America has undergone so many fascinating advancements. For example, citizens can buy amazing things due to creative inventions. Additionally, scientists are going to space, doctors are making amazing medical discoveries, and lawyers are fighting for equality. Honestly, it is incredible to think back to the start of America and see how far we have come. However, it is essential to look into this development. For instance, were all businesses treated fair? Was everyone given an equal chance regardless of financial backing? The Robber Barons or Captain of Industry lesson helps students investigate these questions! Best of all, the Robber Barons lesson is the perfect way to get students to think critically! 

robber barons lesson

What does Robber Baron Mean?

Robber Baron is a term to describe influential US businessmen in the 19th century. However, it is often a derogatory word since business practices were not always ethical. For instance, select businessmen often made fortunes through exploitation, unfair labor laws, and monopolizing industries. While these aspects may be true, Robber Barons are known to have made considerable advancements in America. So, the Robber Barons lesson is an incredible way for students to evaluate how the advances came to be. 

Robber Barons or Captain of Industry? 

Students will investigate 5 big business tycoons. Specifically, this includes Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, and Cornelius Vanderbilt. Students will learn about each person to decide if they are Robber Barons or Captains of Industry.

robber barons lesson

There are readings to learn about each person. Additionally, there is a graphic organizer to track key aspects. This includes the company the person is known for, how they treated workers and their competition, and how they used their wealth. After, students will analyze their findings to make their judgment about the person. 


Since every classroom has different needs, this resource works in multiple formats! For instance, it is perfect for jigsaw groups. So, each group can focus on one person and then form new groups to learn about the remaining four. This is a great technique to use if you are short on time or have more hesitant readers. Additionally, the Robber Barons lesson works great for cooperative groups. Each group can learn about all 5 people by reading and working on the graphic organizer together. Honestly, there is no wrong way to complete this lesson! 

Resource Benefits 

Whenever purchasing my resources, there are many added benefits. One of the most important ones involves all of the FREE updates. This is needed as learning strategies evolve each year. 

Additionally, I know how stressed teachers are. There are so many daily challenges and little time to get everything done. Therefore, lesson plans are ready to go. Additionally, all of the materials are pre-organized into folders. This means you will not have to spend time searching for what you need. All videos and links required are within the presentation for easy planning. If you ever do have any questions, you can also reach out to me for email support. 

business tycoon graphic organizer

The Gilded Age was a fantastic time in history. It is fascinating to reflect on how many advancements and changes occurred. However, students need to realize that advances often came at the expense of others. Luckily, the Robber Barons or Captain of Industry lesson is the perfect way to do this! Students will love forming their arguments about 5 big business tycoons in the Robber Barons lesson. 

If you do not want to miss any of the upcoming lessons, join my email list to be notified of all the interactive lessons coming up! By joining the email list, you will also receive freebies for blog exclusive subscribers!  

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