To understand the reasons for and effect of the urban revolution of the late 1800s and early 1900s.
2 class periods
The activity begins by reading with the class the introductory paragraphs about the rapid population growth in American cities in the late 1800s. Students will then work individually on sections entitled:
• The Ten Largest Cities (1850-1910)
• Immigrant and Black Population of Major Cities in 1910
• Cities Grow at Strategic Locations
• A City of the 1880s
Class members will answer questions in a variety of formats throughout these sections, some of which require using information from charts. You can go over the answers later in the period.
Short Writing Assignment Using Primary Source
Near the end of the class, or at the beginning of the next period, you can read with the students a section entitled The Tenements of New York. This includes a primary source account by newspaper reporter, Jacob Riis, talking about the rundown tenement district of the city. After reading the primary source, students do a writing assignment of 50-75 words describing the most unbearable conditions for residents living in the slums of New York City in the late 1800s. You can have a few volunteers read their stories to the class.
U.S. Cities Contest
The lesson concludes with a fun Contest that lists groups of large cities found in the United States today. There are 50 groups altogether, with 4 cities in each group. Class members must determine the name of the state where the four cities are located.
Easy-to-follow Teacher Instructions and answer key included, along with a 20-question follow up quiz to measure student progress. The quiz can also be given as a homework assignment.