Teach PA History
Pennsylvania's Iron Furnaces: Forging the Industrialization of the Nation
What to Know
Teaching Time
2 50-minute periods
Grade Level
High School
  • Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
  • History
  • Mathematics
Historical Period
  • Colonization and Settlement - 1601-1760
  • New Nation - 1761-1800
  • Expansion and Reform - 1801-1855
  • Civil War and Reconstruction - 1856-1876
  • Development of the Industrial Pennsylvania - 1877-1900
From its early colonial and settlement days to the World-War II era, America blossomed from a weak agricultural economy to an industrialized world power. There were a number of factors leading to this growth: the economy, world events, western expansion/immigration, and innovation all contributed to this industrial revolution. This lesson will look more specifically at three characteristics of industrialization: (1) expansion of transportation, (2) innovation or discovery of better power sources, and (3) improvements made to the manufacturing/factory process. Students will study these traits within the iron industry of Pennsylvania. By studying an example of Pennsylvania's early charcoal furnaces and later period bituminous coke-fueled iron factories, students will be able to track various innovations that led to increased iron production and discover the symbiotic relationship between the iron and railroad industries.


Students will be able to: 1. Identify key concepts of industrialization. 2. Comprehend reading on the history and importance of Pennsylvania's iron industry. 3. Synthesize knowledge of industrialization with information learned about the operation of furnaces from two different time periods. 4. Apply industrialization concepts to the iron industry. 5. Communicate through visual and written exercises the process of industrialization at work in the iron industry.

Standards Alignment

  • History

    8.1.9. B. Analyze and interpret historical sources.
    8.1.12. A. Evaluate chronological thinking.
    8.2.9. B. Identify and analyze primary documents, material artifacts and historic sites important in Pennsylvania history from 1787 to 1914.
    8.2.9. C. Identify and analyze how continuity and change have influenced Pennsylvania history.
    8.3.9. B. Identify and analyze primary documents, material artifacts and historic sites important in United States history from 1787 to 1914.
    8.3.9. C. Analyze how continuity and change has influenced United States history from 1787 to 1914.

  • Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening

    1.1.11 G. Demonstrate after reading understanding and interpretation of both fiction and nonfiction text, including public documents.
    1.4.11. B. Write complex informational pieces.
    1.5.11. A. Write with a sharp, distinct focus.
    1.5.11. B. Write using well-developed content appropriate for the topic.
    1.5.11. C. Write with controlled and/or subtle organization.
    1.6.11. A. Listen to others.
    1.6.11. E. Participate in small and large group discussions and presentations.
    1.6.11. F. Use media for learning purposes.
    1.8.11. B. Locate information using appropriate sources and strategies.

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