Students complete a fun and historically detailed simulation of the progression of the Industrial Revolution and urbanization in England, particularly the town of Manchester. This activity especially helps visual and kinesthetic learners grasp the essential points of the Industrial Revolution. Kids have a blast during this activity and retain a huge amount of knowledge because they're playing a game!
Students begin by reading a 2 page background essay on life in pre-industrial England, then fill in the first half of a Change Over Time chart answering different questions about life before the Industrial Revolution.
Then you lead your students through a game with 21 rounds in which they draw and create their own villages that become urbanized as they proceed through different steps of the Industrial Revolution. A 40 slide PowerPoint is included - each round is represented with historically accurate woodcuts, paintings, and photographs to help students visualize each step as it's described in the simulation.
Students learn about important social, economic, and political changes occurring in England throughout industrialization. Specific information learned includes: the Enclosure Acts, the Arkwright water frame, cotton mills, tenement housing, factory conditions and child labor, the Watt steam engine, Cort's puddling process and iron working, coal mining, railroads and the transportation revolution, women's increased involvement in the economic sphere, gas lighting of city streets, emergence of the middle class and the "nouveau riche," and the environmental impact of pollution.
At the end of the simulation students use what they've learned to fill out the "After Industrialization" side of their Change Over Time chart. This sets you up nicely for a class debate on whether industrialization was "worth it" or for students to write an essay on the impact of the Industrial Revolution.
This simulation may take you two or more days, depending on your class lengths, but is completely worth it for student knowledge retention and simply how much fun it is!
Open the preview to see the lesson plan and sample game rounds.
This activity makes a great companion to my other engaging lesson on the Industrial Revolution, focusing on different aspects and involving a primary source analysis activity, student debate, and two more fun short simulations. Find that resource here.
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