This activity is suitable for students aged 6-11, you can download a free, printable PDF version here.

Print out a set of revolutionary inventions and discoveries from the resource such as:

Faraday’s electric generator

Telegraph machine

Chloroform inhalers

Penny Black


Davy lamp

Steam whistle

Jaquard loom

Locomotion I

SS Great Britain


Montgolfier hot air balloon

The difference engine

… and some modern-day equivalents such as a laptop, FaceTime/Skype, a first class stamp.

Make sure children can see all the images. Play a ‘who am I’ game: one child chooses an object and the other children take it in turns to ask questions and work out which one they are thinking of. Their question can only have a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, e.g. ‘Does it have two wheels?’ not ‘How many wheels has it got?’

Only when they are absolutely sure they have the right answer and have eliminated all the other possibilities can they make a guess. When they make their guess, they must back up their answer: “I think it’s a Velocipede because it has two wheels, is powered by the rider, has no pedals and it’s old”.

This could be done with other themes or sets of images such as different types of transport:

Locomotion I

SS Great Britain


Montgolfier hot air balloon

HM Bark Endeavour

Forth and Clyde steamboat

Find images of modern-day equivalents for each one to print out, such as a high-speed inter-city train, an ocean liner, a mountain bike, a passenger aircraft. A space shuttle would make a good match for Endeavour which made dangerous voyages to explore parts of the world unknown to people in Britain, just as astronauts make dangerous voyages to explore space today – there is even a Space Shuttle named Endeavour after Captain Cook’s famous ship.

Make the game more difficult by introducing more examples, or using examples that are very similar to each other.