History 10 students are learning about the Industrial Revolution in Europe. To give students firsthand knowledge about the impact of the transition from making things by hand to factory manufacturing, they are learning to knit.
History 10 teacher Mieke Tonn explains, "The objective is for students to understand why handmade garments are more costly [in terms of time and effort] than machine-made ones, and for them to gain an appreciation of the work involved in a craft such as garment production; moreover, the effort invested will make it very real why most people's closets weren’t stuffed with clothes in pre-industrial society."
Mieke, along with co-History 10 teacher Kent Holubar, brought in a knitting instructor to talk about what is involved in making a full garment, from the procurement of materials to the actual construction. Students were given their own needles and yarn to keep, and will be practicing their skills over two class periods as well as for homework.
An avid knitter herself, Mieke hopes that all sophomores pick up the relaxing habit on a regular basis. Additionally, the lesson extends to contemporary culture. Mieke notes, "We try not to be preachy, but we hope that this lesson might have them think about pivoting from 'fast fashion' to more sustainable clothing. In essence, we want to get students to think about the value of craft and the corruption of low-quality sweatshop-made clothes." Fast fashion also has a significant impact on climate change, a cause near-and-dear to many students.