Use the Activities
Activity 1: Archeology
Explain that the point of the activity is to see how much information the rest of the class can derive about our culture from a simple artifact. As each group displays its object, ask the rest of the class to act as archeologists of the future who are not familiar with these artifacts. They are to pose questions to the group, first about the objectís use or purpose, and then about what they think that tells us about the lives and culture of the people who created and used it. After the class has discussed each of the artifacts, have them think about what they learned from trying to figure out the use of the artifacts. Ask if any of the items were as hard to identify as the partially slit piece of iron that helped the archeologist identify the existence of the rolling and slitting mill. The following questions might facilitate the discussion:
1. Why did your group choose its particular object? Would an archeologist of a hundred years from now have learned a lot about us, or would the object have given him or her an erroneous idea about our society?
Activity 2: Researching Industries in the Local
Most communities have an industrial history of some kind. Have the students research and, if possible, visit sites in their own community to discover what elements of its early growth were alike or different from the development of the Saugus Iron Works and the settlement of Hammersmith. Some questions students might investigate include:
1. What was the first industry in your community?
After students have completed their research, have them discuss the history of the economic base of the town or city. Then ask each student to write a short paper in which they describe an industry they would like to promote--as Winthrop promoted ironmaking for Saugus. They should describe how they would refine their idea, how they might find investors, what working conditions would be like, and how the industry would affect the people in the community. Read two or three of the papers to the class and then hold a general discussion about the impact industry has on the daily lives of those involved.