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VS.8c
Describing the importance of railroads, new industries, and the growth of cities to Virginia's economic development.

READY RESOURCES

SUGGESTED INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES

  • In this lesson, students will learn how after the Civil War, industry and technology, transportation, and cities began to grow and contribute to Virginia’s economy.

  • Explain that Virginia began to grow in many areas after the Civil War and Reconstruction. As more people traveled, Virginia’s cities grew to hold more people, businesses, and factories. The need for more and better roads increased.

  • Explain that railroads were a key to the expansion of business, agriculture, and industry. Rail transportation facilitated the growth of small towns to cities. Railroad centers attracted the building of factories where clothing, furniture, and other useful items were made. Roanoke became a railroad center. Richmond, Norfolk, and Newport were bustling with activity as the railroad brought new jobs and people to the areas. Petersburg, Alexandria, and Lynchburg also grew rapidly.

  • Play an “I’m thinking” game, and ask students if they have heard the story The Little Engine That Could. Discuss and summarize the story. Ask students how the train was able to move from one place to another, leading them to understand that railroad tracks were put down for that purpose. Tell them that railroads, from the time of the Civil War, had become another mode of transportation in the north and south.

  • Give students a Virginia map and have them locate small towns and cities that grew because of the railroads – Roanoke, Richmond, Norfolk, Newport News, Petersburg, Alexandria, and Lynchburg. Point out that Roanoke became a railroad center, and that Richmond, Norfolk, and Newport News grew because the railroads brought new jobs and people to those areas. Explain that railroads stimulated the growth of factories where clothing, furniture, and other useful items were made.

  • Use the following Web sites as a student resource:
    “Railroads of Virginia” at http://www.virginiaplaces.org/rail
    “Map of Virginia Railroads” at http://www.trainweb.org/varail/vamap.html

  • Explain that Virginia began to change from an agricultural society to an industrial society.

  • Refer back to a Virginia map, and locate Tazewell County. Tell students that a natural resource was discovered after the Civil War that became a source of income for residents of Southwest Virginia. Explain this resource was coal. If possible, provide students with a sample of coal and discuss how it is used. Draw coal on the map in this region.

  • Create a flow chart showing how the growth of the railroads in Virginia were a key to the expansion of business, agriculture, and industry using background information provided at the following Web site:
    http://www.virginiaplaces.org/rail/index.html

  • Illustrate on a map of Virginia the following cities (Roanoke, Richmond, Norfolk, Newport News, Petersburg, Alexandria, and Lynchburg) and show how they were connected by the railroad system.

  • Learn about coal as a valuable natural resource in Virginia and how transportation patterns in Tazewell County were developed at the following Web site:
    http://www.virginiaplaces.org/transportation/coaltransport.html

TEACHER BACKGROUND RESOURCES

WEB SITES





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Updated on August 11, 2008.