Creative Warm-Up: the Industrial Revolution

by

After a few days of studying the Industrial Revolution, I gave students a warm-up activity to get them using primary sources creatively and putting themselves into that time period.

In this activity, students were given a sheet containing two primary sources.  There were several different sheets, and students could trade with their neighbors if they didn’t like the one they received.  They contained photographs, quotes or maps from the period.  They were then asked to write between a half a page and a page in the first person about what life would be like for the people the photo, quote or map describe.  They were encouraged to combine the information from the two sources they received.  After they were given time to write, students shared their answers.

Positives: It was a short activity which gave students an opportunity to get into character for the rest of the lesson.  Some students enjoyed a chance to express their outrage and have it supported by their peers.  Others wrote very poignant, sad descriptions of child laborers and their families.

Negatives: It can be difficult for students who aren’t used to that kind of assignment.  Some sources are also more difficult than others, particularly the map.  Choosing different sources specifically for struggling students or providing an exemplar might help focus students.

Here are the sources I used:

Source A:

Source B:

“Unless you have visited the manufacturing towns and seen the workers of Manchester, you cannot appreciate the physical and moral degradation of this class of the population. Most workers lack clothing, bed, furniture, fuel wholesome food–even potatoes! They spend from twelve to fourteen hours each day shut up in low-ceilinged rooms where with every breath of foul air they absorb fibers of cotton, wool or flax, or particles of copper, lead or iron. They live suspended between an insufficiency of food and an excess of strong drink; they are all wizened, sickly and emaciated, their bodies thin and frail, their limbs feeble, their complexions pale, their eyes dead. If you visit a factory, it is easy to see that the comfort and welfare of the workers have never entered the builder’s head.  O God! Can progress be bought only at the cost of men’s lives?”

Flora Tristan, French socialist and women’s rights advocate, her published journal, 1842.

Source C:


st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) }
<!– /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:””; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} –>
/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-ansi-language:#0400;
mso-fareast-language:#0400;
mso-bidi-language:#0400;}

“A place more destitute than Manchester is not easy to conceive. In size and population it is the second city of the kingdom. Imagine this multitude crowded together in narrow streets, the hoses build of brick and blackened with smoke: frequent buildings among them as large as convents, without their antiquity, without their beauty, without their holiness, where you hear from within, the everlasting din of machinery; and where, when the bell rings, it is to call the wretches to their work instead of their prayers.”

Robert Southey, English Romantic poet, after visiting Manchester in 1807, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society, 1829.

Source D:




Source E:


Source F:

Source G:


st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) }
<!– /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:””; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} –>
/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-ansi-language:#0400;
mso-fareast-language:#0400;
mso-bidi-language:#0400;}

“Perhaps no part of England, not even London, presents such remarkable and attractive features as Manchester, the Workshop of the World. It is to the energetic exertions and enterprising spirit of its population that Manchester is mainly indebted to its elevation as a seat of commerce and manufacture, which i has recently attained and for which it is distinguished beyond any other town in the British Dominions or indeed the world. There is scarcely a country on the face of the habitable globe into which the fruits of its industry have not penetrated.”

Wheelan and Co., preface to a business directory, 1852.

Source H:


Source I:


Source J:

Source K:



nless you have visited the manufacturing towns and seen the workers of Manchester, you cannot appreciate the physical and moral degradation of this class of the population. Most workers lack clothing, bed, furniture, fuel wholesome food–even potatoes! They spend from twelve to fourteen hours each day shut up in low-ceilinged rooms where with every breath of foul air they absorb fibers of cotton, wool or flax, or particles of copper, lead or iron. They live suspended between an insufficiency of food and an excess of strong drink; they are all wizened, sickly and emaciated, their bodies thin and frail, their limbs feeble, their complexions pale, their eyes dead. If you visit a factory, it is easy to see that the comfort and welfare of the workers have never entered the builder’s head.  O God! Can progress be bought only at the cost of men’s lives?”

Flora Tristan, French socialist and women’s rights advocate, her published journal, 1842.

Advertisements

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: