Consequences of the Industrial revolution – child labor

Subject: History
Summary: Students gain insight to child labor, reflect and talk about the causes of child labor. The lesson focuses on finding a consensus when, where and why child labor was or is necessary. Using the “Opinion scales” method, students try to define their own attitude towards the issue.
Activity length: Duration is 45 minutes.
  • Students learn the causal links between the industrial revolution and child labor.
  • Students practice critical thinking and analyze their own fixed opinions, learning to defend and find arguments supporting their views.

Teacher prepares a list of statements concerning the use of child labor in the times of the Industrial revolution and today.

Teacher prepares the classroom so it could be used for the method “Opinion scales”.


Part 1: Students familiarize with the topic of the lesson –  the child labor as the consequence of the industrial revolution. This can be done by either teacher-student discussion, lecture or using appropriate textbooks. Students task will be to devise a definition of child labor and to share the definition with the rest of the class.

Part 2: Method of opinion scales: one wall of the class is marked “I totally agree”, the other as “I totally disagree”. Teacher will explain the principles of the opinion scales. Teacher will start presenting claims of which the students will have to choose a preference. The closer the students stands to the wall, the more they agree/disagree with the statement. Students have to pick their preference according to their personal opinion. After each setup of students on a scale, some students are asked (preferably different opinion) to explain its position.

Child labor should be prohibited.

It is not good if children work to help to feed their families.

All children should be given allowance.

Children are allowed to work to earn extra pocket money.

High school students should start working to adjust to future life.


Part 3: All students have to compile a word map of their personal opinion of child labor.


All students write a short essay on the issue of child labor which will be graded.