Students watch a video about electricity and running water coming to rural farms, and learn about the impact of these amenities on rural farms. They create a daily schedule as if they don’t have access to these technological advancements.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Iowa | Unit 7: Twentieth Century Iowa." In this unit, students will examine how major events of the 20th century impacted the people of Iowa.
CG.SS.3.11: Provide examples of historical and contemporary ways that societies have changed. (21st century skills)
CG.SS.4.9: Explain how the enforcement of a specific ruling or law changed society. (21st century skills)
CG.SS.4.10: Describe how societies have changed in the past and continue to change. (21st century skills)
H.SS.4.25: Analyze the impact of technological changes in Iowa, across time and place.
H.SS.5.22: Explain how economic, political, and social contexts shaped people's perspectives at a given time in history.
An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show videos to the class
Class set of Daily Schedule handout
- Distribute the Daily Schedule handout.
- Explain to students that electricity and running water had major impacts on families in the 1930s. By this time, nearly 90 percent of urban households across the country had access to electricity. However, only 10 percent of rural families had these amenities. It was expensive to run power lines to remote farm homes. In 1935, the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) was tasked with helping bring electricity to these areas. In this video, students will hear personal accounts of the challenges to rural families before electricity, and someone’s first encounter with the new technology.
- Play the video, Electricity and Plumbing Change Rural Farm Life in the Early 20th Century. [2:00]
- Have students imagine that what it would be like to not have access to running water and electricity. Using the handout, students make a daily schedule showing what their life would be like without these amenities. Allow up to ten minutes for students to complete this task.
- Ask the class how they allotted time for certain tasks. Did they fill the day with chores? Were they able to schedule time for relaxing or hobbies? What challenges would they face? If time allows, have a few students share their schedules.