Erie Canal for the Classroom

A key subject in New York State’s Social Studies curriculum for Grade 4, the Erie Canal transformed Rochester from a small frontier village into a bustling center of commerce and activity that earned it a reputation as America’s first boomtown. These lessons, developed in accordance with the state’s standards and practices, were created to help students understand how the Erie Canal shaped–and continues to shape–the physical, social, cultural, and economic landscape of our region.

Erie Canal for the Classroom is a self-contained, inquiry-based unit that incorporates local primary-source documents from the collections of the Rochester Public Library and its partner institutions. Teachers can use the suite of lessons provided as a full 4- to 6-week unit, or pick and choose lessons from the unit to meet their specific instructional needs. The lessons were designed to be taught in the order they are listed here, but teachers can rearrange them as desired.

Erie Canal for the Classroom was written by Andrea Geglia, Curriculum Specialist at Hilton Central School District. It was funded in part through the generous support of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. Copyright 2020, Rochester Public Library.

Explore more educational content on the Erie Canal from our partnering institutions:
“Classroom Connections for Erie Canal,” New York State Archives Partnership Trust
“Learn,”  Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor

Photo: Erie Canal for the Classroom Feature Graphic