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The Industrial Revolution: Changes and Challenges

Grade Level Grades 6-8
Standards Alignment
Common Core State Standards


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The Industrial Revolution: Challenges and Changes examines the sweeping transformation in how people worked and lived during the Industrial Revolution—1760s–1830s. This revolution, which began in Great Britain and spread to Europe and America, lured people away from the land to factories and cities in massive numbers; spurred new inventions; opened the doors to wealth and advancement for inventors and investors alike; and, led to the primacy of capitalism as a social and economic system in the West.

Students also learn that these benefits did not come without a cost. Alongside the significant growth of employment opportunities, and a burgeoning economy, there was also income inequality, dangerous working conditions, environmental damage, and political unrest. Over time, issues such as these prompted a push for social reform. The material incorporates a rich array of civics-focused knowledge, questions, and activities. Because the Industrial Revolution in England contributed to the development of capitalism, the economic system practiced by the United States, we have chosen specific content to call to teachers’ and students’ attention, guided by the civics test developed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

This unit includes a Student Reader, Timeline Image Cards, and Teacher Guide, providing Guided Reading Supports and the following Additional Activities: domain vocabulary exercises; readings of the works of Charles Dickens and opportunity to view Oliver!; a video on the comparisons of the emerging economic systems; and a Unit Assessment.


Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings.
Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes).


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