During the 2016/2017 school year, the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation will offer instruction to students and teachers in the classroom on the topics of the “Coal Creek Labor Saga” for social studies and “STEM history” for science.  Each 50-minute lesson is offered free of charge.  Here are descriptions of each lesson.

Coal Creek Labor Saga for social studies students and teachers

Tennessee academic standards for social studies require students to study “Reconstruction and Industrial America:  Students explain the various causes and consequences of the Second Industrial Revolution and events in Tennessee...  Explain the need for the South and Tennessee to move toward industry and mechanization after the Civil War and identify examples of the effort, including…mining on the Cumberland Plateau, coal and iron processing, the growth of urban areas, and the increase in railroads…Describe the effects of Jim Crow Laws on the nation and Tennessee.”  High school students are specifically instructed to, “Analyze the rise of the labor movement, including the Coal Creek Labor Saga.” 

What better way to learn that history than from someone who lived it?  Welsh miner/engineer David R. Thomas from Coal Creek, Tennessee, will time-travel from the past to bring Tennessee’s Coal Creek Labor Saga to life for your class. 

David R. Thomas teaching Briceville Elementary students about
the Coal Creek Labor Saga at Fort Anderson where the Tennessee
National Guard had its base of operations during the Coal Creek War

Learn how "Big Smoke" fought President Roosevelt to keep a Knoxville
contractor from building the Panama Canal using convict labor

STEM history for science students and teachers

Tennessee academic standards for science require students to study embedded technology and engineering in middle and high school.  “Society benefits when engineers apply scientific discoveries to design materials and processes that develop into enabling technologies.  How do science concepts, engineering skills, and applications of technology improve the quality of life?”

What better way to learn those concepts than from John Frank Stevens, Chief Engineer of the Panama Canal, Great Northern Railway, and Russian Railway Service Corps.  Do you know that as President Woodrow Wilson’s Chief Engineer in Russia and China during WWI, he won medals from as many countries as did Sgt. Alvin York of Tennessee without firing a shot?  His friends called him “Big Smoke” and he will time-travel from the past to bring this science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) history to life for your middle or high school class.

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