Lowell Mill Girls Webquest

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Editorials Wanted!

Life as a "Mill Girl" in Lowell, MA


You are a 13 year old girl who has been sent to the factory to earn money to help the family farm. Your parents are very proud of you and miss you deeply.  You are excited about going to work at the mills because not only will you earn your own money, but you will be helping your parents.  You have also been promised a good education of reading and writing, and a firm foundation in religion and lady-like manners.  In the 1800s these are all good qualities for attracting a good husband (excerpted from Mill Girls WebQuest, Indio Middle School, Indio, CA)


The Lowell Sun, a local newspaper, wants you to write about life as a "Mill Girl". They want to know if working in the mills is everything you thought it would be. As you research the working conditions of the factories and the living conditions of the boardinghouses try to imagine yourself living in Lowell, Massachusetts during the 1830s.  As you learn about your new environment pay careful attention about what it is like to live in Lowell because you will be writing a group editorial to the Lowell Sun answering some questions about the working and living conditions. Below is a list of websites to help you gather information. Simply click on the ones you want to visit.


1. Choose a topic below to research.

Factory Rules

Labor Conditions

Factory Life

Boarding House Life/Rules

2. Go to the websites below and record your research information on recording sheet #1.

3. Summarize your information so it can be shared with the rest of your group.

4. As a group, discuss what you think the newspapers' readers want to know about your life as a "Mill Girl".

5. As a group write your editorial to the Lowell Sun. Your editorial should include:

Working Conditions

Living Conditions

What you do for recreation

General life as a Mill Girl


Working Conditions:


chace.athm.org/results.php?bsearch=lowell+mill+conditions&onlyImages=1&type=2 (this link takes a while to load, but produces an excellent primary source database search)



Living Conditions:






General Life:




You and your group will be evaluated during the entire process as you gather and discuss information, write, design, create, and present your editorial. The rubric shows the requirements that your teacher will use to evaluate the final product. Both individual and group work will be considered in the final assessment. Refer to the rubric throughout this WebQuest to make sure that you and your group remain on task.




Student participated positively in project


Student participated independently and in a group.


Student used online and offline resources.


Student put forth quality time towards the creation of product.


Student analyzed information by:

1. Examining cause & effect relationships

2. Making inferences

3. Drawing conclusions

4. Summarizing


Information was recorded on designated recording forms


Presentation was well rehearsed, clear and informative



We hope you have gained insight into the struggles and hardships of the Lowell "Mill Girls" by examining their daily lives.

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Last updated, 3/12/18