Teach PA History
Explore PA History
Carbondale: The Biography of a Coal Town


Download and copy the combined worksheets for this lesson.

Lesson 1

1. Display Source 7: Map, Village of Carbondale 1851 and ask students to identify the triangle located in the center of the town. This will be the focal point to help students see the connections between the different maps. Encourage observations from the map, noting where housing is located, railroads, etc.

2. DisplaySource 6: Map, Carbondale 1890"s (20 rods to the Inch). Ask students to identify the triangle focal point again. Encourage comparisons and contrasts between the two maps. Explain to students that Carbondale is located in the anthracite region, and assist students in drawing conclusions about the reasons for growth and change.

3. Show Source 5: Photograph, Jermyn St Railcar 1880 Carbondale on the overhead projector. Have students look at the picture for a short period of time quietly.

4. Pass out Worksheet 1: Photograph Detective's worksheet to each small group. Have students discuss and list what they remember seeing. Then follow steps of the worksheet together, reminding students to analyze what the images suggest before they create the "stories" behind
the photos.

5. 5. Have groups share their findings. Discuss pros and cons to analyzing photos. Inform students of the facts about the photograph's origins and stories. Make sure students notice churches in background.

6. 6. Refer back to the maps. Inform students that the photograph was taken at that focal point center triangle facing the churches on the map. Help students draw conclusions from the photographs and maps.

7. Give each student Worksheet 4: Brief History of Rise, Peak, and Fall of Carbondale. Read and discuss information, stopping throughout text to ask questions.

Lesson 2

1. Review Map and Photo Analysis Strategies.

2. Give each group the three photographs (one at a time). Have them use fresh detective sheets to follow the steps to analyze each photograph. Allow groups to share their results and to listen to suggestions and ideas from other groups about each photograph. (Now that they know the brief history, they will start to notice more and infer more from the photographs.)

3. 3. Read an example of one caption from a photograph. Have students attempt to find the photograph that fits that caption.

4. Ask students to work in groups or pairs create captions for each photograph. Share results and see how closely the analysis came to the actual captions.

Lesson 3

1. Back together as a whole group, review the maps and photograph from the original lesson. Label the maps A and B and the Photograph C.

2. Distribute Worksheet 3: Categorizing Chart (make large class chart, as well).

3. Ask students to decide in which section to put the three items.

4. Display each photograph from the small group analysis and give each a different letter label.

5. Have students use the letter codes on each photo to decide individually which photos belong in the beginnings section, the peak section and the decline section.

6. Have students share possible results and decide as a class where to place each photo on the class categorizing chart.

Lesson 4

1. Review if necessary

2. Show the class timeline (enlarge from Worksheet 2: Timeline Template) and distribute Worksheet 2: Timeline Template to each student.

3. Using previously taught information (brief history, categorizing, etc.), encourage students to place letters on their individual time lines to decide where each photograph and map belongs. You may want to demonstrate with one photograph. Collect for assessment (optional).

4. Share possible results and decide together where to place each photo and map on the class rise and fall time line.

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