Progressive Era- Life in America

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					          The Progressive Era: A Study of Life in America 1900-1920

                                                  Terryl Meador
                                                  Northwest High School
                                                  Spring 2010

Detroit, MI, ca.1925.
American Landscape and
Architectural Design, 1850-1920

This unit provides an overview of the major issues dealt with during the Progressive Era.
This unit would be appropriate for a 10th grade US History class. Issues of race, suffrage,
and immigration are explored through the use of primary documents. Students will
determine the importance of the fight for women to vote and explore the issues of
immigration that are still relevant today. The will examine the lives of immigrant
children doing adult work, question the appropriate role for African Americans at this
point in American history, and look at how the growth of cities changed the face of

    Overview/ Materials/LOC Resources/Standards/ Procedures/Evaluation/Rubric/Handouts/Extension

Overview                                                                  Back to Navigation Bar
Objectives                          Students will:
                                     Understand the challenges that Americans faced
                                        during the Progressive Era.
                                     Examine social problems that plagued the nation due
                                        to industrialization.
                                     Determine the challenges faced by women and
                                        African Americans in their quest for equal rights.
                                     Trace the experiences of immigrants as they
                                        adjusted to life in America.
Recommended time frame              2 weeks, 10 45 minute bells of instruction
Grade level                         10
Curriculum fit                      American History
Materials                           Netbooks, shoe box for the project, analysis sheets,
Ohio State Learning Standards                                             Back to Navigation Bar

                                                            Teaching with Primary Sources
                                                                   Illinois State University
              History 9
             d. Changes in living and working conditions for the
             early industrial working class, especially women and
             History 10
             The emergence of a middle class and its impact on
             leisure, art, music, literature and other aspects of
             People In Societies 11
             Explain how the United States has been affected politically,
             economically and socially by its multicultural diversity
             (e.g., work force, new ideas and perspectives, and
             modifications to culture).
             Citizen Rights and Responsibilities 11
             Explain how citizenship includes the exercise of personal
             responsibility and active participation in a democracy
             a. Behaving in a civil manner;
             b. Being fiscally responsible;
             c. Accepting responsibility for the consequences of one's
             d. Practicing civil discourse;
             e. Becoming informed on public issues;
             f. Voting;
             g. Taking action on public issues;
             h. Providing public service;
             i. Serving on juries.
             History 12
             2. Analyze primary source material to see if a historical
             interpretation is supported.
             3. Analyze cause-and-effect relationships and multiple
             causation including the influence of ideas, the role of
             chance and individual and collective action.
             People in Society 12
             Identify the perspectives of diverse cultural groups when
             analyzing current issues
             Government 12
             Identify and analyze an issue related to domestic or
             foreign policy in the United States (e.g., human rights,
             intervention in conflicts between other countries, or health
             2. Explain how individuals and groups, both governmental
             and non-governmental, influence domestic and foreign
             policy and evaluate how these actions reflect
             characteristics of American democracy.
Procedures                                        Back to Navigation Bar
             Day One:
              Students will respond to a set of initial prompts to
                begin the unit. How does urban life differ from rural
                                    Teaching with Primary Sources
                                           Illinois State University
    life? Brainstorm on the board all of the responses.
    Then, what problems exist in the city that do not
    exist or are less problematic in the country?
    Brainstorm on the board. Finally, who is
    responsible for solving these problems?
   Students will examine the issue of immigration.
   Have students read the poem by Walt Whitman and
    examine the picture on the same page. What
    message is Whitman sending about how we should
    view immigrants? Is this a common view today?
   Finally, have students read the interview of
    Donatella B from Italy. What are the problems and
    challenges that Donatella encounters? Are those
    common to all people who are immigrants?

Day Two:
    Students will examine images of immigrants to
      determine the differences and similarities in the
      experiences of those who came to America in
      the time period. They will use the document
      analysis sheet to guide them through the process.
Day Three:
    Students will examine the issue of child labor
      and how it functioned within America and
      within the immigrant communities.
    Follow the link on the resource page to access
      the lesson on child labor. First, access Lewis
      Hine’s report and then have the students answer
      the questions about the report.
    Discuss how and why child labor was used and
      what short and long term consequences occur
      from using young children for this type of labor.
Day Four:
    Students should return to the American Memory
      page and go to activity four. They will examine
      photographs of children working in a variety of
      trades and fill out the Observing Children at
      Work sheet.

Day Five:
    Students will examine a broadside to determine
      why specific men believe that women should
      vote. Then have them look at the arguments that
      women put forth. Are they similar? Different?
      Finally, examine the reasons given for denying

                     Teaching with Primary Sources
                            Illinois State University
                   women the vote. Which broadside makes the
                   most compelling argument? Discuss how the
                   arguments for and against might be different if
                   this argument were being made today.
             Day Six and Seven:
                 Students will examine the lives of African
                   Americans in the era through the use of popular
                   media and then compare and contrast the
                   messages of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B
                   Dubois to determine the future of African
                   Americans in America during the Gilded Era.
                 First have students read the newspaper article
                   about the role of music and complete the
                   analysis sheet.
                 Then have students examine the Washington
                   speech using the same analysis sheet.
                 Finally have students examine the writings of
                   Dubois using the analysis sheet. Look at page
                 Discuss how the men are similar in their outlook
                   and how they are different in their outlook.
             Day Eight and Nine:
                 Link to the photographs of urbanization. Use the
                   photo analysis form to work through the
                   photographs. Have student predict the problems
                   that urbanization might bring. How might
                   LaFollette’s solutions work on these problems?
                 Students will examine the role of Robert
                   LaFollette in constructing positive change in
                 Have students link to the article by LaFollette.
                   Use the analysis sheet to work through the

             Day Ten:
                 Students will read the overview of cities. Lead a
                   discussion over what is mentioned in the article
                   and how our cities today are both similar and
                   different. What time period do they believe is
                   better and why? Which city has the most appeal
                   to them? Introduce the shoe box project.

