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RIPR In The Classroom: Making Rugs At Colonial Mills

Published
Listenwise helps teachers use stories from their local public radio station with students in their classrooms. Working with RIPR we identify relevant...

A braiding machine at Colonial Mills.

Listenwise helps teachers use stories from their local public radio station with students in their classrooms. Working with RIPR we identify relevant local news stories, design and develop classroom resources around them and make them available for free on the Education Blog. If you want to find more public radio stories and lessons for your middle and high school ELA, social studies, and science classrooms you can sign up for a free account!

Story Synopsis

There is a good chance braided rugs sold across the country were made in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. At Colonial Mills, employees produce beautiful braided rugs. Rug-making was once done completely by hand, but new machines and technologies have sped up the process. Employees have also found other ways to update their products so they look modern and new. Though Colonial Mills has faced challenges like the recent recession, it is a thriving business today. Listen to the story to hear more about this local rug factory has survived and thrived in a changing economy.

Use with grades 6-9

National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies

2.2.1.Formulate research questions to investigate topics in history, identify possible answers, and use historical methods of inquiry and literacy skills to select, organize, analyze, synthesize, and interpret sources, and present findings.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6.1

Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.1.d

Review the key ideas expressed and demonstrate understanding of multiple perspectives through reflection and paraphrasing.

Listening Comprehension Questions

Assign these questions to your students or answer them together in a group.

  1. In what ways have new technologies changed the rug-making process?
  2. Can you explain how the owner knew that this would be a thriving business?
  3. What factors helped Colonial Mills overcome economic troubles during the recent recession?
  4. How has Colonial Mills modernized its product?
  5. Why hasn’t Colonial Mills moved outside of Rhode Island or the U.S. where production could be cheaper?
  6. What are some jobs or industries that used to be based in Rhode Island but have been outsourced?
  7. What choices would you have made to help this Rhode Island business thrive?

Discussion Themes

Use these questions to get students thinking at the beginning of class. They can use evidence from the story to support their ideas during a class discussion.

  1. How do you think technology is changing the textile (fabric) industry?
  2. Do you feel that businesses like Colonial Mills are important to local economies?

More Resources

Literature Connections:

  • Lyddie, Katherine Patterson

RIPR In The Classroom: Making Rugs At Colonial Mills
RIPR In The Classroom: Making Rugs At Colonial Mills
A braiding machine at Colonial Mills.
A braiding machine at Colonial Mills.