Share Proposed Michigan Week Curriculum


The Monroe Labor History Museum has prepared a four-day unit for possible use during Michigan Week, which is held annually during the third full week of May. These lessons are based on the 4th Grade Social Studies Expectations adopted in 2007 by the Michigan State Board of Education, and are available on the web.

The 4th Grade History expectations most directly addressed in these lessons are:
4 – H3.0.1  Use historical inquiry questions to investigate the development of Michigan’s major economic activities (agriculture, mining, manufacturing, lumbering, tourism, technology, and research) from statehood to present. (C, E)
  • What happened? 
  • When did it happen? 
  • Who was involved? 
  • How and why did it happen? 
  • How does it relate to other events or issues in the past, in the present, or in the future?
  • What is its significance?
4 – H3.0.2  Use primary and secondary sources to explain how migration and immigration affected and 
continue to affect the growth of Michigan. (G)
4 – H3.0.4  Draw upon stories, photos, artifacts, and other primary sources to compare the life of people in towns and cities in Michigan and in the Great Lakes region during a variety of time periods from 1837 to the present (e.g., 1837-1900, 1900-1950, 1950-2000). (G)
4 – H3.0.5  Use visual data and informational text or primary accounts to compare a major Michigan 
economic activity today with that same or a related activity in the past. (E)
4 – H3.0.6  Use a variety of primary and secondary sources to construct a historical narrative about the 
beginnings of the automobile industry and the labor movement in Michigan. (G, E)
4 – H3.0.9  Create timelines (using decades after 1930) to sequence and describe important events in 
Michigan history; annotate with connections to the past and impact on the future.

Proposed Michigan Week Curriculum

Grade 4

Day 1
Title: Why Michigan?
Objective: Students learn why people – including their own families – came to live in Michigan.
Method: The instructor will lead a classroom lecture and discussion outlining the history of state settlement.
Support Materials:   Introducing Michigan's Past, a 32 page downloadable teacher's guide for teaching Michigan history is available on the web.
Assignment: Students will interview an older family member or neighbor about the jobs he or she had, as well as the jobs his or her parents or grandparents had, in Michigan. Students will attempt to answer four questions:
  • What brought their families to Monroe County and when did they come?
  • What kind of jobs did they have and when?
  • Do these types of jobs still exist?
  • Did these workers belong to unions? If so, which ones?
Day 2
Title: What is a Union?
Objective: Students will learn the basic ideas behind the formation of collective bargaining units, and how workers in union jobs affect American life.
Method: The instructor will lead a classroom reading and discussion of the booklet “What is a Union” and the article “Unions Today”.
Day 3
Title: Lost Labor
Objective: Students learn that over time some jobs become obsolete, or no longer in use or useful.
Method: Look at the following web site: Review selected images and ask the students to answer two questions about each photograph: 1) what do you think the person or persons in the picture are doing? 2) Why do you think this type of job no longer exists?
Image 1 – From homepage, click on Automotive then on Ford Motor Company 1965
Image 2 – From homepage, click on Consumer, then on American Tobacco Company 1930
Image 3 – From homepage, click on Food then on National Biscuit Company 1969
Image 4 – From homepage, click on Light then on York Ice Machinery Corporation 1932
Day 4
Title: Sharing Family History
Objective: Students will share the results of their interview with the class, compare their results with other class members, and graph the results of the entire class.
Method: The instructor will lead the class in placing their results within major areas of Michigan employment: Agriculture, Lumber Industry, Paper Industry, Automotive Industry, or Other. The instructor can determine appropriate additional categories such as Home, Goods and Services, Government or Public Employment, Office or Technical, etc. One simple graphing method can be a blackboard tally of results to see if there is a predominance oor majority of a particular type of employment in your community. If you can, create a list of “lost jobs” in your community. Create a list of labor unions that are or were in your community, if possible.