The ABC’s of Industry

Author: Sara Chavarria
Editor: Stephanie Nardei, MLS

Time: 50 minutes
Photocopy Handout 1: 1 per student
Materials: Handout 1/Overhead 1 – Blank template of Industry
Defined Web
Overhead 2 – Industry Defined Web with answers
Overhead 3 – Terms and phrases for Industry Defined Web template


In this Explore lesson students will define Industry. To learn about times during the Industrial Revolution in America, students must understand how business functions in any economy.

Students will be able to:
1. Summarize the three sectors of industry by creating and interpreting a web organizer.

National Council for History in the Schools
Historical Thinking Standards

  • Standard 2F: Utilize visual and mathematical data presented in charts, tables, pie and bar graphs, flow charts, Venn diagrams, and other graphic organizers.

United States History Standards

  • Era 6 Standard 1: How the rise of corporations, heavy industry, and mechanized farming transformed the American people.

Teacher Background
With the advent of mass production, industry’s role in many countries changed. Before Industrial Inventions, people relied heavily on manual labor requiring strength, skill, and comprehensive knowledge. After introduction of new technologies, this view would be challenged. To see how technological innovation affected economies, it is important to define economy and its role in the following:

  • production
  • distribution
  • consumption

This lesson helps define industry. Note: The U.S. Standard evolves in the next lesson.

Resource Websites



1. Write the following statement on an overhead or chalkboard as students walk in:
Industry is made up of 3 parts or sectors:

  • Labor
  • the Landscape/Location
  • the Business

2. Ask students to define what the three indicate or stand for. Write down their answers on the board.

3. Display blank template of Industry Defined Web on overhead. Looking at the student answers identify how the three sectors can be further divided: Labor is represented by the worker and the production of the product. Landscape or location represents the place where the business is located as well as how the distribution of a population on that landscape is influenced by the population’s wealth. Finally, business is represented by the distribution and consumption of the product as well as the technology and regulations that drive how the business conducts itself.

4. Give each student Handout 1. Displaying Overhead 3, put students in groups of 3 and have them place the words from Overhead 3 onto their handout. This should take about 10-15 minutes. They must use every word or phrase and their placements must make sense. Have them use the prompting questions to develop answers.

5. Have students write a paragraph for each sector using words and phrases they added to the web logically defending their choices through application. Note: If they are having trouble with this they may need to revisit where they placed the terms and phrases.

6. Optional: Have students share their answers with the class.

7. Display complete Industry Defined Web (Overhead 2) and ask students where answers can appear differently and why. Have them make any changes necessary to match the overhead. Chances are student versions might still make sense and not affect the interpretations they made for their sectors. Point out: The three are so inter-related that overlap makes sense.

8. End by noting that Industry has been defined, the implications of combining jobs and technology during the Industrial Revolution need to be further addressed. Pose the question: How did technology define business, the city landscape, and the American worker’s role during the Industrial Revolution?


Embedded Assessment
Three summary paragraphs discussing the 3 sectors of industry.

PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

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Last update: November 10, 2009
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