A Victorian Farm in Action

How Does a Steam Thresher Work?

This activity uses video clips and images to investigate how a steam threshing machine works.


Learning Objectives

  • To understand how steam power is created and used to operate machinery.
  • To understand how energy can be transferred using belts and pulleys.
  • To identify and order the different actions and parts of moving machinery.


Use the images of the steam thresher and steam engine to introduce the machinery and the job it did at Church Farm. There are further threshing images in the Powerpoint image gallery.


Show the video clips of the steam engine and threshing machine, showing both in action. Show the clips with the sound muted at first and ask pupils to see if they can describe how the machine works or the different processes involved. Show the clips again with the commentary outlining how the machines worked.


Ask pupils to list the different processes involved in the working machines. Can they identify the way in which energy is produced and transferred and what actions the energy is used for?


Pupils can then try the Threshing Machine labelling activity a worksheet task involving identifying and ordering the different parts of a working steam thresher. 


Extension Activity

Pupils could try writing a description of how a steam thresher works. This could be a simple non-narrative format or could lead to the creation of multi-layered texts, including use of hyperlinks and linked web pages for instance as an entry for an encyclopaedia web site such as How Stuff Works (link below).


Pupils may also be interested in listening to the lyrics of 'The Old Threshing Mill' by Foster and Allen (a link to the You Tube video can be found below). They may like to try writing their own song or poem which describes a steam thresher in action.


Document icon Learning article provided by: The Village - Church Farm, Skegness | 
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