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About this Lesson

This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration files, “Baltimore & Ohio Transportation Museum and Mount Clare Station,” “Thomas Viaduct, Baltimore & Ohio Railroad,” “Carrollton Viaduct,” “Ellicott City Station,” and other source materials on the development of 19thcentury 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. The readings and other exercises are designed to reinforce student skills in the areas of critical thinking, interpretation, and observation related to the history of transportation and technology.
Time Period: 19th century
Grades K-4
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.
Topic Four: The History of Many Cultures Around the World
Standard 8B: The student understands the changes in transportation and their effects.
Grade 4
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.
3.0A. Using Geographic Tools
Indicator 1. Use geographic tools to locate places and describe the human and physical characteristics of those places
3.0B.Geographic Characteristics of Places and Regions
Indicator 1. Describe similarities and differences of regions by using geographic characteristics
3.0C. Movement of People, Goods and Ideas
Indicator 1. Describe and analyze population growth, migration, and settlement patterns in Maryland and regions of the United States
3.0 D. Modifying and Adapting to the Environment
Indicator 1. Describe how people adapt to, modify and impact the natural environment
Standard 5.0 History: Students will examine significant ideas, beliefs, and themes; organize patterns and events; and analyze how individuals and societies have changed over time in Maryland and the United States.
5.0C. Conflict between Ideas and Institutions
Indicator 2. Explain the political, cultural, economic and social changes in Maryland during the early 1800s
Grades 3-5
Standard 6.0 Social Studies Skills 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
Indicator 2. Use strategies to prepare for reading (before reading)
Indicator 3. Use strategies to monitor understanding and derive meaning from text and portions of text (during reading)
Indicator 4. Use strategies to demonstrate understanding of the text (after reading)
6.0B. Write to Learn and Communicate Social Studies Understandings
Indicator 1. Use informal writing strategies, such as journal writing, note taking, quick writes, and graphic organizers to clarify, organize, remember and/or express new understandings
Indicator 2. Use formal writing, such as multi-paragraph essays, historical investigations, research reports, letters and summaries to inform
Indicator 3. Use formal writing, such as multi-paragraph essays, historical investigations, editorials, and letters to persuade
Indicator 4. Use timed, on-demand writing to demonstrate understanding on assessments (Constructed Responses)
6.0C. Ask Social Studies Questions
Indicator 1. Identify a topic that requires further study
Indicator 2. Identify a problem/situation that requires further study
6.0D. Acquire Social Studies Information
1. Identify primary and secondary sources of information that relate to the topic/situation/problem being studied
2. Engage in field work that relates to the topic/ situation/ problem being studied
6.0E. Organize Social Studies Information
1. Organize information from non-print sources
2. Organize information from print sources
6.0F. Analyze Social Studies Information
1. Interpret information from primary and secondary sources
2. Evaluate information from a variety of sources
3. Synthesize information from a variety of sources
6.0G. Answer Social Studies Questions
1. Describe how the country has changed over time and how people have contributed to its change, drawing from maps, photographs, newspapers, and other sources
2. Use historic contexts to answer questions
3. Use current events/issues to answer questions
Objectives for students
  1. To understand the significance of the railroad industry with individuals’ freedom to move and travel.
  2. To understand the positive impact of the railroad industry to connect people from far off regions.
  3. To understand the dangers and challenges associated with early railroad travel.
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.
  1. Two maps of the regions impacted by the B&O Railroad.
  2. Readings related to the problems and successes associated with early railroad passenger travel.
  3. Images relating to different aspects of early railroad passenger travel.
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