Resources and curriculum links for 'Is'

Below is a chapter by chapter breakdown of the topics covered in the novel, together with possible resources that can be used to cover other subjects:

Chapters 2 & 3:

Includes discussion on various types of bridge. Isabel designs a bridge with an arch so flat that the science master dismisses it as impossible. It is in fact based on Brunel's Maidenhead bridge. Resources: looking at different types of bridge construction, reasons why and benefits of different designs.  Curriculum Link at Key Stages 1 & 2: Bridges (Design and Technology) 

Chapter 4:

Discussion about the Thames tunnel - first tunnel built under a river - and Brunel historical background. Resources: looking at tunnelling methods - principle of Marc Brunel shield method still employed today - Channel tunnel etc. Curriculum Link: History at Key Stages 1 and 2 - Unit 12: How did life change in our locality in Victorian times? Section 4: What evidence of Victorian times remains in our area? 

Chapter 8: 

Discussion about Broad Gauge and perceived benefits; and building of Box tunnel - longest tunnel built at the time - historical background. Discussion about SS Great Britain and SS Great Eastern.General discussion about museums.  Resources: looking at the effect that a low centre of gravity and greater stability can have on achieving higher speeds. (Broad gauge). Discussion about railways and growth of railways in Victorian era.  Curriculum Links: History at Key Stages 1 and 2 - Unit 12: How did life change in our locality in Victorian times? Section 3: How did the arrival and expansion of the railways affect our area? Looking at methods of propulsion through water, why a propeller is more efficient than a paddle wheel - and relevance today in turbines (SS Great Britain and SS Great Eastern).  Science at Key Stages 1 & 2 - Unit 1E:  Pushes and Pulls - Section 5: What causes movement?  General discussion about museums.  Art and Design at Key Stages 1 and 2  Unit 9: Visiting a museum, gallery or site 

Chapter 9:

Discussion about why metal ships float. Experiment in classroom with half a brick in water. Kevin Ryder (against all expectations) manages to lift the brick!  More historical information on SS Great Britain and SS Great Eastern. Resources: demonstration of Archimedes principle using half of brick, cotton and bowl of water.  Curriculum Link: Science at Key Stages 1 & 2 Unit 6E: Forces in action - Section 4: Weighing in air and water  NB: This experiment could be performed as an activity while reading chapter 8 to the class.

Chapter 12:

Reference to Sophia Brunel (Isambard's sister) who, it is said, could have been a brilliant engineer too but for the times she lived in. References to Neyland - terminus of Great Western and links to America. Reference to laying first transatlantic cable. Resources: Historical information about transatlantic routes, growth of telecommunications and implications today. Discussion about role of women in Victorian society and occupations - how gender affects occupation choice today. Curriculum Link: History at Key Stages 1 & 2 - Unit 4: Why do we remember Florence Nightingale?  Additional information not covered in 'Is' - IK Brunel designed pre-facbricated hospitals for the Crimea which made life easier for Florence Nightingale and the soldiers under her care.

General information and further resources are available from: STEMNET and for information on challenging gender stereotyping in Science and Engineering, there is WISE