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Teacher Guide

Orphan Trains

By Phyllis Bartosiewicz
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"How did orphan trains impact the way that we care for children today?"

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 Student Guide

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Grade Levels: 5, 6

Curriculum Areas:
Focus: History/Social Science
Secondary: English/Language Arts, Technology

Orphan Trains

Economic scarcity, Historical perspective, Judging decisions

2 weeks
Students will learn about the orphan train movement of the 19th and 20th centuries and construct a web page to communicate their learning.

Many children today find themselves in what used to be non-traditional family structures. Almost every classroom includes children who have experienced step-parenting, adoption, or foster care. Children must also deal with other social issues like scarcity, sickness, or separation. This project allows students to examine the lives of children in the late 19th century and early 20th century. They will learn that children from this era experienced some of the same hardships they or their peers have experienced. By examining the conditions of the orphan train children and learning what became of them as adults, students will see that difficult circumstances can build strength and determination in people.