In Humanities Ms. Madsen led a project called Full Steam Ahead. We learned about the Industrial Revolution and its impacts on society. The final result was for us to present a slam poem about a chosen impact of the Industrial Revolution. It could be about the consequences of urbanization, the impacts on the workers, environmental consequences and more.
The first thing we did was deepen our understanding of the Industrial Revolution. We started by reading through some textbook pages and watching videos. Our first keystone was to create two graphic organizers. One about the steam engine and the other of three important innovations that came from the Revolution.
I am not super proud of my steam engine graphic organizer because I got confused about what to put in underlying conditions.
The second keystone was to write a formal paragraph about a focus of the industrial revolution impacts that interested us. We could choose from this list:
– the environmental consequences of the Industrial Revolution
– the consequences of urbanization
– the consequences for workers
– the impact on and consequences for war
– the impact on children
– select a specific technological innovation and focus on its impact
I was stuck between the consequences for workers and environmental consequences. I almost did the workers but settled on writing about the environment. The environmental impacts was probably the easiest one to talk about.
This project was all about the process, I had to create multiple drafts of my paragraph. I started off writing about what I knew and want I needed to know. Then I headed off to start my paragraph. My peers and teachers helped critique my paragraph to make it the best it could be. In the end, I had about 3 drafts. This was my finished result!
“The Industrial Revolution was the starting place of many great things, but it also had drawbacks such as its negative impact on our environment. First off, the burning of fossil fuels like oil, natural gasses and coal resulted in a lot of air pollution. For example, coal which was the main fuel source of the Industrial Revolution, and was used to power the steam engine and factories, created a large amount of soot to be spewed out, in addition to significant amounts of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. These greenhouse gasses made the Earth go above normal temperatures, which in turn, impacted the world’s natural biodiversity of both plants and animals and lead to the mutation or extinction of some species. In addition, other toxic threats to plants and animals were heavy metals like lead. Scientists claim that the “Industrial Revolution caused an epidemic of metal intoxication” (source), and the impact continues even into today. Not only did lead make its way into the rivers and other water sources, but so did raw sewage that came from the factories. This was due to the fact they did not have effective protection in the plumbing system to keep the sewage from mixing with water, and unfortunately, people drank the polluted water unknowingly. Also, since machines were replacing human labour, people moved from rural areas to the cities. This made the demand for houses higher, but there was limited land to build on, and so trees got cut down. People also wanted lumber to build, as there was a need for more factories, houses and farmlands were expanding which all resulted in deforestation. Given all these factors, it is said that the Industrial Revolution is one of the reasons climate change began. In the end, while great inventions and advances and enhancements in technology came about from the Industrial Revolution, one must not forget the environmental impacts and sacrifices that came as a result as well.”
I am proud of my paragraph and I do feel like revising it over and over again made it way better and had more of a flow.
Finally, we moved on to the part I had been dreading.. writing the slam poem. To present what we learned the knowledge we gathered had to be converted into a slam poem. The slam poem would be about the focus we chose as well. I did not know what a slam poem was, I knew it was more like a story-like poem but I had never heard one. In class we watched a video of Shane Koyczan presentinghis poem “To This Day”. Well watching it I picked up on some characteristics he used to capture his audiences attention. He starts with a little story then slowly eases into his poem. He speeds up at intense parts and raises his voice which creates different moods for each part of his poem he is talking about.
I had to find a way to make sure I presented my slam poem as powerfully as I could.
Just like my paragraph, I had to revise my poem several times. I am not a huge fan of poetry so it took me a little while to figure out how to make it rhyme and flow.
I called my poem “What Are We Doing?” and this is how it turned out:
I do not like presenting so when I heard that we had to present our poem in front of the whole class I internally freaked out. But on the day off I decided I should just get it over with so I volunteered myself to go 4th! Even though I spoke a bit fast I am proud of myself for taking the jump to be one of the first people.
The driving question of this project was “How can slam poetry help us connect to issues?” At the start, I kind of wondered why we had to write a slam poem about the industrial revolution because I didn’t think a poem about coal was going to pull on many heartstrings. But the more I understood the project the more I understood why the end result was going to be a slam poem. Slam poetry allows people to talk about a message they want to share in passionate, and captivating ways. Many people use slam poetry to bring society’s issues to light. Instead of just reading that ice bergs are melting and skimming past article on a newspaper slam poetry channels people’s emotions that they feel to others and it resonates with the audience.