Days 1 & 2
1. At the end of the last lesson, the class identified that low wage, long
hours, overcrowding and unsanitary conditions were workplace factors that threatened
a worker’s health. Using the information gleaned from the last lesson’s
research activity, students should be able to formulate questions that the
previous lesson raised.
On an overhead write down student questions. (Below are
some of the topics they might cover.)
Possible questions that students might offer:
there be a limit on the number of hours a person works
each week? Why or why not?
-What is a fair wage?
-How is a minimum wage calculated?
-Should every citizen of the US have access to an education? Including
-Should workers have the right to be protected in the work place?
-Should workers be compensated when injured?
-How can these rights, if adopted, be regulated?
-Are unions good for the worker?
Give students the following information: During the first
15 years of the 20th century (The Progressive Era) these
questions were being raised
They were being raised by Progressive activists and muckrakers who urged
for workplace regulations.
Take time with students to define the two words in their
Progressive: ask for student input. Problems? Have them
use their books.
b. Muckrakers: ask for student input. (Use textbooks
(Note that the progressives and muckrakers also addressed
other topics of political and social reform.)
Put students in groups of three. Give each group a copy
Handout 1 (2 parts) and Handout 2. Explain that these
writings are examples of
of the era. As they read they should consider whether there is a correlation
between writings by Progressive activists, the muckrakers and regulation
reform. Handout 1 introduces some of the text from Upton Sinclair’s
novel The Jungle. It has been divided into two parts that tell the
story of a different
person at different jobs. Handout 2 introduces students to some of
text from The Bitter Cry of the Children. Have them divide the material
equally. They might want to exchange material at some point to read
at least two of
the texts. Give students time to read the material in class. If they
do not finish, continue the following day (or assign as homework if
are made). As they read they are to add additional questions to their
list that may be triggered by these descriptions. Handout 3 is to be
reference so that the students understand who the characters in Sinclair’s
When done have them share their additional questions
with the class. The teacher will add new questions to
the list on the overhead.
7. Having read what sort of information muckrakers
exposed, have students conduct one day of research
via texts and internet into
took effect in the 20th century, including labor union information.
They must identify regulatory reforms with dates which took place
locally, statewide, and finally at the national level for the industry
previous lesson. With each regulatory reform they identify, they
must have a brief description of what it regulated and how. All
materials will go
into their notes.
8. When done, they will share the information with
the class through oral presentations (no more than
5 minutes). The class as a whole
out Handout 4 and
construct a list of regulations with dates and descriptions.
9. End with the following questions:
at your list of questions. What questions seem to have
been addressed with the regulatory reforms of the Progressive
Eras? Which have not been addressed?
Put a check mark next to any that have been addressed by reforms. Take note
of any that are left over.