Teacher's Guide for COBBLESTONE ® The Gilded Age
Teacher Guide prepared by: Peter Barnes, 5th grade teacher, Cedarwood Elementary School, Columbus, Ohio
Have students read "The Birth of Big Business," pages 3 - 7. Ask them to choose a major American corporation (Nike, McDonald's, Ford, etc.). Have students research their corporation looking for information including the following:
When was the corporation created?
Have students create posters displaying information they have learned about their corporations.
How did it get started?
Who came up with the ideas behind the corporation?
Was it one person or a group of people?
How much money did the corporation make last year?
In what countries besides the U.S. does the corporation sell its products?
Have students read "Captains of Industry," pages 8 - 11. Ask them to imagine themselves wealthy entrepreneurs. Ask them to write imaginary descriptions of their careers. What products do they sell? What innovations make their company more successful than their competitors? How do they advertise and market their products? How will they spend their many millions of dollars in profits? The students can create prospectus books detailing their corporations.
Have students read "The Working Man," pages 14 - 18. Ask them to pay special attention to the sidebar "Child Labor" on pages 16 - 17. Ask them to write a story from the perspective of a ten-year-old child working in a factory in a large city. Ask them to describe the working conditions, hours they work, pay they receive, and other details about their difficult lives.
Have students read "Immigrants in the Land of Opportunity" on pages 30 - 33. Use the following questions for classroom discussion or independent writing:
- For what reasons did immigrants leave their homes and travel to the United States?
- What were some of the hardships immigrants faced in the U.S.?
- How did native-born Americans feel about immigrants?
- Why do you think many immigrants stuck close to people from their home country and created areas like "Chinatown" and "Little Italy" in American cities?
Ask students to invent something that will change our world forever. Students can draw pictures of their inventions and describe how their creations will change society. Students should think about the materials they will use, how the inventions will be manufactured, and who will likely use the products.
In 1913 the Rockefeller Foundation was created with 100 million dollars to be used for medical and educational advances (page 36). If the Rockefeller Foundation gave away $1,000 a day to hospitals and schools, how many years would it take to spend all the money? Answer: 100,000 days, or 273.9 years
Buck Duke's tobacco-rolling machines produced 500,000 cigarettes a day in his giant tobacco factories (page 4). His rivals used human workers who could each roll about 3,000 cigarettes a day. If a rival company used 150 workers, how many cigarettes would they produce after 12 days? How many cigarettes would Duke's factory produce after 12 days? Answer: The rival company would generate 450,000 cigarettes a day, and 5,400,000 cigarettes after 12 days. Duke's company produces 500,000 cigarettes a day, and 6,000,000 cigarettes after 12 days.