Goal: To understand the perspectives of various participants in the Lowell textile mill strikes of 1834 and 1836.
Themes: Early industrialization and the struggles it created over work routines, gender roles and the meaning of independence.
Skills: document analysis; group work; dramatic presentation.
Step 1: Choosing a Document
Each group member should choose ONE of the following documents to read and/or analyze (a different one for each person).
Step 2: Analyzing your Document (10 mins)
Think about and answer the following questions about your document. If you finish before others in your group, start looking at the other documents.
Step 3: Discussing your document (10 mins)
Discuss your document and the questions with the rest of your group
Step 4: Turning the information into a plan for a talk show (20 mins)
Choose a moderator(s) who will interview the guests and manage your talk show on the Lowell strike of 1834 or 1836. Give that person and your show a name (for example, Ted Koppel/Nightline, Jerry Springer show, Oprah Winfrey show, Larry King Live, or one of your own invention).
As a group, look at the script-writing sheet and use it to plan your show.
Step 5: Acting out the show (5–7 mins each group)
Choose performers for each role and practice the show.
Act out the show for the class
Step 6: Class discussion
What did you and your group learn from this activity?
Compare and contrast the different talk shows the various groups produced. What similar ideas, themes, and conflicts did you notice? What were the most interesting differences between the shows?