Evaluation                                   Back to Navigation Bar

                                 Teaching with Primary Sources
                                        Illinois State University
            Students will create a shoe box project to demonstrate
            understanding of the Progressive era. See link to rubric..
Extension                                       Back to Navigation Bar
            Students will determine what the American Dream
            looked like for people living in America in 1900 by
            using Library of Congress resources.

                                  Teaching with Primary Sources
                                         Illinois State University
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Replace this text with an assessment rubric for your learning experience. There are some
excellent web sites such as that simplify rubric
                               Making A Poster : Shoe box project

   Teacher Name: Terryl Meador

   Student Name:     ________________________________________

   CATEGORY           4                      3                     2                      1
Content - Accuracy    At least 8 accurate    5-6 accurate facts    3-4 accurate facts     Less than 3
                      facts are found in     are found in the      are found in the       accurate facts are
                      the box.               box.                  box..                  found in the box.

Attractiveness        Thebox is              The box is            The box is             The box is
                      exceptionally          attractive in terms   acceptably             distractingly messy
                      attractive in terms    of design, layout     attractive though it   or very poorly
                      of design, layout,     and neatness.         may be a bit           designed. It is not
                      and neatness.                                messy.                 attractive.
Required Elements     The box includes       All required          All but 1 of the    Several required
                      all required           elements are          required elements elements were
                      elements as well as    included on the       are included on the missing.
                      additional             box.                  box.
Use of Class Time     Used time well         Used time well        Used some of the       Did not use class
                      during each class      during each class     time well during       time to focus on
                      period. Focused on     period. Usually       each class period.     the project OR
                      getting the project    focused on getting    There was some         often distracted
                      done. Never            the project done      focus on getting       others.
                      distracted others.     and never             the project done
                                             distracted others.    but occasionally
                                                                   distracted others.

                                                           Teaching with Primary Sources
                                                                  Illinois State University
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Insert each handout as a separate page so that it can be printed for student use. We have
provided four blank pages for you to copy and paste your student handouts.

Designed and developed by theEducation Staff, National Archives and
Records Administration,Washington, DC 20408

                                                        Teaching with Primary Sources
                                                               Illinois State University
                         Observing Children at Work

Photograph Title and URL:

1. Where are these children? List any clues relating to their surroundings.

2. Describe any tools or objects you see.

3. Describe their clothing. What do their clothes reveal about their work?

4. What do you think they are doing?

5. What questions do you have about each of these photographs?

6. Based on your observations, list three things you might infer about the lives of
these children.

                                                     Teaching with Primary Sources
                                                            Illinois State University
Teaching with Primary Sources
       Illinois State University
Designed and developed by the Education Staff, National Archives and
Records Administration, Washington, DC 20408

                                           Teaching with Primary Sources
                                                  Illinois State University
Shoe Box Project

Pick a city in the United States at the turn of the century. Cover your shoebox with a street map of the city. Fill your
shoe box with a variety of items that you would find in the city at that time. Items should reflect topics that we have
covered in the unit(child labor, women, African Americans, problems with urbanization, etc.) Make sure that you
have written explanations for why the items are in the box and what the item is. See attached rubric.
        Primary Resources from the Library of Congress
                                                                                            Back to
Image          Description                  Citation                   URL                 Navigatio
          Whitman Poem               Library of Congress,       n Bar
                                     Immigration Collection   ers/classroommaterials/pr

          Interview with Donatella   Library of Congress,
          B, Italy                   Immigration Collection   ers/classroommaterials/pr

          Images of Ellis Island     Library of Congress,
                                     Prints and Photographs   nt/list/070_immi.html
Lesson over child child   The Learning Page,
                          Library of Congress      arn/lessons/98/labor/plan.

Women’s suffrage          Library of Congress,
broadside-reasons why     Rare Book and Special    /cgi-
men argue that women      Collections Division     pebib:@field(NUMBER+
should vote                                        @band(rbpe+13200200)

Women’s suffrage          Library of Congress,
broadside-reasons why     Rare Book and Special    /cgi-
men argue that women      Collections Division     pebib:@field(NUMBER+
should vote                                        @band(rbpe+13200200)
 Atlanta Compromise                                     
                               Booker T. Washington Papers,        /cgi-
                               Manuscript Division. (6-5)          bin/ampage?collId=od

 Newspaper article about       New-York tribune. (New York
                               [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, September 19,    cn/sn83030214/1920-09-19/ed-
 role of music in African      1920, Image 70
 American culture

Excerpt from the Souls      Southern Voices: Texts  
of Black Folks              from the University of            cgi-
                            North Carolina at                 bin/query/r?ammem/un
                            Chapel Hill                       call:@field(DOCID+@

 Broad opposing women’s        Library of Congress,      
 suffrage                      Rare Book and Special               i-
                               Collections Division                bin/query/r?ammem/rbpe

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