Lesson Plans for
High School Students
The following lesson plans correspond to the themes of The Way We Worked. These materials are intended for use in the classroom to prepare high school students for a visit to the exhibition. Each lesson plan is available for free on the Internet, and includes information on its compliance with national standards of learning. These lesson plans utilize a multi-disciplinary approach, make use of primary source materials, and include downloadable worksheets and/or other resources to supplement the lessons.
The National Endowment for the Humanities’ EDSITEment website offers online lesson plans in literature and language arts, foreign languages, art and culture, and history and social studies. EDSITEment has three lesson plans for high school students that directly relate to the themes in the exhibition:
African-Americans and the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps
Students will research the benefits gained and problems faced by young African American men who worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, and analyze the impact of this New Deal program on race relations in America.
Was There an Industrial Revolution? Americans at Work Before the Civil War
A significant number of inventions and innovations transformed American life in the decades prior to the Civil War. This lesson plan provides students with online tools for an investigation of the First Industrial Revolution and its impact on the lives of Americans.
Was There an Industrial Revolution? New Workplace, New Technology, New Consumers
This lesson may be taught alone or in combination with the lesson above. Students will investigate the First Industrial Revolution and decide whether or not early industrialization was truly a revolutionary process.
Great Lodges of the National Parks: Pacific Northwest
The Works Progress Administration and the New Deal
This lesson plan teaches students about how President Roosevelt’s New Deal helped America through the Great Depression by exploring the history of the Timberline Lodge in Oregon, which was built by the Works Progress Administration to employ workers and encourage tourism.
The Library of Congress
The Library of Congress provides online resources that allow teachers to utilize the Library’s primary source materials in the classroom. The LOC has three lesson plans for high school students that directly relate to the themes in the exhibition:
Child Labor in America
Students will explore the work of reformer Lewis Hine, whose gritty photographs helped spur the adoption of child labor laws in the United States.
Sea Changes: A Study of a New England Industry: www.memory.loc.gov/learn/lessons/00/sea/overview.html
Students will explore the unique geographic, cultural, and economic characteristics of the Northeast coast through the study of photographs, maps, and interviews with two New England fishermen in the early 20th century.
United We Stand
Students study the working conditions in the United States at the turn of the 20th century that gave rise to the labor union movement.
The National Archives: Teaching With Documents
The National Archives provides lesson plans that use America’s historical records to sharpen students' skills and enthusiasm for history, social studies, and the humanities. The archives have two lesson plans for high school students that directly relate to the themes in the exhibition:
Photographs of Lewis Hine: Documentation of Child Labor
By the early 1900s, many Americans were calling child labor "child slavery" and demanding an end to it. Hine's images of mostly immigrant or rural working children stirred America's conscience and helped change the nation's labor laws.
Working with Rosie the Riveter: Supervising Women Workers www.archives.gov/northeast/nyc/education/rosie-the-riveter.html
Using the U.S. Office of Education’s film "Supervising Women Workers," which illuminates the hardships they had to overcome to do their patriotic duty during World War II, students will learn to compare and contrast the experiences of “Rosies” working in factories with contemporary views of women in the American workforce.
The National First Ladies’ Library
Devoted to educating people about the contributions of First Ladies and other notable women in history, the Library produces educational materials for classroom students K through 12. The Library has two lesson plans for high school students that directly relate to the themes in the exhibition:
The construction of the Hoover Dam employed five thousand people during the Great Depression. Students will learn about the history of both the dam and the depression, as well as about how to create a web quest.
The Mill Girls of Lowell, Massachusetts www.firstladies.org/curriculum/curriculum.aspx?Curriculum=1010
The textile industry was one of the first to hire large numbers of female workers, and the cotton mills in Massachusetts became world-renowned as “humane” working places for girls and young women. Students will put themselves in the position of these young women, who were sent to work in the mills to earn money for the family farm.
Smithsonian Educator http://www.smithsonianeducation.org/educators/lesson_plans/lesson_plans.html
The Smithsonian Institution’s online resource for teachers, families, and students has extensive teaching materials, links to additional resources, and information on the Smithsonian’s holdings. Smithsonian Educator lists two lesson plans for high school students that directly relate to the themes in the exhibition:
Developed by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History, this lesson plan helps students explore labor, mechanization, technology, and innovation during America’s early Industrial Revolution.
The Price of Freedom: Americans at War
Provided by the National Museum of American History, this series of lesson plans includes “Changing Gender Roles on the Home Front.” Students analyze the societal impact of women holding industrial jobs during World War II using the Museum’s collections of Rosie the Riveter artifacts and images.
On the Home Front
This Ken Burns documentary series explores the Second World War through the personal accounts of a group of men and women from four American towns. In this lesson, which incorporates storytelling, video clips, and other resources, students explore the changes to small-town America brought on by wartime industry, and how people adjusted to life in industrial boomtowns.