Sunday, September 28, 2014

Chatting About Depressing Things

In class on Tuesday, my class had a live chat with Jamie, a worker from the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester, England. Before the Google Hangout, there was preparation involved in getting ready for the live chat.

Preparing for the Chat

In class last Friday, we were told about the live chat. We found out that Jamie would be our tour guide and we would be talking to him during the Google Hangout. First, we went onto the Textile Galleries on the museum's official website. The webpage had PDF files on the side that we clicked on to learn more about some influential textile designers and creators. An interesting fact about Richard Arkwright, the creator of the Water Frame, was that he was more of an improver on other people's ideas than an inventor. I found this surprising because I thought he was the type of person who was more like a leader and created his own machines more often. We then watched a special video Jamie made for us, explaining some terminology and machines around the museum. Our job after the video was to use our Google search skills to see what each machine did and what each word meant that he mentioned in the video. I learned about the hopper feeder scutcher, which is used to break up cotton bales into loose clumps of fiber that can be processed further. Also, the draw frame, which is a machine for combining and drawing slivers of the textile fiber. (A sliver is a continuous strand of loose cotton ready for drawing and twisting). We then prepared possible questions to ask Jamie for the chat. Some questions my group came up with were; 'has anyone gotten hurt in the museum?' as well as 'how have textile machines changed since the Industrial Revolution?'. That was the end of class on Friday, and the chat was coming up on Tuesday.

The Chat

On Tuesday, we got into class and prepared to take notes on the chat. Throughout the chat with Jamie, I learned a lot of things about working on the mills in England. A big idea that was discussed was the health/well-being of the workers. It was very clear that the mill owners had no concern for their workers' health. Profit was much more important than the well-being of the workers. Many people got arthritis from working so much. The bathroom conditions were disgusting - one bathroom for over 100 people. Illness was very common, clearly. It was spread very quickly, because someone would put their mouth on a tool and pass it onto someone else. Another huge aspect was breathing in cotton fibers. The dust would get into many peoples' lungs since certain parts of the mills were filled with dust. Getting hurt was also very common. Workers got hurt in the rollers, shins could get hurt and hair could get caught. The carriage could run into them, also. It was a very dangerous place to work in general. A lot of women went deaf from hearing looms running all day, and many had no front teeth from the shuttle hitting their front teeth. Another thing I learned is that every member of the family was apart of the process. The children would 'comb' the thread, the mother would usually spin the thread on the spinning wheel with a pedal. Eventually, weaving began to be a woman's job. There were both positive and negative impacts of industrialization on families. A positive thing was that money was being made to help pay mortgage. However, the negative impacts overlook that in my opinion. The pollution was awful from all the factories, making it more dangerous to breathe in fumes near a factory. The environment in general was dirtier. Also, the life expectancy was very low due to living and working conditions. This means many families fell apart because of their parents dying at a young age. The mills would then buy orphans, because there were so many due to life expectancy, and hired them as slaves and acted as apprentices to them so they could work there once they were able to. In general, life was depressing for workers in many ways.
The "Throstle Frame" - many workers got hurt working with it.


I thought the Google Hangout was a good idea. I learned a lot from Jamie, the explainer. I think it was easier for me to understand things with an expert on this information talking about it. I liked how he is a historian in a real museum and was able to answer our questions and show us real machinery close up. The only thing I disliked was the quality of the chat, and I usually could only understand every other word he was saying. Also, I could not see the details of the machines he was explaining. That isn't anyone's fault, and was predictable since he was in another country. I think we should do this again with experts throughout the year, and I think other people would also like to. 

An image of an orphan that the mill took in. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Beginner's Guide: Creating a Museum Exhibit

My group's exhibit.


The curating process was filled with a lot of work and preparation for our museum exhibit. The analysis process was important when creating this exhibit. It was important to figure out what our main theme of our poster was going to be. In the process, we took a look at all the sources we were given. For each source, we wrote down what motivated the author/creator to produce the source and what a visitor should learn from seeing this source in our exhibit. After analyzing all the sources, we thought about what the main theme was with all of them. The sources mainly focused on slavery and cotton production. We came up with the title "Spinning Into Slavery" with that in mind. The first source was a photo of Richard Arkwright's invention, the spinning frame. It was the first water powered spinning machine. The next source was a picture of the Boott Cotton Mill. This was built alongside a power canal system, and produced drillings, sheetings, linens and yarns. The third source was the title page for a Student/Teacher Teaching Kit. It showed that slavery in the south was driven by the need for cotton, and was intended to make people aware that the north was not as innocent as it claimed to be. Next was a graph of US slavery statistics from 1770 through 1860. It showed that slavery spiked in some states after 1820, once the Industrial Revolution started. This was intended to show that industrialization encouraged slavery. The next source was a map of British cotton trade in about 1850. This map showed the imports and exports of cotton around the globe. There were a lot of imports & exports in and out of Great Britain, India, China and the Carribean. No imports or exports to South America or Australia were shown on the map. The last source was a table showing the number of textile mills and slaves in Lowell, MA. We made this into a line graph to better display the spike in slave population as more textile mills were built, and as the Industrial Revolution developed. We hope that when people saw our poster, they learned about the issue of slavery once the Industrial Revolution started, and how big of a deal it was.

