Title: The Industrial Revolution: Disaster or Delight?327

Key Words: Industrial Revolution, urban, rural, agrarian, industrial resources

National Standard: 4
The physical and human characteristics of places.

State Standard: 11
Students will demonstrate an understanding of the physical and human geographic features that define places and regions.

Teaching Level: H

Lesson Introduction: As citizens in an industrialized world, students sometimes find it difficult to imagine life without factories and their products.
The following lesson plan asks them to visualize and to think critically about the change from an agrarian to an industrial society and the impact of that change on both human and natural elements.

Objectives/Purpose: To describe through visual and verbal images the differences between a rural, agrarian lifestyle and an urban, industrial one; to evaluate the benefits and problems brought by the industrial revolution; to assess the impact of the industrial revolution on human and natural elements; to determine on balance whether we are better or worse off because of the industrial revolution.

Materials: One large poster board, multicolored construction paper, glue stick for each group.

Procedure: l. Ask students to imagine the ideal landscape. Brainstorm a list of descriptive words for that landscape. Discuss why their idea of a landscape is "ideal." Highlight and discuss different perceptions of the ideal.

2. Note that the agriculturalist and the industrialist might have different perceptions of the ideal landscape. Discuss what those differences might be.

3. Note the similarities in their perceptions as well. Ask students what features might be desirable to both farmer and industrialist. Focus on rivers. Discuss the benefits of a river for both agrarian and industrial users.

4. Divide the class into groups of four, comprised of the group leader, who is responsible for keeping the group on task, the recorder, who is responsible for jotting down ideas for the project, artistic director, who is responsible for designing the poster, and supplies expert, who is responsible for obtaining and organizing supplies.

5. Distribute one large piece of poster board to each group. Students are to divide the poster board in half by drawing a line down the middle. One half represents the agrarian use of the land; the other, the industrial use of the land. Students are to work together to design and make the poster as a torn paper collage. They may tear out representative shapes. They may not use scissors or other tools. Each side of the poster must feature the same river. The rest of the features may reflect either agrarian or industrial land use. Once the students have designed the poster and obtained the necessary materials, they may all work to tear out the shapes.

6. Allow time for this exercise. At the end of the first day's class, have all groups present and explain their posters.

7. On the second day, redivide the class into three groups. The first group will be comprised of farmers. The second will serve as industrial laborers. The third group will be environmentalists representing the natural forces (the river, the fish, the birds, and the animals). Each group will prepare a presentation explaining the impact of the industrial revolution on their group and listing both benefits and problems.

8. Conduct a panel discussion, with three student-selected presenters from each of the three groups. The group of environmentalists representing natural elements should include one spokesperson each for the fish, the river, and the wildlife.

9. At the end of the discussion, ask students whose voices have not been heard. [Note the absence of immigrants, who won jobs in the factories; factory owners; consumers; future inventors, whose work depended on the progress provided by the industrial revolution; Native Americans, whose land was despoiled by industrialization, and so on].

10. Towards the end of class, ask the class to vote: If they could stop the industrial revolution before it began, would they? Discuss.

Evaluation/Assessment: Student definitions of the ideal landscape; student work in groups on torn paper collages; student formulation of presentations about the industrial revolution in groups; panel discussion on the Industrial Revolution; student votes on the industrial revolution.

Extension/Enrichment: Show students segment 5 from the Geography in U.S. History series ("An Industrial Revolution in Pittsburgh"),Bloomington, Indiana: Agency for Instructional Technology,1991.

Both the video and the accompanying teacher's guide, with documents on the evolution of Pittsburgh, are available for loan through the Learning Resources Center at Keene State College. These are excellent materials on the industrial revolution, providing students with visual images of changes in the Pittsburgh landscape.
Students may choose to investigate further by researching how industrial workers, as opposed to Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick, lived in Pittsburgh.

Additional Standards: National standard 4 (physical and human characteristics of places); standard 6 (perceptions of places and regions); standard 9 (migrations and population); standard 11 ( economic interdependence); standard 13 (changes in resources); standard 14 (human actions modify the environment); standard 17 (interpret the past); state standard 13 (human systems; cooperation and conflict); standard 14 (human/physical systems and resources); standard 15 (interpret the past and present and plan for the future).

Reflection: How successful was this lesson? did all students benefit? Were there any surprises? What might you do differently another time? Please note any changes that will make this lesson more effective and useful in the future and pass them along to the NHGA. We appreciate your comments.

Thank you,

The authors.


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