The Industrial Revolution

Description: This WebQuest explores how the Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain, a country that contained just the right mix of raw materials, laborers, and people with money to make the development of the factory system possible. Along with advances in agriculture, the Industrial Revolution played a significant role in modernizing the world and providing it with new economic principles.
Subj: Social Studies
Grade: 9-12
By: Robert Valenti
Pub: Dec 19, 2010
Hits: 33496


While the French Revolution encouraged political change, a second revolution occurred in Europe, causing rapid economic and social change. In many respects, its effects were even more far-reaching and significant than the effects of the political revolution in France. The Industrial Revolution brought about a fundamental change in society by introducing mass production (the large-scale production of goods) and the use of new sources of power to meet human needs. Science became more closely linked to technology, resulting in a stream of constant innovations. Agricultural society changed into a modern industrial society.

The Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain in the 1750s. It soon spread to the United States and other parts of Europe, and later to the rest of the world. In the WebQuest, you are going to determine the many causes and effects that the Industrial Revolution had on the world.

Your Objectives by Sections:

1. Agricultural Revolution:

2. The Industrial Revolution Begins in Great Britain

3. Manchester

4. Economic Systems

5. Industrial Revolution Reforms

All answers from each section should be recorded onto the provided answer packet.


British farmers introduced scientific methods to agriculture  to boost productivity. Fewer people were needed to work on farms and more were available to work in industry.  Using the resources below, answer the following questions in your packet and determine the significance of each to the Agricultural Revolution.

1. Describe what an enclosure system is and why farmers shifted to this from an open-field system.

2. How did crop rotation change in the Agricultural Revolution in comparison to earlier societies?

3. View the video on Jethro Tull's seed drill and explain it's role in the Agricultural Revolution.

Closing Question:

  • If you were a small farmer in Western Europe, in the 18th century, why might you object to the enclosure system?


The Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain for many different reasons such as having geographical advantages, methods of transportation and communication, and the support of a colonial empire.  Using the resources below, answer the following questions in your packet and determine the significance of each as a cause of the Industrial Revolution beginning in Great Britain.

1. Define the term: "factors of production"

2. How did coal and iron play a role in the origins of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain?

3. What geographical feature played a role in the transportation of natural resources?

4. What role did the steam engine play in the Industrial Revolution?

Closing Question:

  • In your opinion, what factor do you feel played the biggest factor in the Industrial Revolution beginning in Great Britain? (Make sure to explain your answer)


One of the longest-lasting and most significant impacts of the industrial revolution that took place from the end of the eighteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century was the mass migration of peoplefrom rural areas to cities in a process that has come to be characterized as "urbanization". Urbanization had a profound effect on the daily lives of individuals who found themselves forced into the position of having to adjust from self-sustaining life on farms to life in bigger cities. Use the resources below to answer the following questions

1. Why was the creation of factories a turning point in history?

2. Describe what life was like in the mill in Manchester and identify what product was produced the most.

3. Using the provided primary source, in your own words, summarize the working conditions of children during the Industrial Revolution. (6-8 sentences).

4. Identify 2 pros and 2 cons of the new social classes that developed as a result of the Industrial Revolution.




The Industrial Revolution, to some, was class warfare. The rich were getting richer and the poor were getting poorer. In response to this, different types of economic systems were developed. The following information will give you a better understanding of the world you know-Capitalism, but will also develop your knowledge of Communism and why it appealed to the general masses.

Complete the following on CAPITALISM:

1. Define (use your textbook):

          -laissez faire

          -Adam Smith


2. The father of capitalism, Adam Smith stated that there were three natural laws of economics. Please list and describe (textbook).

3.Using the CAPITALISM, (ADAM SMITH SECTION) website to answer these questions…

         a) Describe the “invisible hand” theory.

         b) Define monopoly. In capitalism, why are monopolies dangerous? Explain

4. IN YOUR OWN WORDS DESCRIBE CAPITALISM.  Make sure you use the key terms and what you learned above.  Your answer should be at least 5-7 sentences in paragraph format.

Complete the following on COMMUNISM:

1). Define (textbook):


            -communist manifesto

            -Karl Marx



2). Describe the fight between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat (textbook)

3). Please click on the COMMUNISM LINK and read the article cnd answer questions comparing capitalism and communism.

            -Who owns the means of production in a communist state?

            -Is there individual freedom in communism? Explain.

            -Are there class societies in communism? Explain

            -Who controls power in a communist state? Explain.

4).  Describe in your own words (1) who communism appealed to and  (2) why?

Teachers Page

There were many negative aspects to the Industrial Revolution, many of which we talked about in class. We have also talked about that change usually occurs when the status quo is no longer accepted. You will read a little about the many reforms that took place that tried to fix the ills caused by the Industrial Revolution. 

1). Define:



2) . Why did workers decide to join unions? Positive/Negative effects

 3). List and describe one reform (specific piece of legislation) that occured in response to the ills of the Industrial Revolution.




Describe the reform these groups/ideas went through.



Women’s Rights




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