Sunday, September 28, 2014

MOSI Google Hangout- Being Taught By A Curator in England From Our Classroom in America

Before the MOSI Google Hangout, we did some preparation in class to get ready for the chat. We first looked on the MOSI Textile Galleries website ( We read the brief summary on the Textile Galleries and read the three attached articles on Richard Arkwright, Manchester Textile Designers, and Paterson Zochonis. We took notes on new things that we learned from these readings, and we shared them with our classmates. This was just a brief introduction on the background of the gallery. Then, we watched a video that Jamie, our tour guide at the MOSI Textile Gallery in Manchester, sent us. He quickly went through the machines that we would be seeing in the chat, and he wrote the names of the machines and some of the materials in the video. We wrote down these vocabulary words from the video, and we worked in groups to define these terms. The words were: hopper feeder scutcher, carding engine, draw frame, sliver, speed frame, slubbing, roving, and power loom. We found these definitions using our media literacy skills that I discussed in an earlier blog post. We had to search for these terms using additional keywords in the search because some of the terms had other definitions that had nothing to do with the textile industry. So for example, we would search for the term and add “textile industry” at the end so that the definition would be related to textiles. We became familiar with these terms so that when Jamie said them during the chat, we would already know what he was referring to, and we would understand what he was talking about. Lastly, we prepared questions to ask Jamie under 4 categories: the textile process, the evolution of textile technology, the positive and negative impacts of the Industrial Revolution, and being a historian/curator. Any questions that we had from these categories, we wrote down to ask Jamie during the chat.

During the chat, Jamie talked a lot about the difference between the cotton industry and the new technology in the Industrial Revolution. Before industrialization, the cotton industry was completely family based. Each family worked together to make cloth. Most families had a large attic where they put their sewing frames. They put them in the attic because it usually provided the most light for working. The frame was powered by hand and was a very physical job done by the men or older boys of the house. This process was considered only a man’s job. However, to spin the cotton into thread was the women and children’s job. Women and children used a spinning wheel. They would prepare the cotton for the spinning wheels using brushes to detangle and extract the long fibers. They would then spin it on the spinning wheel using pedals. The whole family was involved in making cloth during the cotton industry. However, then the Arkwright water frame was invented for spinning thread. It spun four threads at once which meant that the water frame was 4 times more effective than the spinning wheel. The threads also came out thinner. Next, the carding engine was invented which was powered by water. The carding engine cleaned the raw cotton, and it disentangled it by brushing through it and catching the long fibers. Any fibers that were too short were not used in textiles but were still used for other lower quality products, and any dirty cotton was considered “trash” but were used for mattresses. Many other machines were invented, and with all the new inventions that helped with each step of the cotton process, the machines became too big to keep in homes, and factories were made to help mass produce cotton products. Typically, each factory would specialize in only one step of the process, so cotton was sent to many different factories to accomplish each step. This is why Jamie had a hard time answering the question of how long it takes for cotton to go through the whole process because it took many days for cotton to travel between all the different factories. So the production of cloth was no longer a family’s job; it was done at the factories. However, with these new, more effective machines in the factories, there came many negative impacts. Families sent their kids to these factories for cheap wages because they needed money, and there were horrible conditions in the factories. The factories were more concerned about their profit than the well-being of the workers. There were many accidents in the factories that killed many workers. One example that Jamie talked a lot about was the spinning mule.

The Spinning Mule

This machine had many rows of threads being spun at the same time, and the machine went back and forth quickly four times per minute. If you zoom in to the bottom right corner of the picture, you can see a boy cleaning under the threads of the machine.
Orphan cleaning under the spinning mule
The boy’s job was to clean the dirt, dust, and oil under the machine. The factory would usually have an orphan do this job because an orphan was very cheap since there was no one to care for him. This job was extremely dangerous because the orphan had to get out of the way of the machine when it went back and forth. If they didn’t get out of the way in time, they were cut in half. Many orphans were killed doing this job. There were many other factory accidents just like this because the machines were very dangerous. Another negative impact of industrialization was illness. Disease was very easily spread in the factories because the workers shared machines and lived very close to one another. A specific disease-spreading aspect of the machines that Jamie talked about was the shuttles on spinning machines. To work the spinning machines, women had to change the shuttles.
Jamie holding a shuttle
In a shuttle, the spool of thread went in the middle, and the end of the spool had to be thread through the hole in the shuttle. To thread this through, women put their mouths on the shuttles and sucked the thread through the hole. After one woman’s shift, another woman would take over her machine and put her mouth on the same part that the first woman did. This spread disease easily. Also, the oils from the thread would fill up in women’s lungs and they would eventually get cancer from it. The dust from the cotton would also settle in workers’ lungs over time in the factories causing breathing problems later in life. Jamie said that there were much worse conditions in the factories than during the cotton industry even though there was a much faster and larger production rate in the factories.

