Teach PA History
Life in a Coal Patch
What to Know
Teaching Time
2- 50 minute sessions
Grade Level
Elementary School
  • Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
  • Geography
  • History
Historical Period
  • New Nation - 1761-1800
  • Expansion and Reform - 1801-1855
  • Civil War and Reconstruction - 1856-1876
  • Development of the Industrial Pennsylvania - 1877-1900
  • The Emergence of Modern Pennsylvania - 1901-1928
  • The Great Depression and World War II - 1929-1945
  • Post-WWII Pennsylvania - 1946-1974
  • Contemporary Pennsylvania - 1975 to Present
What was life like in a Pennsylvania bituminous coal mine coal patch? What did the people eat? What kind of houses did they live in? What was it like to be the son or daughter of a coal miner? What are some of the trials and hardships that mining families faced? These are questions your students will explore as they view many primary sources from the bituminous mining time period. Students will use a number of photographs and many wonderful oral histories from men and women who grew up in a coal patch.


Students will be able to: 1. Understand an aspect of life in a coal patch town by examining primary resources. 2. Demonstrate understanding of primary resources by responding to comprehension questions. 3. Summarize material by creating a theme sentence pertaining to the aspect of bituminous coal patch life they have been studying. 4. Collaborate with other groups to create a poster summarizing multiple aspects of life in a bituminous coal patch. 5. Understand through reading comprehension difficult times faced by miners and their families. 6. Synthesize what they have learned about life in a coal patch in a creative writing assignment.

Standards Alignment

  • Geography

    7.1.3 B. Identify and locate places and regions.

  • History

    8.1.6. A. Understand chronological thinking and distinguish between past, present, and future time.
    8.2.3. A. Understand the political and cultural contributions of individuals and groups to Pennsylvania.
    8.2.3. B. Identify and describe primary documents, material artifacts and historic sites important in Pennsylvania history.
    8.3.3. A. Identify contributions of individuals and groups to United States history.
    8.3.3. B. Identify and describe primary documents, material artifacts and historic sites important in United States history.

  • Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening

    1.4.5. B. Write multi-paragraph informational pieces.
    1.6.5. A. Listen to others.
    1.6.5. D. Contribute to discussions.

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