About This Lesson
This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration file, "Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site" (with photographs), the National Park Serviceís visitorís guide, and primary documents from archives at the site. It was written by Maryann Whitman, a former Park Ranger at Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site. It was edited by Fay Metcalf and the Teaching with Historic Places staff. TwHP is sponsored, in part, by the Cultural Resources Training Initiative and Parks as Classrooms programs of the National Park Service. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into the classrooms across the country.
Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: This lesson could be used in teaching units on the life and culture of colonial America, archeology, settlements and use of the land, or the history of technology.
Time period: Colonial/Revolutionary
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12
Objectives for students
1) To describe what is known about life and work at the Saugus Iron Works in the 17th century.
2) To determine the relationship between natural resources and the location and development of the ironworks.
3) To explain the role of the Saugus Iron Works in the start of the American iron industry.
4) To define the role archeology can play in helping us interpret the past.
5) To compare the industrial activity of the Saugus Iron Works with industry established in the early years of their own community.
Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger, high-quality version.
1) two maps of Saugus, Massachusetts, and the surrounding area;
2) two readings about ironmaking and the people who worked in the industry;
3) one illustration, one chart, and one drawing of the area, the materials and techniques for making iron, and the site;
4) three photos of excavation work at Saugus, an artifact, and reconstructed buildings.
Visiting the site
Located 10 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts, Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site is administered by the National Park Service. It may be reached from either Route 1 or Interstate 95. The park is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April through October and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. the rest of the year. It is closed January 1, Thanksgiving Day, and December 25. For more information, write to the Superintendent, Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site, 244 Central Street, Saugus, MA 01906, or
visit the park's Web page.