Don’t Miss These Teaching Extras For November’s Nonfiction

By Lauren Salisbury
October 21, 2019

The narrative nonfiction feature in this month’s issue of Scope is sure to captivate your students. Through the eyes of a 14-year-old miner, the article tells the riveting true story of a 1909 coal mine disaster and the lasting impacts of the disaster on America. After reading the article with your students, explore the resources below to keep their learning going. 

Essential Questions
Post these questions in your classroom for students to refer to as they explore the resources:

  • What rights and protections should workers have?
  • How did the Industrial Revolution affect the lives of children?
  • What are the consequences of our energy choices?
  • Why is it important to learn about disasters from the past? 

5 powerful resources to keep the learning going:

View photographs of child workers taken by Lewis Hine.

These photos of child coal miners and other child workers taken by Lewis Hine depict the conditions that children once worked in. These resources are perfect to use for the Do-Now from the “Day of Disaster” lesson plan.


  • Hine once said, “If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera.” What did he mean? 
  • Can photographs be more powerful than words sometimes? Explain.
  • What did Hine’s photos accomplish? How can art be a tool for social change?

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

South Pittston, Pennsylvania; photo by Lewis Hine, 1911

Read an article from the Scope archives.

Read the narrative nonfiction feature “Out of the Flames” from the November 2018 issue of Scope. It tells the riveting true story of the Triangle factory fire of 1911 and its legacy. Students will likely make numerous connections to “Day of Disaster.” 


  • What ideas do both “Day of Disaster” and “Out of the Flames” express about the rights and protection of workers?

Check out these fiction and nonfiction books about child labor today and in the past.

Discover these resources about coal mining practices today and renewable energy sources.


  • How is coal mining different today from in the past? How is it the same? 
The Land of Mountaintop Removal

Watch these short videos about what it’s like to be a child worker today.


  • What similarities do you see among Albert Buckle, Pemba, and American child farmworkers? What do these videos reveal about the issue of child labor today?
Human Rights Watch: Fingers to the Bone

3 activities to choose from:

  • Write a speech for the anniversary of the Cherry Mine disaster. Your speech should explain why the disaster is important to remember. You can choose to send your speech as a transcript, video, or audio recording to Cherry Mine Contest for a chance to win a prize.
  • Do research to learn more about the environmental cost of using coal as an energy source as well as the benefits and drawbacks of other energy sources. Present your research in an essay, a podcast, or a slideshow.
  • Explore the work of photographer Lewis Hine and how it affected the movement to end child labor. Then explore where the movement stands today. Present your research in a slideshow.
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