A Period of Change: Industrialization - Game Script The impact of transformations on American society


Background

The year is 1894 and you have been chosen by Benjamin Pen, a investigative journalist, to help him write a book about life during the Industrialization of the United States. Mr. Pen believes that primary testimonies from young people is the best way to encompass what life is truly like! Whether you are a factory worker in Detroit or an immigrant living in Manhattan, your life experiences will help him describe the many aspects of this important period of change!

Characters

Molly Student

You came to the United States 3 years ago with your mother, father, and 2 brothers. Going through the immigration process at Ellis Island was rough and by now, seems like a blur. Downtown New York City is your new home, but is it what you expected?


Your Task

Dear Molly, it is your job to explain the social transformations that occured throughout Industrialization. Explain the importance of each aspect and convince the panel whether these changes were good or bad.

Try to establish your arguments using the resources offered to you. They are worth reading...


Resources

Scene - 01

Patrick Student

For most of your life, you grew up on a farm in rural Pennsylvania. A few months ago your father and uncle left for Detroit in search for a factory job. As your dad's pickup truck was pulling away, you jumped on the back and haven't looked back since.


Your Task

Dear Patrick, it is your job to discuss the economic transformations during Industrialization. How did these changes affect American society? Was the impact positive or negative?

Try to establish your arguments using the resources offered to you. They are worth reading...


Resources

Scene - 01

Rose Student

Last year you left your hometown of St. Louis to visit your cousins in Chicago for the summer. It was your first time on a train and you can't stop talking about it. 


Your Task

Dear Rose, it is your job to explain the technological innovations and transformations that took place during Industrialization. Explain each aspect's significance and convince the panel whether these changes were good or bad. 

Try to establish your arguments using the resources offered to you. They are worth reading...


Resources

Scene - 01

Joshua Student

Born in the Lower East side of Manhattan, your family of 5 lives in a cramped, 1 room apartment. You have been working 6 days a week in a garment factory for the past 3 years.


Your Task

Dear Joshua, discuss specific events that impacted the working conditions during Industrialization. Explain the ways these events had a strong influence on society. 

Try to establish your arguments using the resources offered to you. They are worth reading...


Resources

Scene - 01

Stella Student

You grew up in a middle class home right outside of Charleston, South Carolina. As an African American living in the south, life can be difficult. Your mama always taught you to look on the brighter side of life! Your happiest when a family friend comes over to teach you math and English lessons.


Your Task

Dear Stella, your job is to discuss the changing role of the government in people's lives during Industrialization. Explain each aspect's significance and convince the panel whether these changes were good or bad. 

Try to establish your arguments using the resources offered to you. They are worth reading...


Resources

Scene - 01

Scene 1: Change in American Society



1.

Public Message

Welcome to my office! Its not much, but it gets the job done!

I have invited the 5 of you to help me on a project I've been working on. We are living during a time of great change! I think it is important to document what life is like in 1894 so that 100 years from now people just like you can read about us!

As I said earlier, we are living in a period of great transformations.. and who better to give testimonies than 5 young people from all walks of life. 

Will you help me?!



2.

Private (Shortly After previous message)

Molly:

Millions of newly arrived immigrants and even larger numbers of migrants from rural areas crowded up large cities across the US, especially New York City.

The expansion of industry resulted in U.S. cities growing by about 15 million people in the two decades before 1900. Noise, slums, air pollution, and sanitation and health problems became commonplace.

Based on the resources given, explain to the panel the social transformations that had the most impact on society. Which ones had positive outcomes? What were the negative outcomes?

Patrick:

The idea of laissez-faire dominated the economic system during Industrialization.

The changes in the economy helped mark the transition from a stable agricultural and commercial society to a modern industrial society relying on complex machinery rather than tools.

What were these transformations? Was the impact on American society positive or negative?

Use the resources given to you...

Rose:

Based on the resources given, you should explain the technological transformations that took place during Industrialization. Discuss the different innovations and if it positively or negatively affected American society. 

Joshua:

The industrial growth may have produced a new class of wealthy industrialists and a prosperous middle class, but not everyone shared in the economic prosperity of this period. Many workers were unemployed at least part of the year, and their wages were relatively low when they did work. 

What events impacted working conditions during Industrialization. Did it result in positive transformations, or negative ones?

Support your arguments with the resources given to you..

Stella:

Based on the resources given, you should explain the changing role of the government in the beginning of this period.. Then explain how its role changed towards the end.

 



3.

Public Message (Shortly After previous message)

Hey guys, you guys are doing great!

Now that you guys have a discussion going, start talking about how these transformations are related. 

What caused the decay and disappearance of the extended family? 

How did the laissez-faire economy system that Patrick explained have a negative effect on the conditions of working class America?

How do you think the transformations in the economic structure gave way for hardships that people living in big cities experienced?

 



4.

Public Message (a while after previous message)

Overall, were these changes good or bad for the commonwealth? Why?



End Message

Let's bring the discussion back to present day. Can you draw similarities from your own life that relate to one of the characters?

For example: Joshua talked about the difficult working conditions during Industrialization. People worked long days and didn't get a lot of family time. Today, many children don't see one, and sometimes both, of their parents because of long work days.

Write 2-3 paragraphs and hand it in to your teacher.

Good luck!



Discussion Points

• How did Industrialization transform the way people lived and worked together?

• How did Industrialization transform the role of the government in people’s lives? 

• Working class America, especially immigrants, dealt with harsh working environments and low wages during Industrialization. Today, many minimum-wage workers are protesting for a higher wages. How is this situation similar to what you discussed with your panel?