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Describing the economic and social transition from a rural, agricultural society to a more urban, industrialized society, including the reasons people came to Virginia from other states and countries.



  • In this lesson, students will learn how Virginia changed from a rural, agricultural society to an urban, industrial society and why people came to Virginia.

  • Define rural and urban (include definitions in a previously created vocabulary dictionary).

  • Review concepts from previous sessions about Virginia’s change from an agricultural to an industrial society. Cite specific reasons that old systems of farming were no longer effective and that crop prices were low. Review how Reconstruction was the turning point for Virginia economy.

  • Role play: Pretend the students live in a rural area, and they realize that there are urban areas in Virginia that are growing. Have them offer some reasons why they would want to move to an urban area. Discuss economic opportunities, and list what some might be.

  • Remind students that railroads and highways enabled people to move more easily. Explain that air transportation and streetcars also allowed for industries in cities to grow, because people could get to work easily and products could be shipped within the state and transported outside of the state.

  • Review with students that people moved to Virginia from many other states and nations for jobs, freedom, and the enjoyment of Virginia’s beauty and quality of life.

  • Tell the students that since the end of World War II, Northern Virginia has experienced growth due to increases in the number of federal jobs located in the region.

  • Explain that both Northern Virginia and Tidewater have grown due to computer technology.

  • Have students research twentieth-century Virginia from the following Web sites:
    “Twentieth Century” at http://www.lva.virginia.gov/exhibits/political/twentieth.htm
    “1940 Map of Virginia” at http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/VAGuide/image/vamap.jpg

  • Determine the cause and effect of the changes in Virginia from an agricultural society to an industrial society using information from the following Web site:

  • Draw conclusions and make generalizations about the growth of Virginia cities during the twentieth century using information from the Virginia Historical Society.
    http://www.vahistorical.org/ . . ./explore-story-virginia/1901-present/new-virginia

  • Interpret the events of the growth of Northern Virginia by reading the article posted at the following Web site:

  • "The concentration of technology companies in Northern Virginia was stimulated by the location of the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency there, with their requirements for the most advanced technology," according to this Web site.



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Updated on August 11, 2008.