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Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site
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Iron Made Here! How Much? Why?
by Janet McKeone
How do you build a nation that fosters unlimited
economic opportunities for newcomers?
What was the importance of iron production at the Saugus Iron Works in the
17th Century? Why did colonists value iron?
Massachusetts History Framework Standard
On a map of North America, identify the first 13 colonies and describe how regional differences in climate, types of farming, populations, and sources of labor shaped their economies and societies through the 18th century.
We know that the colonists valued iron and iron products. The establishment of the Saugus Iron Works provided opportunities for immigrants as they settled in the area that today is known as Saugus and Lynn in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Your groups will search through several letters from the John Winthrop Papers, which are primary source documents and the secondary source entitled
Saugus Iron Works, 1647, The First Successful Iron Works in America
to find information that will determine the amount of iron produced at the Saugus Iron Works.
In your groups you will solve the mystery of how much iron and iron products could have been produced in this iron works. You must be able to support your calculations. Utilizing the knowledge that you have gained in the Introduction and Colonial Life sections of the Saugus Iron Works PBU, analyze why the colonists valued the production of iron in New England and how it impacted their lives.
Your group will create a concept map to support your findings.
Was the iron works profitable for those living in the Lynn Saugus area? How was the iron works able to help sustain the life of the colonists in this area?
Documents to be used are:
The John Winthrop Papers from the Massachusetts Historical Society [14 (6) 48] and [30 (7) 48] and transcriptions.
14 (6) 48 Example of Winthrop B/W print from microfilm
Winthrop Papers September 30,1648
14 (6) 48 Winthrop Papers transcription
30 (7) 48 Example of Winthrop Papers B/W print, microfilm
Winthrop Papers August 14, 1648
30 (7) 48 Winthrop Papers transcription
Saugus Iron Works, 1647, The First Successful Iron works in America written by Walter C. Woodman, 1975.
Article - Saugus Iron Works 1647
Requested permission from ASME to use selected passages on the web. (
First you will be assigned to a four person team
Second you will determine the role that you will fill. (Facilitator, reader, recorder, presenter)
Next, utilizing the primary and secondary source documents as well as the
Sections of the Saugus Iron Works PBU determine the amount of iron that could have been produced weekly at the iron works. If the iron works operated forty weeks of the year estimate the amount of iron that could have been produced annually at the Saugus Iron Works.
Then use sites in the Introduction and Colonial Life sections of the Saugus Iron Works PBU, to determine how the colonists used iron and why its production here in New England was so important economically.
Create a concept map using Inspiration to present your findings. (Include how much iron was produced weekly and annually, what the iron was used for, and why was it important to produce iron on this side of the Atlantic Ocean).
As a team create a concept map which will explain to your audience what discoveries you have made while investigating these sources. Be certain to include in the concept map how much iron could have been produced both weekly and annually. Include calculations and reasons that support your calculations. Secondly, include the ways that the colonists would have used iron products in their daily lives. Lastly pull all of this information together and determine why it was so important to produce iron in the New World rather than to wait for goods from England and how immigrants were critical to the process. Keep your concept map organized and use it to inform others of what you have learned.
The original Jan 2006,
SIW Content Evaluation Rubric
will not be modified.
Additional rubric criteria added as part of this lesson.
Students Will Be ABLE TO...
use the primary source document to calculate the amount of iron produced annually at the Saugus Iron Works.
Students are unable to calculate the amount of iron produced annually at the Saugus Iron Works.
Students demonstrate the knowledge of how to calculate the amount of iron produced annually at the Saugus Iron Works, but have computation errors.
Students are able to accurately calculate the annual production of iron at the Saugus Iron Works and can provide general information to support their findings.
Students accurately calculate the amount of iron produced annually at the Saugus Iron Works. They provide further evidence to clearly support their findings.
understand how the production of iron in New England impacted the lives of the colonists.
Students can not demonstrate an understanding of how iron production in New England impacted the lives of the colonists.
Students demonstrate a limited understanding of how iron production in New England impacted the lives of the colonists.
Students can demonstrate an understanding of the impact that iron production in New England had on the colonists. They are able to support their claims with general information.
Students demonstrate a logical understanding of the impact that iron production in New England had on the colonists and are able to support their understanding with rich details.
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