Industrial America PowerPoint & Google Slides | Primary Source



Check out this engaging PowerPoint (or Google Slides) presentation on Industrial America in the late 1800s. If you are a busy middle school American history teacher that expects the best for your students, this PPT is perfect because it is professionally designed, useful, and enjoyable for the students. It details how the U.S. industrialized during the Gilded Age.

Zero to minimal preparation necessary. Just print the Teacher Guide Sheet for you, then print the Student Study Guide Notes and primary source for students. Alternatively, you could simply upload these files to your Learning Management System (LMS) and students could use the files on their devices.

To make the lesson more engaging and interactive, the PowerPoint (or Google Slides) comes with a primary source PDF with excerpts from Jacob Riis’s How the Other Half Lives. It coincides with a slide that asks historical thinking questions about the primary source. The slide is strategically placed half way through the presentation for the purpose of adding variety in the lesson and getting the students speaking more.

This is a useful presentation you can use to present to your class or give to them to study on their own (students could read the slides and the notes). The design is professional and with the right amount of words on each slide (i.e. NO death by PowerPoint). The content is very detailed in the notes, so if you are busy, you could simply open the slides in front of the class and read the notes (it is suggested you review the slides before class though).

Furthermore, it includes a teacher guide sheet that you can print and use when presenting. The information in the guide sheet and PPT notes include additional information that is not on the slides (in other words, it will make you look smart!). This way, the teacher can add interesting little comments or data to each slide. You can either print the whole guide sheet, or just the pages you need help with.

You can make changes to the PPT, if you deem it necessary. This presentation can be used in Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides (if you want to use Google Slides, just click the link which is found in the first slide).

Content in PPT includes:

  • Industrial America
  • Chicago
  • Great Chicago Fire
  • Railroads
  • Thomas Edison
  • Waves of immigration
  • Ellis Island
  • Political machines
  • Jim Crow Laws
  • “Lost Cause”
  • Gender, religion, and culture
  • Vaudeville shows
  • Harry Houdini
  • Charlie Chaplin
  • Motion pictures
  • and more!

This presentations touches on all of the above topics and adds more detail. Students will have a good understanding of what life was like in the late 1800s.

This PPT follows standard American history textbooks.

How to use this presentation:

  • Present the PowerPoint (or Google Slides) in the classroom; one slide includes an interactive primary source activity for students to complete
  • While you are presenting, students need to fill out the Student Study Guide Notes
  • Present the Google Slides via Zoom (if distance learning)
  • Present and discuss – while presenting, get students involved and create discussion questions that get students thinking like a historian and comparing historical events to current events
  • Optional: print presentation with notes and let students read the slides (and notes)
  • Alternatively: have students view the slides, and they present the material in groups

How to use the primary source interactive activity:
One slide has some pictures and questions with a PDF that goes with it. This makes the class more interactive. Here is the suggested use:

  • Have students view the pictures on the slide (it can be viewed on the slide, but you could print the slide for students)
  • Also have students read Jacob Riis’s How the Other Half Lives primary source (this is a PDF; either print it and hand to students or display on classroom screen)
  • Put the students in pairs
  • Ask the provided questions (questions can be found in the notes of the PPT or in the Guide Sheet)
  • Alternatively, you could print the questions on small slips and hand them out
  • Discuss the answers as a class (suggested answers are provided)

Additional information

Grade Level

8th, 9th, 10th

Resource Types

Full Units, Homeschool, PowerPoints, Google Slides


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