Visiting the Exhibits

Each exhibit I saw was very organized and showed a lot of interesting and surprising information. First, group A's exhibit "Spinning a City". Group A's exhibit was about the loom, the Spinning Jenny, and other ways to produce linens. This exhibit taught me that London's population went up due to revolutionary inventions like the Spinning Jenny, and people were intrigued by them. The next exhibit was called "Steam Powered Transportation: Now We're Getting Somewhere". As the title says, the exhibit was about different forms of transportation that changed how people lived. Inventions like the steam engine and railroads helped people get to where they wanted, faster. I liked this poster because of the timeline and thought it was a smart way to present the information. Group C's exhibit was titled "Pollution of the Revolution". This exhibit was interesting because it showed the effect inventions had on the environment. We've been learning about how amazing the inventions were that were created, which is true, yet this is the other side of the story and the poster includes a photo of polluted water filling up a street while smoke comes out of buildings. This helped me learn that pollution was a huge deal and grew rapidly due to inventions. The last exhibit I saw was titled "Condemning the Innocent: Child Labor in the Industrial Revolution". The title immediately told me that children during the Revolution were put to work at a very young age. A fact that surprised me was that 50% of ten year olds were put to work. Something that disappointed me was finding out that children were given the job to pull loads because they were small enough to fit in the mines. Even though the topic was negative, I liked how this group had little mine cars to connect their information, and I thought that was a good idea. 

My favorite poster: Group C's "Pollution of the Revolution"

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Revolutionary Stuff.

Industrialization was an extremely important and revolutionary part of development of new machinery and many other things. In class, we were asked what was 'revolutionary' about industrialization. A video by John Green was shown discussing important things that were developed because of the Revolution. We then were put into groups to help answer that question. 4 ingredients were focused on in this class activity. People, technology, resources and transportation. Our job was to research within our topic what was so special about each category. Only two categories, technology and resources of the Revolution will be discussed today.

"Water Frame"
Sir Richard Arkwright. Museum of Science and Industry. 

First off, technology changed not just the Revolution, but the future. Many technological advances affected industrialization. There was an increase in production made by new machines. Steam engines were a big part of technology. James Watt's steam engine pumped water out of mines, and this became a power source of the Industrial Revolution. Many machines were soon powered by steam engines. These engines alone made industrialization revolutionary, considering it was a huge advance and made a lot of tasks easier and faster. Another technological invention was the Flying Shuttle. It was invented by John Kay and it helped weavers work faster. The Flying Shuttle allowed a single weaver to weave much wider fabrics. This was revolutionary for weavers, since before this was invented they had to bend over and work harder to make fabrics that weren't as wide as what this let them make. Also in terms of textiles, The Spinning Jenny and The Water Frame were important to industrialization. The Spinning Jenny, invented by James Hargreaves in 1764, allowed one spinster to produce eight threads in the same amount of time it previously took to produce one. The Water Frame, or Spinning Frame, invented in 1769 by Richard Arkwright, was yet another technological advance. This was made to produce stronger threads for yarns. It initially was a small machine powered by hand or horse, but he soon adapted it to be powered by water. It was the first powered, automatic, and continuous textile machine, and the first water-powered spinning machine. Why did this make industrialization revolutionary? By making 100% cotton cloth possible, the water frame helped open up new markets for cotton fabrics, giving a major boost to the economy, which was Arkwright’s intent. He saw cotton as the industry of the future, and an economic opportunity. Next, we will discuss the important resources of industrialization.

