Lesson Life in Mill Villages in South Carolina 2nd Grade Objectives

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Primary Activity


 Pictures of mill life from http://ftp.ibiblio.org/sohp/laf/factoryimages.html

Music- "Weave Room Blues" and "The Weaver's Song" from www.rhapsody.com

“Textile Life” poem from  www.loc.gov/teachers/lyrical/poems/textile_life.html

Mill Village store set up

       Includes:  goods to buy, tokens to pay with, mill clerk, and customers


The teacher will explain the textile mill way of life based on the attached outline. 

During the explanation the teacher will show students photographs from the time period.

The teacher will begin a discussion based on children’s role in the mill villages.

            Students should respond to the points made in the teacher's explanation.

            Students may respond with more questions such as, "Did children like growing up in mill villages."  The teacher could then ask the rest of the class whether they would have liked growing up in the villages.  Students may respond that it was unfair that children could not play more because they had to work. They could also respond to the pictures shown on child labor, caring for livestock, and the other pictures.

Throughout the discussion the teacher should encourage the students to imagine how different their lives would be.  Would you have more responsibilities?   Would you want to work in the mills?

Students will break up into groups of three.  In these groups the students will read "Textile Life."  Together they will discuss the poem and how it portrays the workers' lives.  The teacher should be walking around answering any questions and helping with difficult words or phrases.

While students are discussing music will be played from http://blogcritics.org/archives/2005/09/14/140626.php.  Free music can be played from rhapsody.com.

After students have discussed the poem in groups the teacher will lead the class in discussion.  The groups will offer their interpretations on what they think the poem means. 


After discussing mill workers, mill villages, salaries, and mill stores, the class will begin a simulation of a mill store.

The teacher will set up a mill store before class begins including items to buy, tokens to give out, and scratch paper for the clerk to add.

The students will determine the different roles that they need to recreate (customers, clerk)

Students that don’t have a specific role will walk around deciding what to buy with their select amount of tokens or money. 

The students will learn how the mill store was run and the goods they carried.

The students will also learn about the weekly salaries and the decisions workers had to make deciding what was necessary enough to buy. 

After the simulation the students will be expected to write a reflection including information from textile mill life, examples from the activity, experience in the store, what they decided to buy with the week's salary, and their opinion on the worker's salary (Was it enough?).

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