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Monday, 12 October 2009 01:12

Lesson 2: Parliamentary Debate Project

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(Lesson from Monty Worth, Lowell High School)


  1. Students will understand the negative impact of the Industrial Revolution on children from primary source documents.
  2. Students will learn how legislation was enacted to protect child laborers.
  3. Students will take on the roles and create persuasive speeches.

Procedure: (This lesson takes approximately 4 – 5 class periods)

Step 1:

  1. Play Rossini’s William Tell Overture
  2. Lecture on the Industrial Revolution. (Teacher Resources 5.2.1)
  3. Show segments from Discovery Education Streaming
  4. Pass out Student Handout 5.2.1, and review the project with them. Allow students to choose their roles and then provide them with their role description (Student Handout 4.2.2) and readings for their roles.  (See Teacher Resources 5.2.2)
  5. For homework have students read and prepare for their roles. Students may also look at the following videos for ideas and background. Child labor during the Industrial Revolution

All of these videos are about the Industrial Revolution in England.

The Factory Age

Industrial Revolution: Journey through the Eyes of Children

Children of the Industrial Revolution

Child labour in the Industrial Revolution

Industrial Revolution: Child labour

Tommy Gets a Job

Step 2:

  1. Finish notes on the Industrial Revolution.

Allow students time to prepare their speeches for the following day. Give them the order in which they will speak. Day One: workers & managers presentations (1–8)
Day Two: economic presentations (9–11); presentations on legislation (12–17);
open debate on legislation; vote

Step 3:

  1. Desks may be kept in rows, but podium should be up front. Have the non-speaking MPs in the front rows.  Give them Student Handout 5.2.3, then call the students up in the order given the previous day. Day One: workers & managers presentations (1–8)

Step 4:

  1. Continue with speeches… Day Two: economic presentations (9–11); presentations on legislation (12–17)
  2. When speeches are completed, the instructor may act as Prime Minister and start the open debate on legislation
  3. When debate has concluded call for a vote. This may be done by a raise of hands or secret ballot.
  4. If there is time debrief the activity by having the MPs discuss a little of their summary sheets. Also depending on how the vote goes, ask if it was a realistic outcome.


I collect the students’ speeches and the MP summary sheets for assessment. I also use the Role Sign Up Sheet to make comments during the presentations.

Speech/Summary - Sheet 20 pts
Participation - 10 pts per day
Extra Credit - 5 pts for costume and/or participation in debate

Last modified on Tuesday, 13 October 2009 06:20

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