Men of Iron
C4, Monday-Wednesday, February 28-March 2, 9.30-10.30am This is the first of a couple of inspiring programmes on Channel Four this week which will have 14 to 19-year-old DT pupils taking a new look at a career in engineering. The "men of iron" are the great engineers who built the railways, tunnels and bridges of the 19th century - Richard Trevithick, Thomas Telford, Robert Stephenson and, of course, Marc and Isambard Brunel. The series begins with the Brunels' attempts to put a tunnel under the Thames and the horrific difficulties they encountered.
Engineering at the Cutting Edge
C4, Monday-Friday, February 28-March 4, 11.35am-12noon
A number of innovative engineering schemes were commissioned around the country to mark the millennium. With the help of the designers, Ed McCann looks at the ideas behind two of these. The Millennium Bridge across the Thames between St Paul's and Tate Modern developed into a stunningly elegant structure. Unfortunately, it turned out in use to have a nasty habit of swaying from side to side. Instead of amazing with its beauty, it became for a while a national joke. Designer Chris Wise describes this engineer's nightmare and explains why the bridge wobbled. The second project is the astonishing Falkirk Wheel, the world's only rotating boat lift, taking boats across the 115 feet separating the Forth and Clyde Canal from the Union Canal. This amazing structure now attracts hosts of visitors every year and should dispel any idea that engineering is dull. Uplifting..
Primary Geography: India
BBC2, Fridays, March 4 and 11, 10.30-11am
This new two-part unit (to be followed later in the month by a further four parts for primary history and the expressive arts) examines urban, desert and tropical environments in the Indus valley. The series of six units is intended for cross-curricular use with seven to 11-year olds, giving an overview of the environment and culture of the area. Programme packs are available at Pounds 44.99 (DVD) or pound;37.99 (video).
Around the World in 80 Treasures
BBC2, Mondays, from February 28 (time tbc).
Dan Cruickshank set out last week in the footsteps of Phineas Fogg to visit some of the most remarkable sites in the world and pick out his top artefacts. Obviously, this is a series with a lot going against it: for one thing, the number is arbitrary and so, consequently, is the choice of "treasures" (which vary from small objects in museums to vast architectural or archaeological sites). But Cruickshank is an engaging presenter, despite his hushed, reverential tones, and his travels may provide some useful material for geography, English, history and other subjects along the way.
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