Use the Activities
Activity 1: The Roles of Geography and Promotion
Begin by having students create two lists from the materials they covered in the lesson. The first should describe the natural features that would make Chattanooga a good place for businesses to locate. The second should include those man-made factors that offer other benefits. Then have each student write a paragraph on whether man or nature was more important in the citys growth. Have them discuss their answers. The following questions can be used to facilitate the discussion: Would the man-made advantages alone have been able to attract business? Should active promotion to attract business be included in the man-made advantages? Would the natural advantages still appeal to businesses today? Do towns and cities still actively encourage businesses to settle there today? If so, what incentives do they provide?
Activity 2: Literature, Art, and Music
Continue by having students find other places in popular culture where railroads appear. Have them develop lists of books, songs, poems, movies, and artworks that are about trains. Why were--and are--trains such popular subjects?
Activity 3: Researching Your Communitys
Then have students examine the long-term effects of the railroad by completing the following exercises: What railroad-related buildings, structures, place names, or features still exist in your community? Photograph and identify them. Look for old photographs of buildings that have been demolished. Interview people employed by the railroad or by businesses that depend on the railroad. Ask them questions about their work and the significance of the railroad to the community and to their lives. Discuss the current impact, or reasons for lack of impact, of the railroad on your community.
Finish the activity by asking students to consider what the main transportation routes in their community are today. Are shopping areas of their town related to these routes? Are those connections similar to the ones with the railroad? Have students ask local business owners how important transportation is to their business, and how it is provided. See if they can determine whether the availability of transportation affected decisions about where to locate or relocate local businesses.