Educator Resources - Jacob A. Riis: How the Other Half Lives NEH Traveling Exhibit

A teddy bear, magic lantern slide, dice, spool of thread, and other items are displayed on top of a canvas bag.
The traveling bag outreach kit lesson plans focus on three themes:  Children of the Poor at Work, Children of the Poor at Play, Media for Social Change.

NPS Photo

Traveling Bag Outreach Kit

If you teach in the CCISD, contact them directly about checking out the Traveling Bag Outreach Kit. There are three kits available.

If you would like to download the pre- and post-visit lesson plans, please email Katie Keller, Education Technician at Due to the large size of these files, they will be sent through a secure format to download.

The Traveling Bag Outreach Kit was developed by the Mid-America Arts Alliance to be a companion education piece to the exhibition. Lesson plans focus on three themes: Media for Social Change, Children of the Poor at Work, and Children of the Poor at Play. Items included in the kit are: a vintage spool of thread, wooden clothespins, clothesline, shoeshine brush, ragpicker's sack, images of miner's headlamp and oyster shucker's knife, teddy bear, magic lantern slide, dice, and a copy of How the Other Half Lives.

Jacob Riis & the Copper Country Lesson Plans

Over the summer of 2019, area teachers created lesson plans to be used in conjunction with the Jacob A. Riis: How the Other Half Lives NEH Traveling Exhibit. All lesson plans are in Microsoft Word format. Even though lesson plans were designed with certain ages and standards in mind, all can be adapted for varying needs. Michigan Social Studies Standards and Common Core English and Language Arts Standards are used. If you have questions, please contact Katie Keller, Education Technician at or (906) 483-3175.
Title Target Grade Description
Primary and Secondary Sources Elementary Students will perform a variety of activities examining the differences between primary and secondary sources.
Is there a modern day Jacob Riis? Middle School Students will compare Jacob Riis's star power for using media to influence social change with present-day celebrities.
Exploring the Concept of Power Through the Photography of Jacob Riis High School Students will examine the nature of power and powerlessness through the context of Jacob Riis's work.
Investigating the Photos of Jacob Riis AND Immigrant Survival and Integration High School Students will use the photographs of Jacob Riis to explore the struggles of immigrants during the Industrial Revolution in New York City.

Students will use a variety of primary sources from the Copper Country to explore how immigrants survived and integated into their new home in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Coming to America: Social Change in America During the Gilded Age High School Students will explore the immigrant experience by investigating problems created by industrialization, urbanization, and immigration.

Last updated: October 20, 2019

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