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[Detail] Group of Breaker boys

[Detail] Group of Breaker boys

Lesson Overview

Students are immersed in primary source materials that relate to child labor in America from 1880-1920 to gain a personal perspective of how work affected the American child within a rapidly growing industrial society. This project is student-driven. Students engage in visual and information literacy exercises to gain expertise in analyzing historical data. Most importantly, students emerge from this experience with a very personal sense that children significantly and heroically affected the building of America.


Students will:

  • gain expertise in analyzing historical data through exercises in visual and information literacy; and
  • gain a personal perspective on work in an emerging industrial society and its effect on the American child.


Time Required

  • One semester

Recommended Grade Level

  • 9-12


  • Science, Technology & Business
  • City & Regional History


  • Progressive Era to New Era, 1900-1929


Martha Williams & Kelly Killen