Worcester Historical Museum

Click here to download
a PDF version of the
Driving Tour & Guide to Blackstone Canal Historic Markers
, produced by the National Park Service in conjunction with Worcester Historical Museum.

Curriculum Downloads

Unit One: Worcester's Population, Economic and Transportation Age (1.31MB PDF)

Worcester is placed in historical and geographic context. This essay explains that transportation in the eighteenth century was a huge problem. Students learn that the canal was like a highway, connecting the landlocked village of Worcester to the port city of Providence. They will also learn the impact industrialization had on Worcester, relating to its population and economic growth.

Unit Two: Why did they build the Blackstone Canal? (133KB PDF)

This lesson explains the visionary idea of influential Providence merchant, John Brown, who wanted to build a canal linking Worcester and Providence, offering a cheap alternative to land travel. Although there was opposition to the canal, students will learn how and why the canal was eventually built. An exercise of reading questions follows the lesson.

Unit Three: Why did the Blackstone Canal Fail? (177KB PDF)

This lesson describes that the canal was built using slack-water engineering. In an attempt to build the canal cheaper and quicker, engineers used the Blackstone River for several sections of the canal. Students will learn how this decision led to the demise of the canal. An exercise of reading questions follows the lesson.

Unit Four: Canal-related Vocabulary Words (267KB PDF)

Twenty-eight words are included in this lesson plan. Each word is defined and also includes its etymology (the study of the origin and histories of words).

Unit Five: Word Search (92KB PDF)

A Word Search game using most of the vocabulary words used in Unit Four.

Unit Six: Working with Maps (1.95MB PDF)

The Blackstone Canal is placed in geographic context. Students are provided with historical and current maps, helping them to gain an understanding of the canal's course through the Blackstone Valley and its route through the city of Worcester. In addition, the historical maps have been redrawn to aid the students' comprehension. In other words, students can download the redrawn maps and literally lay them on top of one another to more readily see how the city evolved from a small agricultural village to a growing city. Questions are provided to help lead the students' observations of how the city has changed. Original historical maps are also available.

Unit Seven: Math Exercises (274KB PDF)

Unit Eight: Locks (77KB PDF)
This essay describes how a canal lock works. A website link to the National Canal Museum in Easton, PAis given. The link includes an animated graphic of how a canal lock works.

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