Use the Activities
The work performed at Hopewell Furnace was interdependent; each man and woman depended on other workers to make his or her own job possible. Farmers, teamsters, woodcutters, and homemakers were as essential as the ironmaster, the founder, moulders, and guttermen. The following activities are designed to help students illustrate their understanding of this fact.
Activity 1: Working at Hopewell
On the chalkboard draw three large circles, labeling each as furnace, forest, or field. As each group reports its list, write the occupations in the appropriate circles. Ask students how particular workers could be identified as "links" to the other groups (e.g., teamster, collier, clerk). Use arrows to show ties between groups. Ask what would happen if anyone neglected to do his or her assigned work. Ask if one set of jobs is more important than the others. If they cannot decide on an answer to that question, the point of interdependence is clear.
Then ask students to research a local industry or business to find out if workers there are as interdependent as those at Hopewell and explain why or why not. You may be able to have the owner or manager of a local firm speak to the class about the interdependence involved in that business. Many such people are happy to provide students with copies of their managerial flow charts.
Activity 2: Economic History in the Local Community
l. Hopewell is an example of a "company town," that is, a town built by a single company that dominated all aspects of life in the community. Were such communities part of the economic history of your state?
2. Iron-making is considered a "heavy industry," which is defined as an industry producing or refining basic materials used in manufacturing. Are there, or were there, heavy industries in your community or nearby? What happened to them?
3. If your community or the nearby area has never had heavy industry, determine why not. What is the community's economic base today? Is it stable? Ask students to present their findings in a written or oral report.