                I think that this chat was a great way to have us learn about the textile industry. This was a very memorable event, and a few months from now I will remember this unique opportunity and the information about the factories much more than I would have remembered it if we had learned about it by just copying notes or being lectured. This different and interesting experience of being able to chat with Jamie is going to stick in our minds, and with it the information is going to stick as well. I also thought it was really neat to learn from an outside expert in another continent. We were seeing machines and conversing with a tour guide from a museum in England while sitting in our classroom in the United States. I liked that we could ask Jamie questions and converse with him as if he was standing in our classroom, as opposed to just watching a video of him talking. This experience got us engaged in the information, and I would definitely want to do this with other experts on different topics throughout the year.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Becoming A Curator- Anazlyze, Organize, and Teach!

The job of a museum curator is to become an expert on a specific topic, and display it so that your visitors learn as much information from it as possible. In my museum curator group, our topic that we analyzed and researched was the negative effects or consequences of the Industrial Revolution. To make our exhibit, we had to go through an analytical process with the documents and information provided to become an expert on our sources. At first, our group was given 6 documents (primary sources), and we had to figure out what our topic was about based on the documents. We had many written documents and pictures describing the problems that the Industrial Revolution caused even though it made so much progress; two of the main problems being poverty and pollution. I liked having to find out what our topic was ourselves because it forced us to try to connect each source with one another so that we could compare the similarities and differences. Then, we filled in a chart for each source analyzing what motivated the author to create the source and what we want people to learn about this source from our exhibit. I thought that this step in the analytical process was a key transitional step because this chart helped to pin-point exactly what we wanted to talk about in your exhibit so that our visitors learned the most important information. From here, each person in our group wrote a placard for a document. The placards explained the sources and told the visitor the key information about them. I thought that it was an easy transition from the chart to the placards because we had already pin-pointed what we wanted to say in our placards in the chart. Lastly, we put all of the sources and placards together into one exhibit. Because one of the main problems in our sources was pollution from factories, we had the idea to organize our exhibit so that it was a factory with the sources as the windows, and the title in the black smoke cloud coming out of the chimney. I think this analytical process is important because it allows you to become very familiar with the sources and it forces you to teach others what you have learned. People always say that you really understand information if you can teach it to other people, so this project allowed us to show our understanding through teaching.

In our exhibit, our sources showed the pollution and poverty that came out of industrialization. Our first source was a map of industry in 19th century England. The significance of this document was to show all of the major technological progress that man-kind made during the Industrial Revolution including advancements with coal and iron. However, with this progress there is a price to pay, and our next source is a picture of 19th-century Manchester, England which depicts the pollution in England. This source goes with the letter by Michael Faraday on his “Observations on the Filth of the Thames”. In this letter, Faraday describes how despicable and grotesque the Thames River is because of the factories. He says “The whole of the river was an opaque pale brown fluid” which is a very vivid description. The picture of Manchester shows this filth that Faraday discusses and shows the factories right next to the river. It is a very clear depiction of the pollution. The next source is a table of data on the Standard of Living debate in England. This table shows the average earnings of a person during industrialization, and the average price of living during that time. The table clearly shows that the price of living is always significantly higher than how much people earned. This means that no matter how hard a person worked during their life, they were permanently stuck in poverty. This information is shown in the next source which is a picture of a Victorian Slum. This picture shows many families and children living on the street in filth and poverty. They were not making enough to keep up with the price of living, and they didn’t have enough money to live in better conditions. Our last source was a two-column chart on the "Differing Views of Industrialization" which showed the pros and cons of the Industrial Revolution. Andrew Ure believes that industrialization is an amazing technological advancement for man-kind and the progress made is wonderful. However, Alexis de Tocqueville believes that it has produced horrible pollution and poverty, and now because of the factories, “a sort of black smoke covers the city”. This chart allows you to see both perspectives. Mrs. Gallagher helped us to title our exhibit, and I think that “Progress with a Price” is a perfect title to describe our documents. From our exhibit, I want visitors to learn that although there was lots of great progress made during the Industrial Revolution, there were some harsh consequences, specifically pollution and poverty, which is what our title implies. I want visitors to learn that the air and water became terribly polluted because of the smoke from the factories and machinery. Many people were angered by how disgusting the pollution made the environment, and from our sources we can see why they would be. Also, the cost of living was a lot higher than how much people made during the 19th century, so people were stuck in poverty because they could never make enough money to get out of it. They lived in poor, dirty slums as shown in the picture, and this poverty was depressing. However, many still believed that the amount of progress being made for man-kind during the Industrial Revolution was astounding.

