In this note-taking exercise, students are required to explain how the following individuals accumulated vast fortunes during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, consequently earning themselves the titles of "robber barons" in the press:
1. John Jacob Astor, 1763 to 1848;
2. Andrew Carnegie, 1835 to 1919;
3. Andrew Mellon, 1855 to 1939;
4. J.P. Morgan, 1837 to 1913;
5. John D. Rockefeller, 1839 to 1937;
6. Charles M. Schwab, 1862 to 1939; and,
7. Cornelius Vanderbilt, 1794 to 1877.
At the end of the exercise sheet is a list of commonly used high school sources (i.e., textbooks) for quick and easy reference. This exercise has proven to be a useful tool for quiz preparation and also in the development of paragraph writing skills.