How are different machines, tools and objects, past and present, used in country life?


The Museum of English Rural Life has many fascinating machines that have been used in farming, manufacturing and crafts in the countryside. The artefacts in this museum have transformed the way we grow and manufacture goods. Students will research and analyse different machines, objects and artefacts that have been used, in the past and present, in rural life. They will use the information they have gathered in the museum to create and then play a ‘top trumps’ style game.

Themes and topics:

  • Investigating/analysing previous technologies and the work of others
  • Understanding development in design and technology
  • Design impacts on people, society and the environment
  • Advancement of mechanical systems
  • How technologies have helped shape the world. Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to present day
  • Types of settlement and land use; economic activity
  • Population and urbanisation
  • Use of natural resources
  • Human and physical processes interact to influence, and change landscapes.

Suggested age range:

Upper primary and lower secondary

Learning outcomes:

By the end of this set of activities students will:

  • understand how machines have transformed the way we live in the countryside and the way that objects reflect how manufacturing has developed
  • research and discover how different machines and objects work. Use this information to decide how a machine could be rated using different criteria
  • justify their decisions
  • assess the impact different museum objects had on people’s lives.