Other groups’ exhibits:
Child Labor:
I learned how children started working at disturbingly young ages; most by the age of 10, and they were treated brutally. I think this group's presentation was very impressive, and it truly captured the depressing, dirty mood of child labor.
From this exhibit, I learned that if it wasn't for hard labor of slaves, there would be no mass production and huge profit from cotton during the Industrial Revolution. I thought this picture was an important part of their poster because it shows how the main source of all the "profit and glory" during industrialization came from the misery and harsh labor of the slaves.
I learned that the steam engine was used by heating water which turned into steam, and then the steam turned the wheel which created power. I also liked this passage and specifically the quote about how transportation "brought the country nearer to the town and the town nearer to the country" because it shows how influential it was in bringing people and products together.
I learned that before the Industrial Revolution, sewing was a family process and anyone in the family could help as shown in the picture below. However, once faster and more efficient machines were invented, many families had to move to where they were located, and only the father worked in the factories so they had to rely on only one income.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Materials, Machines, and More Food Make for Major Advances in the World

Our first unit in our history class this year is on the Industrial Revolution. For this unit, we worked in groups to try to figure out an answer to the essential question for this unit; what was ‘revolutionary’ about industrialization? Each group researched one of the 4 topics in the unit: people, technology, resources, or transportation. Once we were done our research, we used the application Evernote to record and present our information to the class. I am only going to mainly talk about three of these topics in my blog, but there are many reasons why industrialization was so important.  

                During the industrial Revolution, people learned how to use more of the raw resources around them to their advantage. Four major resources that contributed to the progress made by industrialization are coal, iron, cotton, and capital. These resources also tie into the topic of technology because people were able to make and use technology from these resources. Coal is one of the most important resources because people were able to use it for fuel. Coal became the main power source of the Industrial Revolution. It was mainly used to power steam engines. Steam engines were very important to industrialization because they were the first machines to harness electrical energy, and they were fueled by burning coal. The steam engine was invented by Thomas Newcomen, and it was improved on by James Watt. Steam engines were used to power the first factories, boats, trains, and many other machines that are an essential part of daily life today. Coal was also used to make another important resource, iron. Iron was very often used in constructing and manufacturing machinery, such as steam engines. The Darby family found a new way to produce iron using coal. The coal could be used to smelt the iron, however the coal produced some impurities in the iron that damaged it. The Darby family then found an improved way of making iron without the impurities, which led to the production of less expensive and better quality iron. This iron was used to manufacture many machines, but it was especially used to make railroads. Cotton was another important resource for industrialization. Before the Industrial Revolution, the putting out system was used to make cloth. Raw cotton was given to many local peasant families to be spun into thread and then into cloth. It was then given to artisans who would finish and dye it. However, this system had a very slow production rate, and it wasn’t efficient. Technology was able to help this problem. The flying shuttle, spinning Jenny, and water frame were all invented to speed up the production of cloth, each improving on the last.

Lastly, capital was an important resource to the Industrial Revolution. Capital is wealth invested in enterprises, and during industrialization, many people were willing to invest their money in new businesses and inventions such as shipping, mines, railroads, and factories. This encouraged skilled merchants to keep inventing and improving on technology to advance mankind.

People’s improved farming methods also played a huge part in the Industrial Revolution. Farmers combined smaller fields into bigger ones to make better use of the land. They also used fertilizer to help the soil, and these improvements led to more efficient farming and more crops. A movement called enclosure also helped to improve farming. Rich landowners took over peasant’s land which made for larger pastures for more sheep, which led to the production of more wool. The former peasant farmers no longer had work to do on the farms, so many of them moved to cities and worked in factories. Some of these former farmers also became merchants and started inventing new technologies. Without having to only focus on farming and having enough food to survive, more people could think about how to improve the world. All of these improvements in farming also led to declining death rates. There was more food which meant less famine, and less people worked in the fields doing the extraneous hard labor. Also, people were able to eat healthier which prolonged their life. It was especially important that women ate healthier because it made their babies healthier. With the major decline in death rates, there was a rapid growth of population which meant there were more people to do jobs other than farming to help advance mankind. While I did not talk about transportation in my blog, the steam boats and locomotives that were invented that allowed for the transportation of goods and people were no less important than resources, technology, and people. The Industrial Revolution was an extremely important event in history because the major and revolutionary technological advances that were made during this time are the basis of almost everything that we use every day in the modern world.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Researching How to Research

              The past two days in history we have been doing activities to help teach us how to use online resources responsibly, and to make sure that they are accurate, authentic, and reliable. These researching skills will help us find correct and precise information online when we need to research certain topics for an assignment. In this blog, I will share with you what I have learned from these activities.

