Legislative Branch

Congress Celebrates the Industrial Revolution


Students will study the impact of the Industrial Revolution by analyzing nineteenth-century depictions of technological innovation.

Guiding Question:

What do these drawings show about technological change in the nineteenth century?


4 Document facsimiles

3 Worksheets

Recommended grade levels:

Grades 7-12


U.S. History

Topics included in this lesson:

STEM, technology, innovation, patents, inventions, industrialization, Industrial Revolution, telephones, bicycles, educational equipment, writing utensils, and typewriters

Time Required:  

45 minutes

Featured Document:

This lesson uses illustrations from an 1892 congressional publication: The Growth of Industrial Art.* Each of the book’s 200 pages of drawings illustrates the historical development of machines, tools, and equipment. The drawings were originally shown in the American exhibit at the World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition, and Congress funded several additional printings of this popular volume. At the time it was considered the most complete depiction of the growth of American industry.

* The Growth of Industrial Art, 52nd Congress, 2nd Session, 1892, H. Misc. Doc. 121

Learning Activities:

  1. Divide the class into four groups. Assign one document to each group.
  2. Distribute the assigned document and Worksheet 1 to each group.
  3. Instruct each group to complete Worksheet 1, and prepare to share their findings with the class.
  4. Distribute Worksheets 2 and 3 to each student.
  5. Instruct each group to share their findings with the rest of the class, and have each student take notes on the reports by completing Worksheet 2.
  6. After all groups have reported, instruct each student to complete Worksheet 3.
  7. Invite volunteers to share from their responses on Worksheet 3 with the class.

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