K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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LEARN NC is no longer supported by the UNC School of Education and has been permanently archived. On February 1st, 2018, you will only be able to access these resources through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. We recommend that you print or download resources you may need before February 1st, 2018, after which, you will have to follow these instructions in order to access those resources.

Children at work: Exposing child labor in the cotton mills of the Carolinas
In this lesson, students will learn about the use of child labor in the cotton mills of the Carolinas during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They will learn what life was like for a child worker and then write an investigative news report exposing the practice of child labor in the mills, using quotations from oral histories with former child mill workers and photographs of child laborers taken by social reform photographer Lewis Hine.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8–12 Social Studies)
By Dayna Durbin Gleaves.
Work and protest, 1920–1934
In North Carolina in the early 20th century, page 7.3
In response to declining demand in the 1920s, textile mill owners cut wages and demanded longer hours from their workers. Labor unrest increased, and there were widespread strikes from 1929 to 1934.
Format: article
By James Leloudis and Kathryn Walbert.
North Carolina History: A Sampler
A sample of the more than 800 pages of our digital textbook for North Carolina history, including background readings, various kinds of primary sources, and multimedia. Also includes an overview of the textbook and how to use it.
Format: (multiple pages)
Labor unions in the cotton mills
In this lesson, students will learn about the labor union movement in the U.S. by listening to oral histories, and they will then deliver a persuasive speech arguing for or against unionization.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 Social Studies)
By Dayna Durbin Gleaves.
Work in a textile mill
In North Carolina in the New South, page 3.1
Article describes the various kinds of work in a textile mill, the experiences of millhands in and out of the mills, and what various workers earned.
Format: article
By James Leloudis and Kathryn Walbert.
Industrialization in North Carolina
In North Carolina in the New South, page 2.3
In North Carolina History: A Sampler, page 2.7
Industrialization needed five things -- capital, labor, raw materials, markets, and transportation -- and in the 1870s, North Carolina had all of them. This article explains the process of industrialization in North Carolina, with maps of factory and railroad growth.
Format: article
By David Walbert.
Elisha Mitchell explores the mountains
In North Carolina in the New Nation, page 7.5
Letter from Elisha Mitchell to his wife while doing a geologic survey in northwestern North Carolina, 1828. Mitchell discusses his work, the places he stayed, and the people he met. Includes historical commentary as well as a contemporary map and a Google map with relevant locations marked.
Format: letter/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by David Walbert and L. Maren Wood.
Small-town businesses, 1903
In North Carolina in the New South, page 2.10
In North Carolina History: A Sampler, page 9.5
Excerpts from The North Carolina Year Book and Business Directory, 1903, for the towns of Jefferson and Washington. Includes historical commentary.
Format: book/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by L. Maren Wood.
Growth and transformation: The United States in the Gilded Age
In North Carolina in the New South, page 2.1
Between the Civil War and the First World War, industry and cities grew at a tremendous pace in the United States.
Format: article

Resources on the web

Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World
Explore Southern textile mills from their beginnings to the 1930s, drawing largely on the perspectives of mill workers themselves. (Learn more)
Format: website/general
Provided by: Ibiblio