                The first activity we did was an online activity through Google. It is called Google A Day ( In this activity, Google gives you a random question each day that you have to answer using the search bar that Google A Day provides for you. The questions are often very confusing because they are about something that you have never heard of before and they seem to make no sense. Also, there are sometimes many layers to the question, so you have to research other topics before you can look for the answer to the question. At first, Google A Day is frustrating because the question seems to be random and makes no sense. But, as you start researching the question, you start to learn more about the topic and feel more confident about the question. Then, it is fun to try to sift through the many different websites that come up to try to find the specific answer. It was especially fun in class because we had a competition of who could find the answers the fastest. From this activity, I learned that you can’t always get all your information from the first site that comes up in your Google search; you have to go to multiple sites until you find and have double-checked your answer. Also, some questions have multiple layers, and you need to become familiar with more than one topic to answer the question.
              To make sure an online resource is trustworthy and is giving you correct information, it has to have 3 qualities; it has to be accurate, authentic, and reliable. We defined each of these qualities in class so that we could look for them in the websites that we searched. Accuracy is giving correct and precise information. Authenticity is being original and accomplishing what the website says it will. Reliability is being able to be trusted and depended on for good information. If a website has all of these qualities, it should be a good online resource. We looked at one website in particular on the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus ( At first glance, this website looks very professional and sincere about wanting to save the endangered Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus. It provides lots of information on the octopus, and it even shows pictures and sightings of it as shown below.

Zapato, Lyle. Rare photo of the elusive tree octopus. (9/7/2014).
I believed the website at first, and I was interested in this tree octopus. However, when you start really looking into this website, it becomes clear that there is actually no such thing as a Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus. The pictures look very fake, and it looks like they photo-shopped octopuses onto trees. Also, the author, Lyle Zapato, is very suspicious. His name is linked to a very small biography of him that includes many crimes that he has committed, and the only picture of him is a drawing. Also, if you research the website or look up other information on the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus, it comes up with many sites saying that the tree octopus is not real and that the website is a hoax. This website really taught me that you have to be very careful about what information you trust online because I completely believed that there was a Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus at first from looking at this website. You have to make sure that you know where your information is coming from and that it is correct and trustworthy. Although this website was authentic (it was original), it was not accurate or reliable, and it was definitely not a good online resource.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Interactive, Interested, and Invested= The Key to a Great Teacher

Hello Readers!

To introduce myself, I am a high school student posting blog posts for my history class. I am not a professional historian, however I will be doing lots of research to make my blogs as accurate as possible! I hope that you enjoy my blog and find it interesting! My first blog is about what makes a teacher a great teacher, and why education is important.

I think that what makes a teacher great is when they are able to have a strong, fun, and interactive relationship with their students. With 6 classes a day, and lots of sitting in classrooms with information being thrown at you, it is not possible for students to retain every detail of information. Also, students can get bored easily and they might stop listening to a long lecture of information. I think that the best way to get students to maintain information is not by long lectures and notes; it is by doing interactive activities. For example, playing games, using online study tools, or even having us get up and walk around the room to different stations helps keep us interested in the lesson. We remember the information better and longer if it is given as an activity rather than a lecture. A great teacher also loves what they do, and is truly invested in their teaching. If a teacher is enthusiastic and enjoys their subject and their class, then their attitude rubs off on their students, and their students are inspired to love that subject too. Lastly, I think a great teacher strives to have a strong relationship with their students so that their students feel comfortable to ask questions and engage themselves during class. With this relationship, the teacher can also help motivate their students. My favorite teacher had all of these qualities, and I learned more in his class than I have in any other class. He was fun and interactive, yet stayed focused and taught us a lot. And, he had an overall love for math. I think that Mrs. Gallagher has already showed us that she is very invested in her teaching, and something that I also find helps support me is knowing that I can approach my teacher with any questions that I may have.

                With a great teacher also comes a great education. John Green posted a YouTube video recently on his thoughts about education and why it is so important. I really liked this video and I completely agree with it. He presented a timeline that showed up to 10,000 years ago, and he highlighted when primary education became mandatory, as shown below. It is only a very small percentage of this timeline that formal education has been available to everyone. It is crazy to think that for a huge part of human history there was no education for most people. It makes me feel thankful that I have an opportunity to get such a great education so that I can keep growing and gaining more knowledge.

Picture from John Green's YouTube video:
John Green also says that he believes in and pays for public education because he wants the people around him in the world to have lots of knowledge. After students get their education, they go on to use that knowledge to improve the world. They can make new medicines, new technologies, new cars, or do anything else, big or small, that helps to advance the world. I want to use this message as a motivation to use my education that I am so lucky to have to do great things, and so can my peers. Humankind has made so many amazing advances in all different subjects since formal education became mandatory, and it is very important. Below I have attached the video on education by John Green:

                 My academic goals for this year are to continue to work hard and persevere through all my work, and to manage my time wisely. I will achieve these goals through staying organized and on task while I am working. Outside of school, I am a dancer, and my goal for dance is to grow as an artist when I dance by connecting emotionally with my music. I hope that I have a great school year this year, and I will put my best effort into my education!