Time: About 1 week of class time, including presentations is required for the lessons. Begin research with the text but some will require access to the Internet and the library.
History Social Science Content Standards:
8.12 Students analyze the transformation of the American economy and the changing social and political conditions in the United States in response to the Industrial Revolution.
6. Discuss child labor, working conditions, and laissez-faire policies toward big business, and examine the labor movement, including its leaders (e.g., Samuel Gompers), its demand for collective bargaining, and its strikes and protests over labor conditions.
7. Identify the new sources of large-scale immigration and the contributions of immigrants to the building of cities and the economy;
11.2 Students analyze the relationship among the rise of industrialization, large-scale rural-to-urban migration, and massive immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe.
1. Know the effects of industrialization on living and working conditions,
History Social Science Thinking and Analysis Skills
Chronological and Spatial Thinking
1. Students explain how major events are related to one another in time.
2. Students construct various time lines of key events, people, and periods of the historical era they are studying.
Historical Research, Evidence, and Point of View
3. Students distinguish relevant from irrelevant information, essential from incidental information, and verifiable from unverifiable information in historical narratives and stories.
5. Students detect the different historical points of view on historical events and determine the context in which the historical statements were made (the questions asked, sources used, author's perspectives).
Suggestions for the teacher:
Materials for teaching about labor history vary in quality considerably. It will be necessary to help students in their research through the use of textbooks, encyclopedias, and a wide range of secondary sources.
This lesson attempts to bring the study of labor unions from their early years up to modern times so that the cause and effect and changing social values can be more clearly studied and discussed. Union activity, especially when it becomes violent or when its leaders espouse socialist or radical philosophies, can be controversial topics for the classroom. The ideas of civil disobedience, both the need for and the consequences of it, should be explored and discussed. American democratic ideals and civic education are a useful guide to this discussion.
The quality of the exhibits will be much improved if various colors of background paper is provided and students have access to word processors and printers.
If time or resources are limited, each class might focus on one labor leader and do bulletin board displays on that leader so that the other classes could see and review the material. Formats or software (Tom Snyders Timeliner) for the timeline or other parts of the project may be used by the teacher to make the task easier.
Create a scoring rubric for the project with students at the beginning of the activity. Post the rubric as the students are working. Have them take notes on and discuss the presentations of their classmates.
Make union and labor activity part of a year-long classroom news watch. In the class discussion of these news events, continue to evaluate them according to the criteria used in this lesson.