This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration files, “Baltimore & Ohio Transportation Museum and Mount Clare Station,” “Ellicott City Station,” and other source materials on the development of 19th-century transportation. TwHP is sponsored, in part, by the Cultural Resources Training Initiative and Parks as Classrooms programs of the National Park Service. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into the classrooms across the country.
Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: This lesson is useful for units aimed at teaching about the process of westward expansion and industrialization during the 19th century. It focuses on the reasons why the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was built. The activities are designed to reinforce student skills of observation, critical thinking, and interpretation related to the history of transportation and technology.
Time period: Early to mid 19th century
Relevant United States History Standards
Topic One: Living and Working Together in Families and Communities, Now and Long Ago
Standard 2A: The student understands the history of his or her local community.
Standard 2B: The student understands how communities in North America varied long ago.
Topic Two: The History of the Students' Own State or Region
Standard 3D: The student understands the interactions among all these groups throughout the history of his or her state.
Standard 3E: The student understands the ideas that were significant in the development of the state and that helped to forge its unique identity.
Era 4: Expansion and Reform (1801-1861)
STANDARD 2: How the industrial revolution, increasing immigration, the rapid expansion of slavery, and the westward movement changed the lives of Americans and led toward regional tensions.
Standard 2A: The student understands how the factory system and the transportation and market revolutions shaped regional patterns of economic development.
Relevant Maryland Voluntary State Curriculum Standards for Social Studies Education
Standard 3.0 Geography: Students will use geographic concepts and processes to understand location and its relationship to human activities.
3.0A. Using Geographic Tools
Indicator 1. Use geographic tools to locate and construct meaning about places on Earth
Objective a. Describe the purposes of a variety of maps and atlases, such as transportation maps, physical maps, and political maps
3.0C. Movement of People, Goods and Ideas
Indicator 1. Describe how transportation and communication networks link places through the movement of people, goods, and ideas
Objective a. Explain how transportation and communication networks connect places, people, and ideas
Standard 6 Social Studies Skill and Processes: Students shall use reading, writing, and thinking processes and skills to gain knowledge and understanding of political, historical, and current events using chronological and spatial thinking, economic reasoning, and historical interpretation, by framing and evaluating questions from primary and secondary sources.
6.0A. Read to Learn and Construct Meaning about Social Studies
Indicator 1. Use appropriate strategies and opportunities to increase understandings of social studies vocabulary
Objective a.Acquire and apply new vocabulary through investigating, listening, independent reading and discussing a variety of print and non-print sources
Standard 3.0 Geography:Students will use geographic concepts and processes to examine the role of culture, technology, and the environment in the location and distribution of human activities and spatial connections throughout time.
3.0C. Movement of People, Goods and Idea
Indicator 1. Describe and analyze population growth, migration, and settlement patterns in Maryland and regions of the United States
Objective d.Describe the transportation and communication networks for the movement of people, goods, and ideas to, from and within Maryland such as Bay Bridge, National Road, B & O Railroad, the Port of Baltimore, and C & O Canal
Standard 4.0 Economics: Students will develop economic reasoning to understand the historical development and current status of economic principles, institutions, and processes needed to be effective citizens, consumers, and workers participating in local communities, the nation, and the world.
4.0A. Scarcity and Economic Decision-making
Indicator 3. Analyze how technological changes affected production and consumption in Colonial America
Objective a. Explain how the development of new products and new technologies affected the way people lived
Objectives for students
1. To compare the advantages and disadvantages between turnpike, canal, and railroad technology.
Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The map and images appear twice: in a low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger, high-resolution version.
- Two maps of the regions impacted by the B&O Railroad.
- One reading about the origins of the B&O and its competition with other transportation technologies.
- Two images illustrating the concept of road to rail transportation technology and the birth of the B&O Railroad.