Guiding Question:

What were the options available to the 1912 Lawrence strikers and their families?

If you were a member of one of these families, what would you have done?

Teachers Page

Grade Level(s):6-8

Age Levels(s): 12-14

Subject Area:Social Studies, Geography


  1. Students will apply the basic principles of historical thinking by researching and weighing primary information sources, and forming their own conclusions from those sources to interpret.

Curriculum Standards:



Student Foundational Skills:


Learning Activities and Organizational Notes:

Before starting this lesson,


First Class: (Listening)


1. As a class, have students look at a set of documents and decide if the documents are primary or secondary sources. You will record each example on the board and in your notes.
2. Background to the Bread and Roses Strike
Present a brief, but informative, Microsoft PowerPoint presentation on the Lawrence Mills Bead and Roses Strike of 1912. Instruct students that they should take notes and record any pertinent facts they have been presented, as they will need them for the last activity. 

Organizational Notes: none


Second class: (Acquires and evaluates information)

In this activity, students will examine primary sources to gain knowledge of the Strike at Lawrence in 1912. You will assign groups, you will explore House and Senate hearings on the events that transpired surrounding the strikers sending their children to leave with strike sympathizers in Philadelphia, New York and Barre, VT. Students  will try to uncover why this event became a national concern and even warranted a response from the President of the United States wife.



Third class:
Today students will be asked to go into their previously assigned groups and be provided with photographs from Lawrence during this time period. Students should examine and discuss these handouts amongst their groups and later as a class. Individually complete the Photograph Analysis worksheet or the Political Cartoon Analysis work sheet


Organizational Notes: none


Fourth class:

The Final Word Protocol Activity: Students have been asked to come to class with four or five quotes/facts you obtained from the readings, teacher lecture/PowerPoint, photographs, political cartoons, charts, or additional research you may have done about the Bread and Roses Strike. Students will be asked to sit in a circle of five.

  1. Sit in a circle, and identify a facilitator/time-keeper.
  1. Each student needs to have one “most” significant idea from the text underlined or highlighted in the article. It is often helpful to identify a “back up” quote as well.


  1. The first person begins by reading what “struck him or her the most” from the article. Have this person refer to where the quote is in the text - one thought or quote only. Then, in less than 3 minutes, this person describes why that quote struck him or her. For example, why does s/he agree/disagree with the quote, what questions does s/he have about that quote, what issues does it raise for him or her, what does s/he now wonder about in relation to that quote?

4. Continuing around the circle each person will respond to that quote and what the presenter said, briefly, in less than a minute. The purpose of the response is:
• to expand on the presenter’s thinking about the quote and the issues raised for him or her by the quote,
• to provide a different look at the quote,
• to clarify the presenter’s thinking about the quote, and/or
• to question the presenter’s assumptions about the quote and the issues raised (although at this time there is no response from the presenter).

5. After going around the circle with each student having responded for less than one minute, the person that began has the “final word.” In no more than one minute the presenter responds to what has been said. Now what is s/he thinking? What is his or her reaction to what s/he has heard?

6. The next student in the circle then begins by sharing what struck him or her most from the text. Proceed around the circle, responding to this next presenter’s quote in the same way as the first presenter’s. This process continues until each student has had a round with his or her quote.

7. For each round, allow about 8 minutes (circles of 5 participants: presenter 3 minutes, response 1 minute for 4 people, final word for presenter 1 minute). The role of the facilitator is to keep the process moving, keep it clear and directed to the article, and keep time so everyone gets an opportunity for a round. Total time is about a forty minutes for a group of 5 (32 minutes for a group of 4, 48 minutes for a group of 6). End by debriefing the process in your small group.

Organizational Notes:

Assessments: Pre and Post Survey

Notes, Document Analysis Worksheets, Photograph/cartoon Analysis Worksheets, Brief essay, and participation in classroom debate (Final Word exercise)

Teacher Notes: none