Muckraking Lesson Plan
Timeline: 60 minutes (1 class period)
Unit: III—Progressivism and Reform
Course: 20th Century American History
Grade Level: 9th grade
Objectives: After this lesson, students will be able to:
1. define the term “muckraking”
2. explain the role muckraking had on furthering the Progressive Era and bringing about change
3. analyze the role of the media and identify modern-day examples of muckraking
Key Concepts and Terms: muckraking, progressivism, The Jungle, Meat Inspection Act, Pure Food and Drug Act
Intellectual Problem: How were issues during the Progressive Era brought to the public’s attention?
Activity One: Introducing the term “muckraker”
-What are your initial ideas about the term “muckraker”? What do you predict the term means?
-Define “muckraker” and discuss Teddy Roosevelt quote.
Activity Two: The Jungle
1. Have students read the section to themselves. When they’re done, have them answer the following questions on the bottom of the handout:
-What surprised you about the reading?
-What was your reaction?
2. Then, have the class discuss the following questions:
-What powerful feelings did the writer evoke? How did he do this?
-How might the public react to Sinclair’s book?
Activity Three: “Regulatory Legislation” on the Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food and Drug Act
On the Document Camera, have the class go over the Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food and Drug Act.
-How might Sinclair’s book have helped to push the government into passing the acts?
-How did these laws address the concerns expressed by Sinclair?
-How did Americans see progress as a result of muckraking by Sinclair
Activity Four: Supersize Me
Have students watch the introduction to the documentary Supersize Me. Then, as a class, discuss whether this should be an example of muckraking in today’s society.
Activity Five: Role of media today
What is the role of the media in exposing problems today? How does the media influence us today? (Students will turn this is as an exit slip).
Accommodations: For some students, reading The Jungle will be difficult. Thus, it is important that we pull out key passages from the text and discuss them as a class; this will ensure that all students understand the material.
Assessment: I will informally assess students based on their responses during class discussions. Also, as the students will be turning in a Free-Write response as an exit slip, I will be able to check for student understanding of the concept of muckraking, as well as their application of the concept to a modern-day example.
Technology: For this lesson, I will be using a video clip from the documentary Supersize Me. Also, I will be using the Document Camera to project an outline of the notes about the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act to ensure that students receive the important information.
- The Jungle excerpt
- Outline of the Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food and Drug Act
- Supersize Me clip
> Reflection of the Lesson