trunk
iron
Q4.
True or false? Both the SS Great Western and the SS Great Britain had a wooden hull.
true
Correct answer: false
Q5.
What device is powered by the engine of a steamship?
Correct answer: propeller
sails
mast
Q6.
Complete the sentence. Isambard Kingdom Brunel wanted to win the 'race across the Ocean'.
Correct Answer: Atlantic, atlantic

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