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Ida Tarbell: Hysterical Woman vs. Historical Facts
What to Know
Teaching Time
Three class periods
Grade Level
High School
  • Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
  • History
Historical Period
  • Development of the Industrial Pennsylvania - 1877-1900
  • The Emergence of Modern Pennsylvania - 1901-1928
Investigative journalism became a movement at the turn of the century when magazines began publishing articles exposing corruption in politics and business. Ida Tarbell, writing for McClure's Magazine, was one of the premier writers in this genre as she took on John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil. This lesson will ask students to examine the writings of Ida Tarbell and political cartoons of the era. They will compare circumstances at the turn of the century with government actions against monopolies today.


1. Students will contrast and compare different styles of journalism with an emphasis on developing effective communication skills 2. Articulate in a article written with accurate information and gain a perspective created by many carefully chosen words or phrases that elicit an emotional response from the reader. 3. Develop understanding of the analysis tools. 4. Create effective editorial message.

Standards Alignment

  • History

    8.1.3 B. Develop an understanding of historical sources.
    8.1.6. B. Explain and analyze historical sources.
    8.1.9. D. Analyze and interpret historical research using primary sources.

  • Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening

    1.1.5. A. Establish the purpose for reading a type of text (literature, information) before reading.
    1.1.5. D. Identify the basic ideas and facts in text using strategies.
    1.1.5. F. Identify, understand the meaning of and use correctly key vocabulary from various subject areas.
    1.1.8. D. Identify basic facts and ideas in text using specific strategies.
    1.3.5. C. Describe how the author uses literary devices to convey meaning.
    1.4.3. B. Write informational pieces.
    1.4.3 C. Write an opinion and support it with facts.
    1.4.5. C. Write persuasive pieces with a clearly stated position or opinion and supporting detail, citing sources when needed.
    1.4.8. C. Write persuasive pieces.
    1.6.11. F. Use media for learning purposes.

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