Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 28, 2014

Curriculum Guide- Darlene Beck-Jacobson


Introduce students to the Industrial Revolution at the turn of the Twentieth Century, using the book as a basis for discussions. This topic is part of the national learning standards and curriculum for U.S. History.

Topics for discussion:

–          Introduce causes of the Industrial Revolution and how it changed the workplace and production of goods in America.

–          Discuss handmade vs. factory made goods.

–          Discuss good change vs. bad change and how it affects individuals and society.

–          Discuss women’s emerging independence, their role in the workplace and at home, and how this affects the family.


–          To understand the causes and effects of the Second Industrial Revolution (1890’s through WWI)

–          To understand how progress has negative as well as positive consequences for individuals and society.

–          To understand how even when some members of society benefit from changes, others may not.

–          To witness a personal perspective to a period in our nation’s history.

Key Words/Concepts:

–          Mass Production

–          Assembly lines

–          Women’s Suffrage

–          Segregation/Prejudice

–          Mechanization


The Industrial Revolution began in the late 1700’s through the 1840’s when goods formerly produced by hand began to be made with machines. Almost every aspect of daily life was influenced in some way. The second wave of industrialization occurred at the turn of the Twentieth Century and lasted until World War I. This revolution revolved around steel, railroad expansion, electricity, chemicals, and communication.

Mass production of steel replaced hand wrought iron. Blacksmiths – like Henry Johnson in WHEELS OF CHANGE – would no longer be needed to produce the rails, machine components and tools used to manufacture goods and move them from one place to another. Railroads replaced steamboats to transport goods over longer lasting steel rails. Electricity allowed factories to increase production of clothing and household goods.   It also made it possible for Henry Ford to redesign the factory using tools and specialized machines positioned in a unique sequence to eliminate unnecessary human movement. The assembly line was born. More goods made in less time at a cheaper cost.

It took Mr. Soper weeks to make one of his carriages. It also took Henry days to hammer out all the iron needed to support the carriage body. The new factory system eliminated this labor-intensive process.

Part One: Making the topic relevant:

Begin a discussion on all the modern conveniences we all enjoy thanks to factory made products. When things get lost or broken we can easily and cheaply replace them.

Part Two:   Read WHEELS OF CHANGE with students and start a discussion using the following topics:

–          Why was Emily worried about automobiles coming to town?   Was her worry real or imagined?

–          How did having electricity and a telephone change life for Emily and her family?

–          Emily’s mama had few modern appliances or household gadgets. How would having these things change her life?

–          Why were some people upset when papa employed an African American blacksmith? How did prejudice impact some of the decisions actions taken in the story?

–          Women could not vote and had few rights in 1908. Why do you think so many people were opposed to allowing women the right to vote?

–          Why was the telegraph and mail service so important in the early 1900’s?

Concluding Activity: Have students write about what their lives would be like without electricity, telephones, or motor cars. Would some aspects of life be better without those things?

Or, have them write about prejudice and being judged by the color of your skin. Should groups be singled out based on ethnic origin, religion, or political beliefs? Where in the world are these things still taking place today?

Stop back on Sunday to view Darlene’s Study Guide.

Talk tomorrow,




Further Study:


  1. There is little more helpful than comprehensive guides to things like this. It saves so much time in research and having to figure things out from scratch!

    Thanks, Darlene and Kathy 😀


  2. You’re welcome Donna. Thanks for stopping by.


  3. Thank you, Darlene and Kathy! Your novel sounds intriguing and it’s so helpful to see how you organized this study guide. Such a super idea, tying your novel into the core curriculum. Especially with history, which to young people can sound like a total bore, until it comes alive for them through the characters.


  4. Thanks Suzy.


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