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Putting It All Together

The following activities encourage students to think creatively or critically about what they learned in No. 2 Quincy Shaft-Rockhouse: 9,240 Feet Into the Earth, either to look closer at Quincy or to study another historic mining community in the United States.

Activity 1: What’s in a Name?
Many immigrants came to work at the No. 2 Quincy Shaft-Rockhouse. Have students research the possible countries of origin and immigration patterns from those countries to the U.S. in the 19th Century. Divide students into small groups with a list of 4 names that includes both miners and mining captains. Have each group take the list of people who lived around the No. 2 Quincy Shaft-Rockhouse and research the origin of each name. Use this website to find the possible nationalities for each name: www.ellisisland.org.

Here are the names of mining captains from Quincy: Rule, Piper, Williams, O’Neil, Pelto, Jenkins, Kopp, Coombs, Maunders, Jacobs, Whittle, Kendall.

Here are the names of workers from Quincy: Merilainen, Malinen, Wales, Mikkala, Uusitalo, Harmonen, Jacobson, Laitamaa, Turo, Kauppinen, Pelto, Storvis, Salminen, Paaka, Cliff, Hawkin, Latala, Gustavson, Ruotinnen, Reimi, Gustavon, Borlace, Pascoe, Wiivo, Goudge, Massini, Pioponen, Koski, Giusti, Forst, Fleming, Monticello, Ricci, Gimigneni, Kujala, Nikula, Kamula, Levonen, Kemppainen, Kotila, Minehan, Yalkanen, Kemppainen, Crowley, Commings, Saari, Leppaluta, Mattson, Hasett, Moilanen, Kotila, Sullivan, Moilanen, Ruski, Finley, Pelto, Mahon, Brown, Lynch, Pantera, Sefanic, Nikula, Komula, Levanen, Kotila, Kangas, Larson, Koski, Busch, Lencioni, Elonen, Salani, Marko, Priami, Andretti, Bartino, Antonnen, Johnson, Becia, Stefanic, Johnson, Nivala, Marta, Biagi, Hale, McMahn.

Have each group use what they learned in the lesson to discuss what the national origins of the names might say about the workers' backgrounds, possible reasons for people with those last names to immigrate to the United States in the 19th century, and his and his family's life in Keweenaw. Have each group create a poster outlining the results of their research and prepare for a presentation. Each group will present its findings to the class.

Afterward, facilitate a class discussion about immigration and labor. Ask students where in the world immigrants to the U.S. come from today. What challenges do they face? What kinds of work do they do?

Activity 2: Worker Safety at the No. 2 Quincy Shaft-Rockhouse
Mine safety was always an issue between management and labor. Have your students practice writing creative dialogue based on what they learned in the lesson. Break students into pairs and assign each pair a phrase from this primary source document: “Quincy Mining Co., Rules and Regulations for the Protection of Employees,” “Killer Phrases Which Chloroform Ideas and Put Men’s Minds to Sleep,” and “Some of the Key Points of Supervisor-Worker Communications.” Click here to download this document as a .pdf.

Have each pair use their assigned phrase and the primary source document about communication to write a conversation between a fictional miner and a manager at Quincy.  The setting, conflict, and outcome are up to the students, but they should start by thinking of a problem that might arise at a Keweenaw Peninsula mine and then have the characters work out how to solve it in a short conversation. At one point in the dialogue, the miner or the manager must say the phrase assigned to the students. The conversation should include references to places, issues, events, and groups of people students came across in the lesson. Have the student pairs perform their dialogues in front of the class and submit their conversations to you in written form afterward.

Activity 3: Mining in the U.S.A.
Have each student conduct an independent investigation into a historic mining operation in another part of the United States. Students can look at another copper mining region or study places where people extracted coal, oil, or precious metals. This list from the Bureau of Land Management is helpful for identifying possible sites. For a local history investigation, students can identify a historic mining operation in their state or near their own community.

Decide whether you want students to organize their findings as an oral presentation or a research paper. The presentation or paper should answer these questions:

  • Where was the mine? What did the mine produce? What was it used for?
  • Who worked in the mines? Where were they from? Was the mining community paternalistic, like the one at Quincy? If it was not paternalistic, what might be the reason?
  • How did people mine the resource from the Earth? Was the work dangerous?
  • How did the national economy affect the mining operation? How did the mining operation affect the local economy?
  • What happened to the mining community when the mine closed? Why did it close? Did another industry move in and replace it?
  • What did the community do when the mine closed? Did they stay or move away? If a lot of people moved away, where did they move to and what industry did they work in afterward? What jobs did they take if they stayed?
  • What kinds of buildings were at the mine? What happened to them when the mine closed? Were they abandoned, torn down, or used for another purpose?

If you chose to have students give an oral presentation, they can present to the class, parents, or a local group interested in mining history.

A digital alternative to the traditional oral presentation or research paper could be for students to take their research and use a free, online blogging site create a class website about historic mining. If they choose to make a class website about a local mining operation, consider asking your local library and historical society to link to your students' site from their own websites.

Activity 4: The Company’s or the Community’s Town?
The controversial system of paternalism and the company towns it created were common in America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Like in the Keweenaw Peninsula, other industries that formed where there was little or no human community would create one to support workers. Have students explore the reasons for and against this system to prepare for a class debate.  Break the class up into two teams. One team will take the side of industry barons who support the Company Town model and the other team will take the side of pro-labor organizations.

Each team will research real company towns across the United States to prepare for the debate. Each group should create a list of arguments for and against the paternalism system, and prepare an opening statement for their main argument. Tell the teams to think about how the other side will defend when they’re preparing. After the debate, the groups will turn in the list of arguments and a list of the sources they used for their research.

 

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