Eighth Graders Visit Lowell Mills

Students get first-hand look at the immigrant experience

This past Tuesday, the eighth grade traveled to the Lowell Nat'l Historical Park’s textile mills. They divided into groups and participated in one of three programs. One group...


...explored the transition in the labor force--from a reliance on women from New England farms to newly arrived European immigrants. The second group tried their hands at weaving and role-played workers making cloth. They also explored the interdependent nature of Southern cotton and the Northern production of textiles. The third group experienced industrial revolution-era working conditions by operating a mill assembly line. They then explored the relationship between labor and factory management.
In class, the eighth grade is beginning its study of groups emigrating to America between 1840 and 1920. The trip to Lowell provided an immersive experience and a powerful glimpse into the conditions typically faced by immigrants working in factories. Indeed the Lowell experience provides historical background for many aspects of students’ current immigration debate, from nativist concerns to issues of inclusion.
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