Montana Historical Society

Big Sky ~ Big History

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Montana: Stories of the Land

Companion Website and Online Teacher's Guide

Chapter 10 - Politics and the Copper Kings, 1889-1904

Educator Resources


  • Inspired by reading specialist Tammy Elser, who was in turn inspired by SKC graduate Taylor Crawford, we've created a "Takeaway" bookmark for every chapter of Montana: Stories of the Land. Before starting a chapter, print and cut out these bookmarks and distribute them to your students. Ask them to use the Takeaway to summarize the GIST of what they learn from reading assigned sections of the chapter. Remind them that they don't have much room, so they'll need to think before they write down the most important idea they want to take away from the section. Learn a little more about the GIST strategy.

  • Even though we've created Takeaways for every chapter, we don't recommend you have your students complete a Takeaway for every section of every chapter they read. That would be exceedingly tedious. However, used appropriately, they can be a useful tool for encouraging reflection and teaching students how to summarize information.

Websites and Online Lesson Plans

  • The Annotated Resource Set Politics and the Copper Kings, 1889-1904, includes links to photographs, maps, illustrations, and documents relating to the War of the Copper Kings and the era's political history. Many, but not all, of the images were also used to illustrate Chapter 10 of Montana: Stories of the Land. These sources can be used to build PowerPoints or to create DBQs or other primary-source based activities.

  • Looking to introduce your students to the legislative process? Download the "Guide to the Montana Legislature," a booklet for anyone wanting basic information about the way the Montana Legislature works and how best to get involved in the legislative process.

  • For a model lesson on analyzing political cartoons, see the Library of Congress's module, "Political Cartoons: Finding Point of View."

  • Butte historian George Everett has created a good summary of Butte labor history.

  • Explore Helena using the booklet Camp to Capitol: Step into Helena's Past. By comparing the historical photographs contained within to the streetscape today, students can gain an understanding of how Helena grew and an appreciation for the buildings that remain to reflect the community's rich history.

  • Butte’s Industrial Landscape is a PowerPoint and script created by Fred Quivik, Professor Emeritus of History, at Michigan Technological University. Originally presented as part of the NEH-funded workshop, "The Richest Hills: Mining in the Far West, 1860-1920," the PowerPoint examines industrial mining's social and environmental impacts, and can be adapted for classroom use, particularly in the upper grades.

  • "The Fragile Western Biome" is a lesson created by PBS to accompany its 8-part series, The West. It explores the impact of American westward expansion, in particular the mining industry, on the ecosystems of the West.

  • Dig into Mining: The Story of Copper This interactive web-based program for students grades 6-8 uncovers the use of metals such as copper in our everyday life, and provides students a deeper understanding of today's hard rock mining industry.

  • Clark Fork Watershed Education Program (CFWEP) Find resources for teaching about the environmental consequences of copper mining and reclamation efforts.

Videos or DVDs

Possible Fieldtrips: View the Map

Alignment to ELA Common Core Standards

Alignment to Content Standards and Essential Understandings Regarding Montana Indians (EU)

Tests and Answer Keys

Butte Miners
Butte miners, ca. 1910, Montana Historical Society Photo Archives Lot 8 Box 1/9.12
May Day
May Day, 1916, photo by Edward Reinig, Montana Historical Society Photo Archives PAc 74-104