Steam Train Scavenger Hunt (Gr. 4-8)


Punch in for your first shift at the Museum of Industry and discover the roles children have played in the workforce since the 1880's. The shift boss will orient the students to their first day at work in a factory during the Industrial Revolution. Students are then guided through the Museum exhibits to discover how children have participated in the Nova Scotia labor force, from pioneer settlement to the computer age. Students discuss themes of economic empowerment and the conditions of everyday life for workers in the 19th and 20th centuries, and record their learning by completing a questionnaire.

Links to Nova Scotia Dept. of Education Curriculum

Grade 7 Specific Learning Outcomes (Social Studies):

  • Evaluate the conditions of everyday life for diverse peoples living in British North America in the mid-1800’s, including Aboriginal peoples, African-Canadians, and Acadians (7.3.1)
  • Explain how the expansion and development of Canada during the 1870s and early 1880s affected its various people and regions (7.4.1)
  • Evaluate the conditions of everyday life for peoples of Canada at the turn of the 20th century (7.5.1)
  • Describe the impact of the Industrial Revolution on industry and workers in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Maritimes, and across Canada (7.5.2)
  • Examine how women became more empowered through their role in the social reform movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries (7.5.3)

Social Studies Skills:

  • Concisely restate in own words, judge the significance of key details, offer plausible interpretations, recognizing the obvious perspective represented, and identify and explain basic comparative, causal and chronological relationships
  • Explore in an open minded way possible options, rate the options in and offer a measured opinion that fairly acknowledges competing claims and is supported with plausible reasons and simple counter arguments
  • Formulate effective informational and critical questions, including sub-questions, to guide basic primary and secondary research


90 minutes

Program Capacity

  • 2 classes (50 students)
  • 1 chaperones for every 10 students



Program Outline

Arrival: Bathrooms, hang up coats

10 minutes: Orientation Scenario
Students are greeted by the “Shift Boss”, who presents a scenario of children beginning work in a factory, ca. 1900. Through the scenario, key questions about child labor are introduced: How do children learn how to do jobs? Should children have jobs? Is it appropriate to treat workers differently, based on age or gender?

75 minutes: Tour with Questionnaire
The tour of the Museum galleries presents the story of child labor in Nova Scotia from the 19th century to the present. Students discuss topics of training, education and apprenticeship, safety, empowerment, and age- and gender discrimination. Students also record information by completing a questionnaire.

5 minutes: Questionnaire review, and conclusion

Information and Reservations

To reserve your program, please call: (902) 755-5425 or email

Registration begins in September. We encourage you to book early!