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“I will build a car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one – and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God’s great open spaces.” ~Henry Ford
This lesson is designed to help students understand the implications of different industrial and technological changes in the workforce and consumer culture. Students will demonstrate this understanding through comparisons to today’s industry.
You will need a copy of the February 2004 Issue of The Mitten (found here on SeekingMichigan.org), to be handed out to students in class as a reading activity.
Copies/pictures of original Model T advertisements, which can be found here: www.hfmgv.org/exhibits/showroom/1908/ads.html
Students will need access to current magazines, either at home or at school, and they will need permission to cut them apart.
We recommend scissors, posterboard, construction paper, markers, and some adhesive be available in class for this lesson.
After giving students sufficient time to read the brochure, either in groups or alone, depending on their age group, pose these questions, which directly refer to the information in the text.
1. Why was the Model T such a popular car?
2. What did a driver need to keep a Model T running? Why was it important that a Model T be easy to repair?
3. What do you think the newspaper meant when it said, “Ford Motor Company has beaten out both the (U.S.) flag and the Constitution in carrying civilization into the wild places of the world.”?
4. What are the differences between natural, human, and capital resources? Which is the most/least profitable?
Compare and Contrast: Then and Now
After having read the brochure and discussing the information about Henry Ford briefly in class, have students collect and bring in current automotive ads from newspapers and magazines. Compare and contrast features of the Model T, from the original ads and from other pictures on the web (displayed on a projector screen in front of class) with features of cars today. Have students give examples of sales points from the ads they brought in and from the ads they created. What is different? What is the same? Create a Venn diagram with two interlocking circles. Label one “Model T” and one “Today’s Cars” and the intersection of the circles “Shared.” As a class, decide whether each sales point is unique to the Model T, unique to cars today, or whether they are an automotive feature shared by both time periods. Write the characteristics into the corresponding places on the Venn diagram. Discuss the reasons for any differences found.
Creating an Advertisement
Ask students to imagine that it is 1908. Henry Ford has come to them and asked them to design a print advertisement (there is no radio or TV) to convince people to buy his newest car, the Model T. Henry knows that in order to sell cars he needs to tell people how his car is different from other cars on the market. A good ad needs to have one strong “sales point” directed at a specific audience. Have students select and write down one target audience (men, women, families, people who have never owned a car, farmers) and their message for that audience. Then ask them to design an ad that conveys their message. Have the students explain to each other why they believe their graphic image will capture the attention of their audience and what distinctive features of the Model T their message uses.
This Lesson Involves Michigan Education Standards as Follows:
3-G4.0.1 –Describe major kinds of economic activity in Michigan today, such as automobile manufacturing and explain the factors influencing the location of these economic activities.
3-E1.0.4 –Describe how entrepreneurs combine natural, human, and capital resources to produce goods and services in Michigan.
4-E1.0.1 –Identify questions economists ask in examining the United States (e.g. What is produced? How is it produced? How much is produced? Who gets what is produced? What role does the government play in the economy?).
W.PS.03.01 –Exhibit personal style and voice to enhance the written message in both narrative (e.g., varied word choice and sentence structure, character description) and informational writing (e.g., examples, transitions, grammar and usage).
W.GN.03.04 and W. GN.04.04 –Use the writing process to produce and present a research project; initiate research questions from content area text from a teacher-selected topic; and use a variety of resources to gather and organize information. In .04.04 narrow research questions, take notes and draw conclusions.
For additional ideas and lesson plans related to the Model T, go to:
Henry Ford’s The Model T Road Trip: Lesson Plans, at: http://www.thehenryford.org/exhibits/smartfun/class/modelt/lessons.html
Please contact staff at the Michigan Historical Center with questions, concerns, and requests for educational content.Contact