I don't know about you, but I find that students are especially intrigued when we learn about the Gilded Age. Maybe it's the glitz, glam, and mansions, but this period is also marked by an extreme divide between the wealthiest Americans and those living in poverty.
While we could choose to only focus on the lavish displays of wealth during this period, I believe it is important for students to hear the stories of real people, and learn about life from multiple perspectives. I've designed a virtual field trip that will give your students a well-rounded glimpse of daily life for many different groups of people during the Gilded Era.
On this trip, your students will tour several mansions using Google Earth. Your students will be able to "walk" around and "see" these extravagant homes with 360-degree views. However, instead of just focusing on the wealthy 1%, this trip also includes a look at life in the tenements with a video tour of the Tenement Museum. Students will read the personal story of a woman who lived in the tenements on Orchard Street in New York. Your students will be asked to draw conclusions about the way life differed between the elite and the working class.
Within this trip, your students will also learn about sweatshops, factory conditions, the rise of labor unions, the farmers' movement, and the impact the Gilded Age had on the environment. All of the content is ready-to-go and clickable links are built into the trip to take your students to Google Earth views, and short video clips. I've designed this activity with the busy teacher in mind, so there is little prep involved.
Ways to Use This Virtual Field Trip:
- Sub plans
- Early finisher activity
- Whole group lesson
- Independent activity or partner activity
- Tech station activity
- End of unit activity
This activity includes editable response questions. These questions are designed to keep students accountable as they move through the activity, but also focus on historical thinking skills, making connections, and showing what they have learned.