Explore Chicago’s prominent role in the history of the railroads through transportation artifacts—both past and present.
The Golden Spike
Students will read “Joseph’s Railroad Dreams,” a historical fiction story, to learn about the history of the railroads. They will then explore and interpret railroad artifacts and write their own inscription for the ceremonial Golden Spike. Download The Golden Spike.
Working on the Railroad
Students will learn about the challenges of “working on the railroad” and create their own railroad posters. They will also learn about the establishment of time zones and plot their own time zone trip. Download Working on the Railroad.
Transportation Through Time
Students will explore and analyze artifacts representing various modes of transportation used throughout Chicago’s history. They will write a short adventure story illustrating the past and imagining the future of transportation in our city. Download Transportation Through Time.
“L” Stands for Elevated
Students will play a Chicago “L” trivia game to learn about the history of our city’s public transportation system. They will also create their own construction paper “L” car and write advertising slogans for Chicago’s elevated trains. Download “L” Stands for Elevated.
Tips for Assembling Your Artifact Kit
Our tips and resources will help you build an artifact kit to use with these lessons.
Local teachers wrote the History in Your Hands lessons as part of History Connections and Artifact Collections, a project made possible by a generous grant from the Polk Bros. Foundation.