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Transformation of Technology

Lesson Plan Item

General Information
Grade 4th Grade Class N/A Length of Lesson 40 Minutes
Lesson Title Transformation of Technology
Unit Title The Importance of The Industrial Revolution
Unit Compelling Question How did the Industrial Revolution impact people and the environment?
Historical Context:

This was a time of technological and agricultural reform. During the time of the industrial Revolution (1760-1840) there were several advancements that made goods made by hand possible to be mass produced. This was seen in agricultural realms  as well as fields dealing with transportation, communication, and the production of marketable goods. Largely due to the invention of the steam engine huge advancements were possible in the textiles, iron making, and other industries. Farmland in Iowa was largely changed due to the modifications made to the plow and inventions such as the corn hook.

Lesson Supporting Question How did the Industrial Revolution simplify the lives of people living during this era?
Lesson Overview

This lesson will give students the opportunity to experience what life was like living before some of the advancements that were made during the Industrial Revolution. Students will also get to experience the simplicity of those same tasks after the Industrial Revolution occurred. The tasks will not necessarily be directly related to what happened in the revolution but activities that are simplified by improvements made to technology. 

Primary Sources Used
Resources Needed
Lesson Target
  • I can explain cause and effects of events and developments
  • I can understand and analyze the impact of technological changes in Iowa across time
  • I can explain how time has affected Iowa’s agriculture
Lesson Themes No themes are assigned for this lesson.
Lesson Procedure
Step Procedure Time Differentiation plan / Additional Information
Bell Ringer 

Intro/Anticipatory Set:

Students will enter the classroom on day 2 of our work with the Industrial Revolution and begin a short conference with their table groups about some of the devices we had previously discussed. 

Once completed the teacher will ask the questions: 

“What aspects of those objects made them useful to people living in this time”?
What could we change about those objects to make them more effective?


This conversation will allow students to see how technological advancements were made during the Industrial Revolution simplified the lives of those who lived in the era.

5 Min  Students will be set in tables with small groups but will have the freedom to work independently if they choose to do so.  

The teacher will have provided each table group with a few activities students may struggle to complete because the equipment is insufficient. These tasks include: 

Write name with toothpick and paint
Counting out 100 unit blocks with chopsticks
Filling up 1 cup with water using an eyedropper

The teacher will comment on the difficulty level of all of these activities and then ask “how could we make these tasks easier?
Students and the teacher will then discuss options on how to simplify some of the provided tasks. 

Ask questions about why the tasks were so difficult
What can we change or improve about these tasks

Let students talk with small groups to come up with ideas on how we can improve our ability to complete tasks. . 
 Teachers will navigate through the classroom listening to the ideas that each group develops.

Leaning in and spark conversation

We will gather all possible options of improving the process of completing the laid out tasks on white boards

Students will be free to choose what strategy they will use or what changes they will make to improve their effectiveness of completing the activities. 
We will keep track of what worked well and what did not. 

Teacher will ask question: 

How is this activity similar to how historians solved their problems during the Industrial Revolution?

10 Min 

Students are strategically grouped together by their competence level. No student that typically struggles will not be in a group without a stronger student to lead the conversation. 


The conversation starter cards are present on the table. These have starter questions like: 

I’m curious about…
I think this is showing us….
Maybe this was used to…..


Good Question examples: 

What changes are we noticing in these objects?
Why were these changes made?
How did the changes made to the devices simplify the lives of those who lived during the Industrial Revolution?



Primary Sources: 


Primary Source #1: Seed Bag

The seed bag was used to transport corn kernels to movie theatres after popcorn production took off. 


Primary Source #2: Corn Dryer

After the corn was harvested, it needed to be stored in an unheated room on these racks. The kernels with the best germination was completely shelled and used for next years crop. This device made shelling and drying corn quicker. 


Primary Source #3:Breaking Plow

This plow was used to prepare land for farming. Plows like this have now been adapted for landscaping. 


Primary Source #4: Corn Hook

Another farming tool that made cultivating crops much quicker and safer. The glove and hook were used to gold and shuck the corn. 

Students experienced frustration the first time around with the activities and rightfully so. The tasks were meant to demonstrate how difficult a task can be without proper technology. 

After the first round of activities, students will discuss in small groups how they can improve their strategies or the technology used in each task. 
Possible changes: 

Instead of toothpick use pen/pencil
Instead of chopsticks with unit blocks use hands and fingers
Instead of eyedropper use a baster 

All of the new solutions will make each activity much easier
This will relate directly to how things changed during the industrial revolution

After the second round of activities we meet as a whole group and list on the board the changes that worked to make our activities easier. 
We then list how this relates to the experiences of those who lived during the Industrial Revolution

Survey the primary documents and how each simplified the lives of the user.  
20 Min   
Closure  We will be using a K-W-L  chart as an exit ticket (seen below). This will assess what students actually learned during the activity while allowing the teacher to see if there are any unanswered questions that need to be addressed. We save the last 2 minutes of class for any questions! 5 Min   
Formative Assessment
(How will you use the formative assessments to monitor and inform instruction?)
  • We will be doing a K-W-L chart at the end of our lesson which is a little irregular because these assessments are usually found at the beginning of a lesson but how we will use it allows it to be at the end of our lesson. Students will have 3 columns. The first will be what they know for sure from our 2 lessons on the Industrial Revolution. The second column will be for anything the students are still curious about or would like a deeper explanation of. The final column is for something that they had learned during our previous lesson. Students should have formed an understanding that as a direct result of the Industrial Revolution, a lot of technological advancements were made to improve the lives of those who lived during this time period and today we enjoy those advancements and continue to advance.
Summative Assessment
(How does the lesson connect to planned summative assessment(s)?)
  • The summative assessment will be a before and after poster presentation. The poster will be assigned to each student. The student will draw an invention out of a random bag and create a before and after board of how an invention has changed. The poster will include photos of the before and after, the advancement that was made to improve the invention, and how this inventions improvement has affected our lives as Iowans. The assessment will tell us if students have understood the significance of change and if they can apply that to several different inventions.
Author Information
Author Alex Alberts Reviewer Dr. Chad Timm, Simpson College Created 06/18/2020 Last Edited 06/18/2020
Lesson Plan Development Notes: Social Studies Methods, Simpson College, Spring 2020

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