Mining on the Iron Range
by Greta Bahnemann, Metadata Librarian, Minnesota Digital Library, Minitex
Electronic Library for Minnesota Resources (for Minnesota residents)
Additional Resources for Research
- Alanen, Arnold R. “Years of Change on the Iron Range.” In Minnesota in a Century of Change: The State and Its People Since 1900, edited by Clifford E. Clark, Jr., 155–194. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1989.
- Holmquist, June Drenning, ed. They Chose Minnesota: A Survey of the State’s Ethnic Groups. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1981.
- MNopedia, Minnesota Historical Society. "Immigration to the Iron Range, 1880–1930." Accessed April 22, 2016. http://www.mnopedia.org/immigration-iron-range-1880-1930
- MNopedia, Minnesota Historical Society. "Opening of the Mesabi Iron Range." Accessed April 22, 2016. http://www.mnopedia.org/event/opening-mesabi-iron-range
Teaching Guide: Mining on the Iron Range
Primary Source Analysis
For each source, ask students to indicate:
- the author's point of view
- the author's purpose
- historical context
For inquiry-based learning, ask students to:
- explain how a source tells its story and/or makes its argument
- explain the relationships between sources
- compare and contrast sources in terms of point of view and method
- support conclusions and interpretations with evidence
- identify questions for further investigation
This teaching guide helps instructors use a specific primary source set, Mining on the Iron Range, in the classroom. It offers discussion questions, classroom activities, and primary source analysis tools. It is intended to spark pedagogical creativity by giving a sample approach to the material. Please feel free to share, reuse, and adapt the resources in this guide for your teaching purposes.
- Why did so many immigrants become miners on the Minnesota Iron Range?
- Based on the photographs of the freight train and the ore boats, how did these forms of transportation help shape iron mining? What role did Lake Superior play in sending ore to other locations?
- Examine the photographs of the Company Picnic and the Company Vegetable Garden in Ely. How do you think the mining companies shaped the communities miners lived in? Was it a postiive or negative influence?
- Use the items in this set to think about different perspectives within iron mining - including mine owners, supervisory employees, mine workers, children of iron miners, the role of women, etc. Break students into small groups and assign each group a particular point of view (or character) represented by these sources. These might include the mine owners, a miner, the wife of a miner, the child of a miner, etc. Each group should use items in this set to considering the following: Describe this character’s role in iron mining. How do they participate? How does this character feel about the institution of mining? What are its advantages and/or disadvantages from his/her perspective? What are this character’s goals? Dreams? Anxieties?