The teacher will start the lesson by asking these questions:
o Have you ever heard of Birmingham?
o What do you know about Birmingham?
o Do you know why it became a city?
o Do you think transportation played a role?
o Why did they decide to call it Birmingham? (Have a student do a quick internet search to find this answer if it is not known by any students or share the reason – found in background/preparation section.Tie this in with Step 1.)
Step 1 Have students locate Birmingham, Alabama, and Birmingham, England, on a world map or globe. Make geographical comparisons.
Step 2 Discuss the importance of location, transportation, and availability of resources with regard to where cities are located.
Step 3 The teacher or student will read indicated portions of Chapter 1 (listed below) of the History of Elyton Land Company and Birmingham, Alabama, a primary resource document. Students will discuss these excerpts as the teacher walks through the points of the article using document-based questions. (Copy of document attached as Elyton Land Co. PDF.)
• Page 3, first paragraph; contains: …South and North Railroad …in course of construction from Montgomery to Decatur… knowing that there were immense deposits of coal and iron ore in Jefferson County, and knowing also that the above mentioned railroad must cross the Alabama and Chattanooga Railroad… around the intersection of the two roads and forming a corporation for the purpose of building a town thereon.
• Page 7, second paragraph; contains: …vast possibilities of Birmingham Page 10, first partial paragraph; contains: Birmingham grew and prospered…
Step 4 After discussing the Elyton document, the teacher will ask these questions:
• What role did railroads play in the building of Birmingham?
• What was the importance of the railroad? (You may wish to explain that Elyton is now a community within Birmingham.)
Step 5 Then the teacher will show at least four of the seven images of transportation (attached) from this time period using a document camera or computer and projector and will use image-based questions to engage students with these primary resources. The following images are saved in the Word document: Modes of Transportation Photos and can be found individually on the internet as follows:
• Great Southern Railroad engine
• Mule-drawn streetcar
• Barges on the Warrior River
• Railroad yard in Montgomery
• Barge and train transporting coal
• Image of streetcar track in downtown Birmingham
The students will compare modes of transportation of the time period and will discuss transportation by river, highway, and rail. Step 6 Students will complete the graphic organizer assessment and then share and display their products. (Simple directions for the teacher on how to fold the graphic organizer are attached as a Word document: Four-Fold Graphic Organizer.)