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Whole Cloth: Discovering Science and Technology Through Textile History

Introductory graphic, Unit 3, Whole Cloth. . .

Constructed by historians of technology and secondary school teachers, this site presents an interdisciplinary curriculum that examines "the history of textiles, the technology and science of production, and their consumption." Designed for American history or social studies courses in middle and high school, it is composed of three independent modules that contain 11 hands-on activities for students with corresponding lesson plans and notes for teachers. The activities include primary source materials (images and documents), one scholarly article by Thomas Dublin entitled "Women, Work, and Protest in the Early Lowell Mills," seven charts and graphs, three maps, a Quicktime video, glossaries, and bibliographies.

The first module, Unit 2: Early Industrialization, examines early American industrialization through textile technology and invention. Among the many unique activities included is one that explores invention by asking students to debate "Inventing a Cotton Gin." Unit 3: True Colors explores the technology and invention of dyes and dyeing in an international context. In one activity, students use a range of primary documents to learn about the role of World War I in the invention of synthetic dyes. Unit 7: Synthetic Fibers explores the invention of nylon. In this module, students learn about the contribution of scientists and corporations in modern invention. This well-organized site will enable teachers and students to learn more about technology and invention, and about how women and people of color have interacted with technology.