Lesson Plan

Problems and Perspectives (Grades 9-12) Carl Sandburg Home NHS

image of clear ball sitting on a post reflecting distorted images
Grade Level:
High School: Ninth Grade through Twelfth Grade
Literacy and Language Arts,Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
60 Minutes
Thinking Skills:
Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words. Applying: Apply an abstract idea in a concrete situation to solve a problem or relate it to a prior experience. Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts. Creating: Bring together parts (elements, compounds) of knowledge to form a whole and build relationships for NEW situations. Evaluating: Make informed judgements about the value of ideas or materials. Use standards and criteria to support opinions and views.

Essential Question

Why is it important to look at problems from different perspectives?


• Students will analyze historic photos
• Students will research, prepare and present various points of view regarding child labor in the early 1900’s.


Carl Sandburg was the son of a Swedish American immigrant family. After completing the eighth grade, he went to work holding a variety of jobs: delivering milk, shining shoes, laying bricks, and more. In 1897 he rode the rail traveling as a hobo, meeting folks from all over the country--a journey which fostered the man whom he was about to become. His experiences greatly influenced his writing and political views. Sandburg lived during a time of great change in our country. He witnessed child labor, the labor rights movement, the Chicago race riots, segregation, women’s suffrage movement, the Great Depression, World War I and II, and more. In the early 1900’s Sandburg was an active member of the Social Democratic Party (as was Lilian Steichen, whom he married in 1908). Through his political activism and his writing, Sandburg spoke for those who had no words or power to speak for themselves, which is why he was and still is known today as “The Poet of the People.”


Upload "Problems and Perspectives" powerpoint to Google Slides to push out to students virtually, or use in the classroom. 


Download Problems and Perspectives Grades 9-12


Share the “Problems and Perspectives” PowerPoint with your students. Assign students to one point of view to analyze and report back on to the class. They need to use the photographs and information to present the perspective of a particular stakeholder in the issue of child labor. 

Activating Strategy
1910: You live in a small town in North Carolina. There is a large cotton mill in your town where many people are employed, including many young children. There will be a town meeting in your community to discuss the question: “Should children be working in the mill rather than attending school?”

Teaching Strategy
Divide students into 6 equal groups. Assign each group one of the following roles: Children, Parents, Employers, Mayor, Social Reformers, and Journalists. Invite students to view power point with historic images which reflect their “role”   

  • Have students analyze the photos using the photograph analysis worksheet. These photos will aid them in developing their point of view.
  • Have each group research, prepare and present their point of view (in character if desired) regarding child labor.
  • Create a simulation of a town / zoom meeting in which each group presents their point of view.
*Extension: Students create scenario identifying modern problem, identify stakeholders and set up similar problem-solving discussion (application).

Summarizing Strategy
Headline Summaries, have students write a newspaper headline and short article that gives the main points of the Town Meeting


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Last updated: August 10, 2020