Lesson 1: Pure White Linen

This lesson focuses on the bleaching process. It provides pupils with an opportunity to play a memory game to recall the processes used in linen-making. It also gives them the chance to consider the chemical effects and purposes of bleaching through viewing a short film about the process.

Main Areas of Curricular Focus

Lesson Plan

 

Learning Intentions

Learning Intentions

Pupils will:

  • be able to recall the processes used in linen-making;
  • understand the effect of bleaching cloth;
  • know how bleaching processes have changed over time; and
  • understand that there is a demand for colourful and pure white fabrics in textile production.
  • bleach green
  • dyed
  • chemicals
  • sunlight
  • pure white

Starter

Starter

This activity allows pupils to recall the series of processes involved in making linen from flax. Begin by reminding pupils that after the linen cloth is woven it has to be bleached. Ask: ‘Can you remember what happened to the flax before it got to this stage?’ See Unit 1 and Unit 2.

Now carry out the Memory Game with pupils, Active Learning and Teaching Methods for Key Stages 1&2, pages 46–47.

  • Divide pupils into groups of three or four. Ask them to plan their memory strategy and delegate responsibilities within their groups;
  • Put Resource 5.1: Making Linen – Memory Game (IWB) on the Interactive Whiteboard and give pupils 30 seconds to view it;
  • Pupils in their groups must remember as much as they can and write it down on their recording sheet, Resource 5.2: Making Linen – Memory Game (Recording Sheet), including different colours, font sizes, underlining. You may wish to do this against the clock for 5 minutes; and
  • When pupils have finished, ask them to display their group responses and compare them with the answers. How did they do?

Main Lesson

Main Lesson

Tell pupils they are going to watch a video which shows bleaching. Ask pupils if they know what bleaching is and what happens to cloth when you bleach it. Has the sunlight bleached anything in their classroom? Ask pupils if they know what bleach is used for at home – discuss use for cleaning, making toilets hygienic, disinfecting sinks and drains. Ask why it is important to take precautions when using bleach, such as the use of rubber gloves and face masks. Expect responses such as – ‘it would burn your skin’ and ‘the strong smell would make you cough’. Take feedback.

Now watch this video which shows how linen was bleached to make it more attractive.

Display Resource 5.3: Bleach Green (IWB). After watching the video ask pupils why people would have wanted pure white linen rather than brown. Expect answers such as – ‘brown looks dull’, ‘dirty’, ‘boring’. Ask them how the process is different today from in the past. Focus on the use of machines and the length of time taken – one week today when compared with up to nine months in the past.

  • bleach green
  • dyed
  • chemicals
  • sunlight
  • pure white

Resources

Resource 5.3: Bleach Green (IWB)

Plenary

Plenary

Remind pupils that they have seen the cloth being dyed in bright colours. Ask them what they think are the advantages and disadvantages of a pure white material. Expect – ‘looks clean and fresh but gets dirtied easily’; or ‘all white just looks too plain’. Can the pupils suggest what else might be done to give added colour and decoration? Expect – 'coloured buttons, brooches, tassels and fringes'.

  • bleach green
  • dyed
  • chemicals
  • sunlight
  • pure white

Assessment Opportunity

Assessment Opportunity

If you wish to assess pupils’ responses to this lesson, see the suggestion below.

Pupils may work together to peer assess their embellished jackets discussing what went well and what could be improved. They should use TS&PC Thinking Card: Evaluating what you have done.

Other Activities

Additional Pupil Activity

1. Creative Art

Provide pupils with an opportunity to decorate a plain white jacket, see Resource 5.4: Linen Jacket (Template). Pupils may wish to decorate with paints and small items such as buttons and different coloured paper. You may wish to extend this activity further to show how embroidery is carried out.

  • bleach green
  • dyed
  • chemicals
  • sunlight
  • pure white

Resources

Resource 5.4: Linen Jacket (Template)

Teaching Kids to Embroider

Links to Curriculum

Cross-Curricular Skills

Cross-Curricular Skills: Communication

Children should be given opportunities to engage with and demonstrate the skill of communication and to transfer their knowledge about communication concepts and skills to real-life meaningful contexts across the curriculum. (Language and Literacy).

Talking and Listening
  • Participate in a small group activity to complete a memory game against the clock; and
  • Participate in a whole class discussion, for example after watching a short video about bleaching linen.
Reading
  • Read and recall in sequence the processes involved in linen production; and
  • Watch a short video and examine a photograph (media text) about the bleaching process. Select, evaluate and communicate information relevant to the process.

TS&PC

Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities

  • Self-management (Peer assessment)
  • Working with Others (Memory Game)
  • Managing Information (Memory Game)
  • Being Creative (Decorate a jacket activity)

WAU

The World Around Us: History

Change Over Time
  • How the world has changed over time due to technological developments, as seen in the picture of the bleach green and manual workers compared to the film of the mechanised process.
 

The World Around Us: Science

Change Over Time
  • Changes that occur to everyday substances, for example how cloth loses its colour when bleach is added.

The Arts

Art and Design

  • Explore the visual elements of colour, pattern and texture in embellishing an image of a pure white jacket.

PD&MU

Personal Development & Mutual Understanding

Strand 1 (Personal Understanding and Health)
  • Keeping safe by understanding the dangers of chemical products such as bleach and the need for precautions to protect skin and lungs when using it.
Strand 2 (Mutual Understanding and the Community)
  • Developing an understanding of the different preferences of consumers with regard to colour of textiles and how these preferences affect what is produced.

Active Learning and Teaching Methods

Active Learning and Teaching Methods for Key Stages 1 & 2

These active teaching and learning approaches encourage active participation from pupils, making the learning a more relevant and enjoyable experience.

This fun activity allows pupils to recall the series of processes involved in making linen from flax.

Suggested Websites & Resources

up to the year 1770, linen was bleached with buttermilk?

In partnership with  Ulster Scots Agency