Teaching About the Gilded Age

Gilded Age teaching resources and reflections.

Teaching About the Gilded Age
Photo by Christopher Czermak / Unsplash

This post may contain an affiliate link. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. All affliiate links are marked with an asterisk (*). 


In social studies we just kicked off a short unit that focuses on the Gilded Age. This is the time period between the Civil War and the turn of the twentieth century. America became more prosperous and saw enormous growth in technology and industry. Greed, corrupt industrialists, bankers and politicians became very wealthy at the expense of the working class. It was a time of invention and growth each coming with their own benefits and consequences.

In the past we jumped from our study of the Civil War into the lead up of World War I. This time we wanted to build a bridge to get there. We’ve put together a jigsaw activity where students are going to read articles about the following topics: Rise of the Millionaires, Labor and Populism and Progressive Reforms. From there they will create a short presentation for the group that teaches the most important ideas and information from their respective articles. I’m really looking forward to it.

We chose to kick off our work by watching an episode of “The Story of Us”. It really kept the students’ attention and piqued their curiosity. You can check out the video below.

Here are few of my thoughts after reading some of the articles and planning this mini unit.

  1. Teachers definitely have influence by what they choose to teach or not. This is why quality standards are important. The social studies standards in Wisconsin are pretty vague.
  2. History repeats itself. There are lessons learned from life in the Gilded Age that most definitely could be applied today. As a citizen I want voters to know their history so they may make educated decisions as to how the country should move forward.
  3. Learning history matters. Solid resources are needed.

Here are a few recommended resources that connect to this post:

  1. History - Gilded Age
  2. Digital History - Gilded Age
  3. Farming in the Gilded Age

Thanks for reading. If you haven't subscribe yet - join us!