Middle School
History & Social Studies

The Price of Progress: Teaching the Industrial Revolution

Five-year-olds working in coal mines? Your students might be surprised to learn this was actually legal in England at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Important inventions moved work from the home and fields to factories, and this changed turned the world upside down. This collection offers you some great starting points for studying primary sources, as well as pre-made lesson and unit plans for studying the Industrial Revolution in England and America.
A Collection By Amelia Franz
  • 8 Collection Items
  • 8 Collection Items
  • Discussion
The Price of Progress: Teaching the Industrial Revolution
  • theguardian.com
    theguardian.com

    How to teach... the industrial revolution

    6 minute read
    Amelia Franz says:
    This article from The Guardian suggests ways to make studying the Industrial Revolution (British, in this case) more meaningful and relevant for students, and links to several teaching resources. I like the idea of delving into individual stories and incorporating art/literature (Hard Times, for instance). I would add a comparison/contrast between contemporary sweatshops and industrial-age factories around the world. This article is worth a read.
  • Amelia Franz says:
    At $25.00, this Teachers Pay Teachers resource is a bit pricey, but if you're short on time and looking for pre-made PowerPoint presentations, worksheets, and student activities, this should fit the bill. I recommend adding some work with primary source documents, possibly the Lewis Hines photographs described in resources #4 and #5 in this collection.
  • Amelia Franz says:
    From this National Endowment for the Humanities EdSitement! Site, this lesson/unit on the Industrial Revolution in America is very well-organized, with clear learning objectives stated. There are many activities for your students to demonstrate what they've learned from the lesson. Overall, this is a great, high-quality lesson that would work well for high school U.S. History.
  • Amelia Franz says:
    This is an amazing resource. Lewis Wickes Hines worked as an investigative photographer for the National Child Labor Committee in the early 20th century, and over 5,000 of his photographs are accessible/viewable from this Library of Congress site. This resource is a great place to start for truly meaningful and authentic history projects on the Industrial Revolution in America. Your students will learn more from digging into primary documents such as these, than from textbooks and worksheets.
  • Amelia Franz says:
    These photographs and stories of child laborers in America in the early 20th century speak volumes. They are divided by industry (miners, factory workers, farmers, seafood workers) and given captions with key biographical information about each child or group of children. Please warn your students, before researching child labor in these industries, that serious injuries and even death were not uncommon. The stories were not pretty.
  • Amelia Franz says:
    In 1833 the British government passed a law to attempt to deal with the problems of child labor in England. This lesson provides primary sources, such as factory inspection records, and asks students to decide whether this law actually solved the problem of child labor. The final project requires students to design a poster to campaign against child labor in England.
  • Amelia Franz says:
    You can download this unit on the Industrial Revolution in England. It's a thorough resource, with particular attention paid to making history relevant to students by connecting the Industrial Revolution with contemporary events such as outsourcing of labor, WalMart's business practices, and the ethics of "Buy American."
  • Amelia Franz says:
    This video, one of the Crash Course YouTube video series, would work well as an introduction to the Industrial Revolution. Narrator John Reid lists a series of things we all take for granted (eating grapes in winter, among many others) that wouldn't have happened without the Industrial Revolution. It's an engaging video and narration style, if a bit fast-paced towards the end.
BloomBoard SparkOther Cross-Curricular
BloomBoard Asks:How would you use documentary photographs, such as the ones Lewis Hines took for the National Child Labor Committee (resources #s 4 and 5), to help your students grasp what life was really like during the Industrial Revolution?