Child Labor

Name: Diana Pyatigorsky                                                   

Grade: Fourth

Subject: Social Studies with Arts Integration

Lesson Title: (Industrial Revolution) Factory Assembly Line


Paper clips, scissors, construction paper, glue, buttons, pieces of fabric, pattern

Pre-assessment of Student Knowledge: Students have been immersed in a unit on historical topics and have explored different time periods, events, people, and culture. The majority of students are writing and reading fluently. Five students struggle with comprehension.

(B)Students were able to accurately complete a K-W-L Chart on life in New York City from the Industrial Revolution to present day. This includes forms of transportation, jobs, and communication.


Social Studies

Standard 2:   World History

Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments and turning points in world history and examine the broad sweep of history from a variety of perspectives.

English Language Arts

Standard 2:   Language for Literary Response and Expression

Students will read and listen to oral, written, and electronically produced texts and performances from American and world literature; relate texts and performances to their own lives; and develop an understanding of the diverse social, historical, and cultural dimensions the texts and performances represent.


Thinking Objective: Students will understand what it is like to be a child factory worker. They will make connections between the books and research they have done to this class activity, to produce a “factory-made” product.

Mastery Objective: Students will learn to make connections among various sources of information and ideas.


Introduction and Motivation:

  1. Engaging Question: What is an assembly line? Why were they built?
  2. Discuss advantages and disadvantage of Assembly Lines.
  3. Teacher discusses the jobs of child factory workers: what their responsibilities were, what they did as part of the assembly line. Example: change the spools of thread.


Direct Teaching:

  1. Watch child labor video
  2. Discuss frustration, accidents, damages
  3. Today we are going to pretend we are factory workers by making our own assembly line.


  1. Have students stand in line in front of a long table. This table represents the “factory.”
  2. First student takes construction paper and traces the pattern of a shirt.
  3. The next student cuts along line of pattern.
  4. The next student attaches buttons, fabric, embellishments.
  5. The students then begin again at the first step.

Essential Questions

  1. What did you think of being part of an assembly line?
  2. How do you think children of the Industrial Revolution felt being part of a machine?
  3. What do you think there days were like having to work such long hours without a break?
  4. After experiencing being a factory worker, what changes would you make worker’s rights?

Independent Work

At the end of the activity, after students have produced a set amount of “shirts” they will reconvene to discuss what it was like to be part of a machine. They will write a journal entry reflecting the experience.

Closure: Discuss what students have learned from their “factory” experience and how this topic has current and historical significance.

Assessment-Teacher will assess understanding during conference time and during the share. Ask follow up questions if students are not confident with their explanations. Students will be assessed for their activity participation, their participation as audience members and their working material. Student project work will be reviewed against the rubric.

Diversity: This lesson continues the work of opening a window into a past cultural experience through the use of historical role-play.  Allowing students to role-play and create their own journal entries brings to life the understanding of their own time period in respect to other time periods throughout history.


Using project-based and creative learning activities, students that struggle with comprehension are able to use their imaginations to show that they understand the content. This lesson also supports concreteness of the topic with the use of pictures and personal narratives.

Take Home Activity: Students will continue to write journal entries about what may have happened to them as they grew up in their chosen time period.


History Rubric for Student Work

Fails to Meet Standard

Approaching Standard

Meets Standard

Exceeds Standard

Relates basic facts about an historical event and identifies theme. Demonstrates an understanding of basic facts and about a historical event as an example of a particular theme. Demonstrates an understanding of the basic facts and context of a historical event and its relation to theme. Demonstrates an understanding of the significance as well as the contextual influences on a historical event and their relations to theme.
Demonstrates an understanding of context in which the historical even took place. Demonstrates an understanding of the historical context in which the historical even took place Relates social studies concepts and understanding to personal experience and prior knowledge. Relates concepts and understanding to personal experience and knowledge from other academic disciplines.
Identifies community ideals as they relate to personal behavior Relates community ideals to personal experience and behavior Demonstrates an understanding of community ideals as they relate to personal experience and behavior as well as historical events. Applies community ideals to personal experience and behavior as well as historical events.


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