"Spinning Jenny"
The main resources of The Revolution we focused on were iron, coal, capital, and cotton. Iron was a huge part of this period of time. Iron is natural, silver and hard metal that is mined from the ground. Abraham Darby used coal to separate iron from its ore starting in 1709. He found out coal gave off impurities that damaged the iron. He got to experimenting and he was led to producing better-quality and cheaper iron. The years that followed this experimental discovery brought more iron that was high-quality and was used more and more widely. Iron was a big part of building railroads. Iron contributed to industrialization being revolutionary because it changed how people worked. It also helped build railroads, which are around today due to the iron they used during the Industrial Revolution, inspiring future inventors to see what else worked when working with iron. Next, coal. Coal was an important source of fuel in the production of iron. It was also used to smelt iron, and it was used to develop the steam engine. Coal was a vital power source, and was needed to produce iron, which is also a crucial part of industrialization. These two resources worked together to make things like steam engines and railroads, making coal also contribute to industrialization being revolutionary. The next resource is capital. Capital is basically economic-related things and anything to do with money. It is the wealth to invest in enterprises such as shippings, mines, railroads and factories. From the mid 1600s to the 1700s, trade from overseas helped British economy prosper, starting with the slave trade. The business class accumulated capital. Capital was essential to industrialization, because the things being invested in, including railroads and factories, were all needed for the Industrial Revolution. These inventions ended up developing more and more as time went on, thanks to those investing in them. The last resource is cotton. Cotton is a natural plant-growing material, used to make clothing and linens. Cotton was also a big resource in industrialization because of many reasons. The revolution sped up cotton picking and new machines were developed to refine it faster. This way, manufacturers could send clothes and linens faster to trade overseas, or just sell. The Industrial Revolution also boosted clothing production. In order to operate these machines and produce more clothing, more workers would have to be hired. This proves that cotton and cotton-related machines also helped more people work and earn money.

All of these reasons contribute to making industrialization truly revolutionary.

CrashCourse's Video on the Industrial Revolution, with John Green:

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Game that Encourages Cheating?

In class on Tuesday, my group and I took on A Google a Day. We did this along with other online related activities to learn more about searching the web, and finding accurate information. We were taught more on using online resources responsibly.

Our first activity was doing the A Google a Day game/challenge. This game is all about finding answers to the questions they give you. You are allowed to search Google for the answer, and then type it into the answer box. They have a hint button and a clue button that can help you with your research of finding the answer. It seems really simple, but it ends up being harder than expected. I thought it was fun to see everyone freaking out when an answer wasn't right. At times, it got frustrating because the answer would be in plain sight on a certain website, but it would end up being wrong. From this experience, I learned that many things on the internet aren't exactly historically correct. Even though I already knew this, the game proved even more to not trust everything. It also taught me to make sure other websites had the same information. If two different websites have two different pieces of information, it can be hard to figure out which one to trust.

After we finished the game, we described what accuracy, authenticity, and reliability are. Accuracy is how precise something is. Information that is accurate is up-to-date and correct. Accuracy is important when evaluating an online source because the information I am using for important research needs to be reliable and scholarly. I, along with many others, do not want inaccurate information in whatever assignment I'm doing. Authenticity is also very important in evaluating an online source. If a website is authentic, it is what it claims to be. The source is real and original, and not copied. Also, it can be backed up by other sources. This is important so one knows what they're using is right and true. Reliability is the last word we defined. If a website is reliable, one is able to trust the source, knowing it is real information. Is the author a professional or expert on the subject? Or do they just enjoy the subject as a hobby? Reliability is very important when evaluating an online source, because you are taking incorrect facts from something if it is not reliable. To see an example of what not to use as a source, we visited the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus website. This website was created in 1998, to help "save" this octopus. It is not a trustworthy website because it is a hoax. It is not a real octopus, since they cannot live on land. There are no other sites with scientific evidence of its existence, so it is pretty clear it is a fake animal. The website features most likely photoshopped photos of an octopus with a background featuring trees, as seen in the image attached below. Now, many teachers use it to teach their students about online sources. Media literacy is a huge deal when finding sources, so it was important that we learned more about it in class.

"Rare photo of the elusive tree octopus" 

Save The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus

Monday, September 1, 2014

Education Changes the Future

"Road sign to education and future"
My name is Evan DiMambro and I have just started my sophomore year at high school. This blog will be a journal/portfolio for my Honors History class this year.

I’ve had a lot of good teachers in my life that helped me learn new things and become a better person and learner. Even though I have had a few teachers that weren’t my favorite, good teachers always stick out more to me and I respect them greatly to this day. What makes a teacher great is when they care about their job and their students. It is important that teachers want to see their students succeed. When I think of some of my favorite teachers, qualities that come to my mind include selflessness and kindness. They always equally treated every student with respect and had no obvious favorites. Also, a good quality is to be organized. I have had teachers that lose worksheets constantly or put in an incorrect grade on Edline and never end up changing it. To support me this year, there is nothing specific I need besides being clear about due dates and directions for assignments.

I personally enjoyed the John Green video we watched. It made me more grateful that we have the opportunity to get an education every day. I agree with his statement and think we do need to use our education to achieve things in our lives. He is right, we do need education to run the world and create new things. I thought it was funny that he said he doesn’t want to be surrounded with stupid people, which is why he likes to pay taxes for schools, and I agree with him. My goals for this year are to get more involved and attempt to not take my education for granted. I think too many kids, including me, get carried away and focus on how hard certain classes are and how hot the school is in the Summer, or how we have way too much homework for a certain class. Even though I will find myself complaining this year, I will think about my future and how just studying for this little test might change my future. I also want to get involved in more clubs and extracurricular activities. 

John Green's open letter to students: