Best Coat and Apron Mfg. Company : Attaching trouser buttons with automatic button-fastening machine Source: Library of Congress

A History of Manufacturing in 5 Objects


Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have talked about loss of manufacturing jobs, and the importance of having things “Made In America.”  From 18th century colonists struggling to produce that most coveted of items — porcelain — to the invention of nylon stockings and the TV picture tube in the 20th century, Peter, Ed, and Brian explore the surprising history behind five inventions and innovations.

This episode and related resources are funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this {article, book, exhibition, film, program, database, report, Web resource}, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Child Labor Lesson Set

Note to Teachers:

The materials that follow comprise a lesson in questioning and a lesson on writing. First, the lesson asks students to answer, then create questions at each level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. The objective here is to teach students to develop sophisticated inquiry skills and to foster a curiosity about people and issues. Information needed for writing and answering these questions is provided through both primary and secondary sources. Students will be practicing the Habit of Mind: interrogating text and posing questions about the past that foster informed discussion, reasoned debate, and evidence-based interpretation. The suggestion in this lesson is for students to use the questions they create as part of a role-play of a “Meet the Press” episode on the regulation of child labor. However, this work could be used for a Socratic Seminar or a number of other discussion strategies that capitalize on questioning to develop higher order thinking skills.

The second part of this lesson is structured to entice students to gain information from both primary and secondary sources in order to make an evidence-based argument about a historical topic. They will need to distinguish between fact and opinion or, as History’s Habits of Mind term it, discern differences between evidence and assertion. The summative assessment for this lesson involves students in a structured reading and writing assignment to instruct them in critical reading and writing with evidence to support a position.